Below is a paper I wrote for my advanced writing class. I disagree with some of the points I’ve made in it, but for the purposes of the paper I argued them. It was interesting and educational, having to state ideas I did not quite agree with.
Facebook games can currently be summed up with the phrase, “It was morning when I began–a thousand clicks and several dollars later, it is now 4 o’clock.” Facebook games are part of the emerging category named social gaming. Social gaming is drawing ire from the mainstream game developers because they feel as though it undermines the years of hard work they put into their products. Independent game developers are mixed on their feelings—many of them love the opportunities that platforms such as the iPod offer, but they dislike the monetary motivations behind developing for social platforms such as Facebook. In fact, several companies that develop games for Facebook cite money as their main motivation, saying that “monetization is best achieved when you align it with game design” (Kohler). As the industry tries to establish itself as having artistic potential, the focus on superfluous and fiscal revenue will only diminish any advances the developers have made. Furthermore, the abolishment of any sort of distinction between high culture games and low culture games will only serve to harm the industry. Facebook games such as Vampire Wars, Farmville, and Mob Wars in particular are guilty of placing profit over gameplay mechanics. The simplistic mechanics and lack of depth could easily be connected to what Allan Bloom speaks of in his essay “”Music” from the Closing of the American Mind.” While he speaks of the effect of rock music on our culture, much of it can be applied to these basic Facebook games when he says, “it perhaps thus reveals the nature of all our entertainment and our loss of a clear view of what adulthood and maturity is, and our incapacity to conceive ends” (77). These game are doing far better than games aiming to make a difference are—take, for example, Limbo or Braid. Both are games that sought to prove that video games can be used for artful storytelling and moving experiences, yet the commercial success of the monetarily driven Facebook games is causing more developers to look to cheap and easy money makers, which only harms the industry’s reformation as a serious medium. The split between the high culture of independent games and the low culture of Facebook games should be maintained because the aim of these two types of games are different—independent games are created to innovate, experiment, and challenge whereas Facebook games are created with the purpose of becoming financially successful.
SimCity 5 (PC)
Puzzles & Dragons (iOS)
Civilization V (PC)
Mass Effect 3 (X360)
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