264: Falling Into a Happy Aquarium

Falling Into a Happy Aquarium

On the surface, no gamer finds anything of value in games on a social platform. Wendy Despain dissects just how our brain is tricked into having fun with FarmVille or Happy Aquarium.

Read Full Article

Thank you so much for this. On a site where the popular sentiment is one of incomprehension, and sometimes disdain, this article managed to sum up so well the positive aspects of casual gaming, and the positive reasons why they are so popular.

I have Happy Aquarium. And one time, I went on it every day trying to unlock a frog. I needed 28 days. My internet was limited on the 25th day, and I couldn't access my aquarium. And I was genuinely sad. I wanted to see a frog smile...

I think that social aspect that you mentioned is also a big part of what drives the "achievement" system in this generation of games. If the game was fun before, it is even more fun when we can show off our little brightly coloured trophies.

can you help me find the game (I forgot it's name)that has perfect graphics, many many story locations and playable fishes where you eat other fish and levelup to go through campain(it had pearls as points on map), you can sprint and accelerate to jump over the surface and eat insect there and there is level where you play as the fish with glowing bait in the darkness.

this game was effin perfection of pisces predation and it is too long ago for me to remember its name(and therefore cannot find it).

My problem with FaceBook's style of gaming isn't the overall design... it's what you have described as the best part of it.

The social aspect really kills gaming for me. I don't want to have big brother looking over my shoulder telling all my friends about what I've been doing. If my friends ask me of my gaming endeavors I'll tell them just fine, but I don't want a computer doing that for me, regardless of whether they want to know or not.

I really don't see these as positive aspects. 28 days to get a frog in a flash game? Random items between friends? Building farms to decorate them with bigger stuff? Making gigantic restaurants? Or what about the one where you keep a flash pet happy to decorate its "room"? I know some people are amazed at shiny objects and simply don't need much more then a happy smiling cat/cow/fish/cook.

Still I logged in once a day, pulled up the crops, sold them, bought more. I was reminded of traditional RTS's. At the beginning of each game you build a base, start amassing resources, and build a huge army...yet in the next game you play you have none of that. I get the same feeling from decorating a "room" that serves no purpose but to be looked at. I mean if I want to make something from friends to look at I'm just going to crank open CS4. I can make a better flag in that. Not that just anyone could, but from my prospective facebook games are simply to simple.

Suppose it works for the majority, but as I said, tried, wasn't for me.

CitySquirrel:
I think that social aspect that you mentioned is also a big part of what drives the "achievement" system in this generation of games. If the game was fun before, it is even more fun when we can show off our little brightly coloured trophies.

I don't want to give you a ton of backlash or anything, but, personally, I completely disagree with everything you just said!

I find that trophies make me think too much about a game, to the point that I don't even want to play it anymore - over the past half a year or so, I've played my Wii more than my PS3, despite having more games for the latter. Nintendo doesn't have those kinds of achievements that you can show off to the world; they only have 'trophies' on a personal level...like in NSMBW, you can get stars next to your profile, depending on how far you've progressed.

Leaderboards I like, it can make it more fun to replay a game in order to get a high score. But trophies? Achievements? I find that most of them just suck up your time, forcing you to do something incredibly boring just to get an imaginary pat on the back.

Sorry, I just can't stand trophies! Honestly, I think they turned me off of videogames as a whole, same with some of my friends. I think that they can sometimes enhance your playing experience, but I've found the opposite to be true.

I've never played fish based social games, but I do know a bunch of people who play Fishville and it's absolutely the best thing ever to them. They have so much fun raising fish, feeding them, and talking with their friends about it, gifting their friends, showing off their fish, etc. It's certainly is fun to talk to my friends about Petville, which is a social game I play. The real fun with these games happens with your friends, but it's so much more than that ^~^! to a hardcore gamer who has never played any of these games, it can seem confusing. Though once you get into it, you might be able to understand why more people play social games than they do the traditional hardcore games. It's unfortunate that some of the hardcore gamers judge a game by afar, without ever really knowing anything about it. Though some of them do want to make informed opinions about these games. So they take the measure to actually try them, and give it a chance. Kinda like what was done here ^~^! Thanks for the wonderful article >~<!

My1stLuvJak:
I don't want to give you a ton of backlash or anything, but, personally, I completely disagree with everything you just said!

You don't need to apologize for having a different opinion than I. It is a sad commentary on today's society that you feel you do.

Perhaps I should not have used the generalization that "if the game was fun before, it is even more fun when we can show off our little brightly coloured trophies" as this makes it sound like it is universally and naturally loved. However, for people (like myself) that enjoy trophies, the social aspect is the same.

You pretty much hit the nail on the head with this one. :) Great article as to why the gaming structure of Facebook works. :)

xxygizx:
My problem with FaceBook's style of gaming isn't the overall design... it's what you have described as the best part of it.

The social aspect really kills gaming for me. I don't want to have big brother looking over my shoulder telling all my friends about what I've been doing. If my friends ask me of my gaming endeavors I'll tell them just fine, but I don't want a computer doing that for me, regardless of whether they want to know or not.

I totally agree. Perhaps it is because the people I know tend to think that the games you play (and often your skill in those games) are somehow a judge of your character, and something one should be seriously assessed by, but I don't like my achievements and actions being broadcast to the people I know, unless I specifically wish for it (in which case I can do it myself). Hell, I don't even like people on Steam being able to see what I play, because of the 'fly-on-the-wall' aspect of any of those people knowing exactly what I've been doing with my time.

It's almost like somebody following you around and writing up an itinerary of where you've been, what you did, how long you did it for, and how well it went. I don't want that.

Social games kind of frighten me. Simply because of their capability to addict and their simplicity. Those two combined can be very dangerous combination in the sense that doing something monotone and looking at bright colours day after day after day will kind of start deteriorating your brain. Somebody said in another thread that it's like soap operas of gaming world and I kind of agree with it.

I think that there should be at least some kind of challenge in games, to keep peoples reflexes alive or make people think about different strategies. To keep those small gears in our brains oiled. I really doubt that the Facebook games have anything to add in that sense. They seem to be done for exactly the opposite reason, to keep people from thinking and just have some mindless fun.

If I were an arrogant jerk, I'd say someone was paying you to say good things about Facebook...that is... if Facebook cost money. It's free and always will be. Just the sheer fact that all this casual (and adorable) entertainment is at the tip of our fingers just makes me love the internet more. Hell, I might just get me a Happy Aquarium now.

I'm sorry, but this whole thing makes me feel like somehow I've been insulted. That makes me feel vaguely angry. Not the article, but the games it talks about. Especially the line about the tiny smiles.

My1stLuvJak:

CitySquirrel:
I think that social aspect that you mentioned is also a big part of what drives the "achievement" system in this generation of games. If the game was fun before, it is even more fun when we can show off our little brightly coloured trophies.

I don't want to give you a ton of backlash or anything, but, personally, I completely disagree with everything you just said!

I find that trophies make me think too much about a game, to the point that I don't even want to play it anymore - over the past half a year or so, I've played my Wii more than my PS3, despite having more games for the latter. Nintendo doesn't have those kinds of achievements that you can show off to the world; they only have 'trophies' on a personal level...like in NSMBW, you can get stars next to your profile, depending on how far you've progressed.

Leaderboards I like, it can make it more fun to replay a game in order to get a high score. But trophies? Achievements? I find that most of them just suck up your time, forcing you to do something incredibly boring just to get an imaginary pat on the back.

Sorry, I just can't stand trophies! Honestly, I think they turned me off of videogames as a whole, same with some of my friends. I think that they can sometimes enhance your playing experience, but I've found the opposite to be true.

insectoid:

It's almost like somebody following you around and writing up an itinerary of where you've been, what you did, how long you did it for, and how well it went. I don't want that.

finally! someone who agrees with me. I have a friend who is an achievement whore and considers themselves to be better at games because they have a higher gamerscore than me. it irritates me to no end. If I wanted to go out and kick five guys in the head while riding a motorcycle through a hoop of fire I would do it on my own, thank you. attaching an arbitrary number to a tedious task doesnt make the task any more fun and im not going to do it just to add that number to my score.

What I really don't get is where does FarmVille or Facebook make it's money from? I can see the money invested, but I don't see where the income comes from.

I must confess I am neither a Facebook user, nor a FarmVille player. This is partly because I am snobbing the idea (pretending to be an old-school real gamer, even when I am enjoying my Wii Sports Resort), but more importantly because I am simply not compatible with the idea of revisiting the site every one or two days to check for updates and play games. Sure, I enjoy some Apple apps from time to time, but there also my attention span rarely goes over a week.

However, my wife is a Facebook member and FarmVille farmer, so I know what the story is about. I keep expecting her to tell me that she has been prompted to insert her credit card number, but nothing happens. I keep reading about the money FarmVille is earning, but I don't see how? Does it charge for things?

It is clear the you can use Facebook and FramVille, without paying for anything and never really feel that you are missing something. Do people make micro-transactions? Are they enough to cover for the majority that is playing for free. Does FarmVille really make money, or is there another source of income that I am unaware of?

It's not the games themselves that bother me, it's the morals and users behind them.

It's sickening for me to see people dedicating their life to a shoddy game that any developer could make independently in just a few days. Fine, maybe they have nothing better to do, but it's when they start pumping tons of money into the game that it really bothers me.

I'd hate to see anyone i care for waste money on something so aesthetic, it's essentially a scam.
I have to watch my little brother waste tons of my family's money on Club Penguin, just so he can buy his penguin a fluffy jacket and get some extra snowballs, it's painful to watch.

Comments like "Farmville/Zynga are the best game/developer ever" just add to the annoyance.

Dhatz:
can you help me find the game (I forgot it's name)that has perfect graphics, many many story locations and playable fishes where you eat other fish and levelup to go through campain(it had pearls as points on map), you can sprint and accelerate to jump over the surface and eat insect there and there is level where you play as the fish with glowing bait in the darkness.

this game was effin perfection of pisces predation and it is too long ago for me to remember its name(and therefore cannot find it).

Sounds like Feeding Frenzy 2 from Popcap. http://www.popcap.com/games/feedingfrenzy2?mid=feedingfrenzy2_pc_en_full

Yeah, it's fun in small doses. Personally, I like Chuzzle for my casual gaming needs.

xxygizx:
My problem with FaceBook's style of gaming isn't the overall design... it's what you have described as the best part of it.

The social aspect really kills gaming for me. I don't want to have big brother looking over my shoulder telling all my friends about what I've been doing. If my friends ask me of my gaming endeavors I'll tell them just fine, but I don't want a computer doing that for me, regardless of whether they want to know or not.

here is my problem about the facebook games.

also, in the article when she talks about giving useless crap to old friends as being a good conversation starter, i have to admit, that that is complete bullshit. if one of my old friends sent me that crap i would do nothing other then delete him/her off my facebook, because, you know, its not like i talk to 90% of my friends on facebook anyway

 

Reply to Thread

Your account does not have posting rights. If you feel this is in error, please contact an administrator. (ID# 58499)