May 28

Gaming for Luddites

I was born in the United States in 1973. If you were too, you either (1) heard of the Atari 2600 or, (2) grew up under a rock. Note I said “heard of” instead of “owned.”

800px-Intellivision-Console-Set

While most definitely familiar with the Atari, I owned one of these bad boys.
Image credit: Evan-Amos

I often get nostalgic for the 8-bit halcyon days of the 80s. Be it the romance of the video arcade before it descended into Chuck E. Cheese corporate banality, or the simple Zen of playing BurgerTime on Intellivision, if there’s one thing I miss about childhood, that’s it. The adept video game historians among you know Intellivision was technically superior to the Atari 2600, so you might assume I’ve ridden the crest of technology ever since.

Well, you’d be mistaken.

Continue reading

Apr 27

Lane Has Some Mystery Crap to Share With Their Friends!

Beachy is more proficient with the computer with each passing day. All in all, this is a good thing. She’s relatively comfortable with Windows now, and she’s finally stopped calling the mouse the “remote.”

Zenith_Space_Commander_600

Which I think she did to annoy me.
Image credit: Jim Rees

Surprisingly, we made it through the day without watching a single Smosh video. That’s because Beachy remembered she had some Facebook games going. So, we spent the better part of the morning playing YoVille and Café World. This is a slow, painful torture for me, not only because of the surfeit of cutsey tween crap in these games, but also because Grandpa’s DSL connection has all the pep of a Trabant 601.

connectionlost

“DAAAAADY!!!!”

As you’re probably aware, YoVille, Café World, Mafia Wars, FarmVille and several other Facebook games are created by an outfit called Zynga. While these games have many diverse themes, the basic gameplay is the same. To wit, click to get and/or make stuff, click to annoy friends to give you stuff, complete “quests,” and experience Sisyphean labor firsthand as Zynga constantly bombards you with new tasks and features without giving you time to master the existing ones.

Colibri-thalassinus-001-edit

Their logo should be a coked-out hummingbird.
Image credit: Mdf

This last bit is important, because Zynga offers a myriad of features and labor-saving utilities by charging you credits. That is, credits you buy with real money. Yes, people buy said credits by the millions. However, they comprise fewer than 10 percent of those playing Zynga games overall. This, along with the games’ inherently annoying qualities, probably explains why Zynga’s stock today is worth roughly one-third of what it was when the company went public in December 2011.

I admit these games are addictive to the uninitiated. I played a few of them myself for a time. Finally I got tired of the aggravation, as well as the never-ending Facebook wall posts to loan a hoe here or taste a pie there. So a few months ago I uninstalled all the apps and set my game notifications to “ignore.”

Here’s the rub. Even though I don’t play anymore Zynga still has all my game profiles loaded on their servers. Yeah, you can still visit my CityVille town or plow my FarmVille fields. Beachy still has me as her Café World “employee.” Before I stopped playing she took the liberty to “dress” me.

lanecafeworld

Which I KNOW she did to annoy me.