Friday, August 26, 2011

The fabulous Friday Facebook fun feature .... flibble!

Facebook is massive. It is arguably one of the most important uses of communication technology ever undertaken. Sure, all it is used for is to make insane amounts of money for some snot-nosed nerd, but the technology behind it is impressive. For example, besides being the all-encompassing cradle of human drama for the Chav classes, it is also a home for a LOT of games. You probably know this already, if only because of the ruthless spam you see on your feed from those who play; "Nobby Bollocks earned 20 Poop Points, and would like to share them with you." and "Please help me to find some fish!" posts are all too prevalent, unless you block any users who post them all the time.

Surely, there have to be some good games on there as well? The sheer quantity of games released on the network every single day practically ensures entertainment can be found. But how to sort the wheat from the chaff?

Fear not, intrepid reader. Between Continues is brave, and often runs where even angels dare not tread. To this end, I plan to explore the wilderness that is Facebook gaming, and return on Fridays to report on my findings.

First up? Well, where better to start than with The Sims Social?

This one should be interesting. For a start, The Sims is no ordinary game. It is a bona fide phenomenon, with sales numbering in the multi-millions. A large part of this is because it is a very casual friendly game indeed, the kind your girlfriend will spend hours on whilst you watch Kick Ass or Scott Pilgrim. It is a point-and-click virtual person as pet simulation. If anything can translate to Facebook, maintaining its own identity and structure but lending itself to the social aspects of the site, surely this is it?

Things start out well enough. At first login, you get to create your character. You are faced with a choice like below:

It all starts out well enough

Customisation of your sim is fairly diverse, but not overwhelmingly so. There are the usual hairstyle and clothing options, as well as facial choices that basically make no difference whatsoever. You also get to set a personality type for them, choosing from rocker, romantic, introvert, tycoon, geek, athlete, creative, villain, and socialite. Villain? That's intriguing, and actually marginally amusing as your chosen sim sneers and giggles all over the game. Finally, you get to give them a name, rather than it just taking your Facebook account as you may have thought. Obviously, this is all important stuff. Whilst there is a handy 'random' option, you will want to spend time creating a sim that reflects your own style. One that matches your intellect, your wit, and your maturity. Just like Holden below:


And then the game starts properly. You are introduced to the tutorial mode, meeting...

Please don't kill me...

Oh shit, is that Bella Goth? This does not bode well. The last time we met, way back in the first game, she basically spent large chunks of her time setting my house on fire and causing me to argue with my girlfriend. Seriously, this psycho bitch is my guide? I am now almost scared to play at all.

After some clicking on boxes to 'unpack', some clicking on strawberries to 'pick', and some clicking on a box marked 'bladder' to sit on the toilet, I get the idea that there is not going to be a huge deal of involving gameplay in this title. Indeed, pretty much the entirety of my time is spent clicking on requests from various freaks on the left of the screen, which then means I have to click on other stuff. One such quest is to go and socialise, which requires visiting my sole acquaintance Bella. There are a range of options, and I choose to dance with her. I am aware of just how close to the circular saw this action may take me, but I have to soldier on. The things I do in the name of research...

Not the Bella we once knew

Perhaps Bella has spent the last few years on Prozac, because she has definitely mellowed out. Far from the dangerous and unstable creation she once was, life has been kind to her. She indulges me in a lightsabre battle, which quite sadly is the high point of my entire time in this "game" to date. Sadly, it soon becomes clear that this is yet another of the clickfests for which Facebook is rightly loathed. Click on something, click on something else, click on the crap it spits out, and click to spam the walls of all your friends. (Which will in turn allow them to click things, and spam you right back.)

The entirety of the game seems to be based on responding to a small needs meter at the bottom of the screen. It has six sections, and you need to keep them all green. This can be done by clicking things, and clicking other things. At no point will you need to think or choose or decide on anything, you just need to react. The only thought process you put into the game is "What do I buy next?"

The ENTIRE game!

In a nutshell, that is it. Click things to make a box green. Don't expect depth. Don't expect anything life-changing. Don't even expect fun. Don't be fooled by the inevitable EXPLOSION in popularity that will come with this game. Don't make the mistake of visiting even once. If you do, your feed will be an endless loop of requests and news feeds, as people post that they picked some strawberries and MUST tell you so that they get an extra few virtual coins with which to buy a footstool for a computer program. I doubt that this is what the web was designed for, to be frank, but this is very much what it is now.

Oh, and the whole "Social" part of the name? That's a lie! You can visit the houses of friends, but they are not actually present even if they are online at the same time. The computer acts as the sim on their behalf, and they have no idea of what you actually did. Which is cool enough that you can insult them without them ever knowing, apart from the resultant drop in friendship points. But not to worry, a few more clicks will fix all that.

I wanted to start off on a high, and ... yeah, that didn't happen. I promise something better for next week.

1 comment:

  1. If it's any help, you don't have to block the user to prevent game spam, you can just click to the top right of the "I levelled up in Game Y" then select 'Block Game Y', that way you still get to see the great chavvy stuff without a game spam.