I don’t trust poker – I only play FarmVille…Social Media Games

I don’t trust poker – I only play FarmVille”

As a fellow poker player, you can imagine the despair I felt when I heard these words uttered by my taxi driver. Of course, I guffawed. I also added, smugly, that I don’t know anyone who would play FarmVille. My friends only play skill games. He raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure?

Of course I was sure… but, the perfectionist in me took over and I decided, even though I was never going to see this driver again, to log into Facebook and prove myself right. I have Facebook so I can stay in contact with family and friends around the world. I don’t pay any heed to the notifications that I receive but I’m a discerning person; my friends are bound to be an intelligent bunch. And so, I concluded; there’d be no harm in checking.

Now, before I go any further, I’m sure you can see the big red alert sign flashing. I wish I had, but sometimes you’re blind to your own desires…hence the ensuing rant.

Sure enough, I logged in and checked the notifications; there were six requests to play FarmVille – sent over the last week alone! And the worst thing is that several of them came from one of my best mates. I call him up and what’s his response?

You like poker; I thought you’d like this.”

Are you kidding me? Firstly, how on earth could you link poker with a mindless game that just needs you to be able to click a mouse? And secondly, if I ignored the first request, why bombard me with more?

I quickly hung up and deleted all notifications. Then I get indignant and post on my account that FarmVille is an embarrassment and ask why do people play?

Within minutes, I have several responses and another three requests to play. Great; so now I have accumulated nine stupid friends in a week.

I throw some similar FarmVille questions out on Twitter and I get four immediate responses and six more followers. I’m serious – just because I talked about FarmVille, people now wanted to keep track of what I have to say? I ask about poker and I get ignored…whatever happened to playing proper games?

Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who seemed to have an allergic reaction to FarmVille.

I’ve never played it, and am never likely to play it. I find the whole thing bloody annoying. I can’t see the point to games generally, but even more so on social networking sites. Thankfully the requests to find missing pigs or send trees have dried up.”

Lucky for him! My ridiculous requests are just starting to trickle in, thanks to my post…another two have just come my way. At least I know that there is an end in sight.

But then, my moral side takes over; should I really make a judgement about something I know nothing about? OK, I’m not dumb enough to add the app (can’t even call it a game in case I get struck down) to my page…but I did take a peek. The FarmVille page states:

Everything grows in FarmVille. Join your Facebook friends and live the rural dream. Play now!

I’ve just moved six hours away to the countryside using the train and local bus – if only I’d known! I could have been living the dream from my old living room and saved myself a lot of hassle!

By this time, insanity has kicked in. I have to get to the bottom of why my friends have turned to the dark side, so I turn to Google.

Here are some really interesting facts that I found:

  • FarmVille took less than five weeks to develop before going live on Facebook (Five weeks? Must be good then…)
  • Over 80 million users play FarmVille, and about 1/4 of these people (use this term lightly) log in everyday
  • There are more than 400 million active Facebook users, so that means 1 in every 5 users plays FarmVille (note to self: keep away from the notifications page so you can’t see how many of your friends have turned into complete morons)
  • You can go to YouTube to view clips full of the crop designs (recent research is saying that people who watch YouTube clips at work are more productive…I doubt it!)

And then the guilt sets in. I have just lost an hour of my life researching FarmVille that I can never regain.

But at least now I know enough about it to make an informed conclusion: as a game, FarmVille is a massive waste of space. It’s an embarrassment. And the worst thing is; it’s not the only one of its kind…

There’s Fashion Wars, FrontierVille, FishVille, Bejewelled and Café World, to name but a few. Each page has thousands upon thousands of members, but each is also full of spam; advertising, links to cheats and losers begging for more friends (with names like Bong ShinShin which, of course, leads to a fake profile). And don’t forget about EVE Online, where people have been screwing their friends out of thousands of dollars against the backdrop of “an amazing science fiction universe.”

And people think poker isn’t reputable? Ha!

Yet it’s not going to end soon; every day, companies are trying to create the next big thing.

But whose fault is it? After all…I can’t blame the companies (like Zynga) that make these games. They’re responding to supply and demand; capitalising on other people’s boredom and stupidity. I blame the players.

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