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Why Casual Games Make Me Seem Crazy

It’s funny what a guy will do for love, for the joy of a shared experience with his spouse.  Case in point, my wife is an addict of Facebook.  Nightly, she roams the fields of this simulated society, chatting up old friends and poring over endless, endless status updates, photos, and notes.

If you frequent Facebook at all, then you’re familiar with the myriad games that whimper for your attention on every sidebar of every page along with the ads for insightful IQ quizzes.  Becky’s particular brand of poison is Farm Town, a game that is childish in its simplicity and so graphically cute that I would be embarassed to be seen playing it, much less enjoying it.

But I do play it.  A lot.

The reason for this has two parts.  First, I am an immersive gamer, so when I play a game I like to get into it.  I don’t like Pinball or Bejeweled.  I like Final Fantasy and Warcraft.  But these are not games my wife enjoys.  She will play Tetris until your eyes start bleeding, then she’ll beg for another go.  So since the mountain could not come to Mohammed, I came to Farm Town.  But I’ve made it something it wasn’t meant to be.

I chose my farm’s name to denote both power and whimsy.  My fields are organized and arrayed for maximum efficiency and ease of movement within them, and my crops are selected for their profit margins.  I’m not making a farm.  I’m making an vegetable empire.

But that’s not really something you can really do in Farm Town.  The dark, warm part of my soul that wishes for conquest and resource control must remain unsatisfied in this family-friendly game.  So why am I not spending my free time playing those ever-immersive MMOs instead, you may ask?  The second part of my reason:  I don’t have a lot of time.

Most of the people who enjoy MMOs are either successful businesspersons who are satisfied with their lives, or unsuccessful slackers who are satisfied with their lives.  I am an unsuccessful artist who is dissatisfied.  So my free time needs to be spent working towards a more satisfying life.  Preferrably one that includes business meetings in hot tubs, and creating new and exciting ways to entertain the world.

So wave to me when you see me trying to orchestrate an offensive against the blue diamonds on my Bejeweled screen, and don’t giggle too loudly when notice that my thumbs involuntarily work invisible analog sticks to strafe around the corner and fire my rocket launcher.

I am the orphan of expensive games.  Hear me mew.

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