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.