Friday, September 23, 2011

The Facebook Friday Fing : Dino Golf

Good old Facebook. Without it, how would you ever find pictures of American girls who like photgraphing their bathrooms? How would you ever come to know that 4 of your friends 'like' looking at the microwave timer even though you only put the meal in 25 seconds ago? And, most importantly, how would you ever get to read my latest Friday Facebook Fings?

Like, this week's game. Dino Golf, from, is about as simple as games can get. Essentially, it is nothing but an evolution of the same principle that hooked us all 6 years ago when we were smacking a penguin in the head with a club . Except now, we get to see how far our friends can get with their efforts, and get rewards for beating them.

Things start out straightforwardly enough, with our caveman avatar walking up to the ball to hit it. Of course, the ball is just a rock, and the club is just a big old stick. This is because it is based in prehistoric times, and such luxury items as a Big Bertha just weren't invented yet. To be fair, consumerism as a concept hadn't been invented, which was probably for the best. There have been multiple times in my life that I have wished it didn't exist, several of which came during playing this game itself.

Starts out well enough

So, the usual golf rules apply. A large arrow starts swinging back and forth, and you click to stop it. This sets your angle of hit. Then, the same thing happens for the power. I have no idea why this would be, because the whole point of the game is to hit for a further distance than other players. There is no aiming, no subtlety, and no strategy. Just hit the ball as far as you can, which logically means you hit it hard as you can. WHY THE HELL DOES IT GIVE ME THE OPTION TO HIT LESS THAN FULL POWER? Who, pray tell, are the freaks that will use this? Hell, why not go the whole hog and give us the option to not even hit the ball at all? Or, let us teach the ball to do impressions of French politicians, it would prove as useful.

Beyond your initial hitting of the ball, there is little else for you to do. You watch as your balls sails through the air, and then as it bounces on the ground. It may hit a spider's web, which acts like a trampoline and gains you some extra distance. It may hit a tree trunk, which stops you dead. It may hit a dinosaur, some of which move you forwards and others of which just get in your way. If you are extremely lucky, a bird will catch your ball and fly off with it before spitting it further forwards. Sadly, there is also a bastard bird that can catch you and take you backwards.

The entire game is, therefore, one of luck. If you hit obstacles, you lose. If you hit helfpul stuff, you win.

Repeat the process two more times, and then suddenly you get a most unwelcome intrusion.

Uh oh, here comes the spam...

Yes, by watching an advert embedded from youtube, you can earn the right to hit your ball one extra time. These adverts genuinely last between 30 seconds and just over a minute, so it is painless enough to endure. So, I suppose one can't really complain at their existence. Unless, of course, one is of the mindset that they were supposed to be playing a FUN GAME. Frankly, my idea of fun rarely involves being forced to watch some arty conceptual movie designed to make me want a car that I could not possibly afford, particularly when I am only playing in the first instance because that annoying dude on my friends list is constantly challenging me.

At least he has a good reason for challenging me. This is one of those games where you can upgrade your equipment, thus increasing your chances of hitting the ball REALLY FAR. To do this, you enter the in-game shop and buy new balls, new clubs, and other helpful additions. The in-game currency appears to be skulls, which are earned by beating your friends. This will be why said annoying dude constantly challenges me, and also why no matter how hard I try, which is admittedly not very, I just can't beat him.

I'm quite poor at this game.

That score may look good, but it is frankly rubbish.

Naturally, these bonus items can also be bought for REAL WORLD CASH as well, because the creative guys at GameDuell are well aware that fools and their wallets are soon parted. This very phrase would appear to be the modus uperandi for the majority of the developers on Facebook, as it happens.

Just heartbreaking

It was during my perusal of the shop that I lamented the blatant capitalist trappings of this game, and indeed Facebook itself. When a game is so primarily concerned with squeezing a few pennies out of you instead of giving you an enjoyable time and hoping you reward it, things have gone very wrong.

And that, as they say, is pretty much the entirety of the game. Hit a rock, watch an ad, fail to beat that annoying guy who keeps on playing, and try not to spend any real money on it. Sure, it is a pleasant enough distraction, particularly notable because it doesn't beg you to play it every single day for the rest of your existence. But, you could find so many better games. (For example, Pacman S!)

There ARE good games on Facebook. Amongst the mountains of utter dross, the odd gem does shine out. This is not one such gem. This is in fact naught but a polished turd. Ignore the cartoony graphics, for in its heart Dino Golf is not cute at all. It is the very Devil, seeking to steal as much of your money as it can get its grubby cloven mitts on.

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