25 March 2013

May have finally reached Facebook game overload

A few months ago, I wrote about how Facebook games could be a time suck. This became even more apparent to me recently when I joined a Facebook group devoted to a game I play regularly, Chefville by Zynga. Reading the messages in this group actually made me feel guilty that I wasn't playing more often. Members were checking in messages that read like this: "Sorry I haven't filled any requests today. I had to go to church and run some other errands." Really? Why on earth would you feel that you needed to apologize for living your life instead of playing a game? Well, it wasn't long before I posted a similar message myself. I thought that belonging to a game group would be fun because I would have other people to discuss the game with. Instead, I felt like I was a Chefville slacker who was letting her neighbors down by not playing often enough. Mind you, Chefville is a casual game, but being in this group gave me a sense of how players in more "serious" games like MMORPGs can get so engrossed that they fall behind in their homework or stop hanging out with real-life friends.

I'll be honest and admit that I let a few things slide while I was trying to keep up with not just Chefville, but the other nine simulation games I play on Facebook. When I took the time to do other things like play games in person with my kids and read books, it became quite evident that these games were more like work than fun. The Zynga games are the worst offenders with their multiple timed quests that require all your time plus the assistance of half your Facebook friends list. I went into overload mode for a while, but I think I am finally ready to wean myself from this particular pastime. You'll still see me gaming on Facebook, but it will most likely be other games that give me time to breathe.

22 March 2013

What I'm playing on my iOS devices

As of last Christmas, I have pretty much turned into an iOS gal. ABM found two iPad 2 tablets for a great price at our favorite pawn shop, so he picked those up for us. I sold my Android tablet to his best friend, and he gave his Android tablet to our daughter C2 because her cheapo Android tablet from Christmas 2011 bit the dust. I now have both a phone and a tablet running on iOS 6. As much as I used to grouse about Apple not being the only game in town, I must admit owning iOS devices is enjoyable for cheap gamer like me. There are so many more free and freemium apps available for iOS, and the graphics don't look like they were created by a 3rd grader. Anyway, here are a few of the games that I am playing right now:

Fairway Solitaire (review on JayIsGames): This is a Big Fish game I just discovered recently, but it has been around since 2007 when it started as a desktop game. If I had found it back then, I would have been just as enamored as I am now. I think that older folks like me, who got their first computers in the 1980s when they all came with Klondike, have a soft spot for solitaire games. As the title suggests, it adds golf-related hurdles like sand traps and water hazards to the card play. There are also plenty of trophies, which I like because I enjoy working toward something in a casual game. The games displays well on the iPhone 4S without making me squint, and the occasional comments from the golf announcers are amusing.

Gems with Friends (review on Gamezebo): As you may have guessed from the name, this game is part of Zynga's "With Friends" line. I've been playing this game for months and I am still obsessed with it. There is something about matching up the numbers that is almost like meditation to me. I play it right before bed and it calms me down. The one downside for me is that this is a competition game and most of my friends don't play video games. Luckily, there is a random opponent feature that quickly finds me a match when I want one. I usually go through at least 10 games before I settle down to sleep.

Pocket Planes (review on Gamezebo): Although I installed this game several weeks ago, I didn't start playing it until this week. I was a regular Tiny Tower player when I had my Android tablet, and this game scratches that same itch. The simplicity of buying airports and scheduling flights keeps me checking my iPad over and over. I started out playing this on my phone, but I didn't like scrolling so much to see various parts of the map so I switched to the iPad. It is much more enjoyable for me that way. This game is also available for Android, and I wasted no time getting C2 (who was also a fan of Tiny Tower) hooked on it. I wonder which one of us will be the first to buy all the airports in North America?

There are many, many more games that I am playing. In fact, I have been playing so many games that I was falling behind on more important tasks! I'll do another post soon on games that have very little going for them, but I keep playing them.