Browser Fun – The good thing about Facebook/Social games

We’ve all seen the bad reviews and bad rep surrounding Facebook Games, most of us have even experienced it for ourselves, but still I find myself playing them. Not all of them, mind you, but some of them. I tried to figure out why, and here’s what I found out about the games I play there.

It doesn’t require friend harassment

The games I found myself playing are those that don’t require friends to progress. Some of them give you the option, but there are ways to play your way forward. For example, the one I found myself playing most is Peak Games Lost Jewels, where you have to unlock the next stage every 10 levels. You can do this by either paying for it, getting 3 friends to help you or by replaying old levels until you collect enough “orbs” (you can get up to 3 orbs per level).

It doesn’t require real money to unlock power-ups

Most of the games I’m playing offers alternative ways to pay for your power-ups, such as gems or coins you can collect in the game. Some power-ups that are particularly powerful (I don’t wanna use the word gamebreaking, but yeah…) often costs RL money, but the regular ones can often be obtained through grinding levels over and over and through daily sign-in bonuses.

Quick to play, quick to quit

If I want to play an action game, a RPG or anything else that requires a lot of time and planning, I have a rather powerful computer and a library of over 500 games from the last decade, however if I have 5-10 minutes over and had a stressful day, it’s not always the best thing to start up a teeth-grinding FPS. Those moments come often for me, at the end of a lunch break, between work and work (yes, I work with several things) or before bed when I need to relax. The games I find myself playing are those that you can just load up and start playing right away and that you can quit at any time without loosing anything.

A RPG I used to play, which was my introduction to Social Gaming from back in the days before Zynga and Facebook Credits, required you to always micromanage your base and your creatures and punished you for leaving in the middle of it or not coming back every day by making you weaker. I played that a lot and got to quite a high level, but if I was to return today, a year after I completely stopped playing it, I would basically be back at square 1. However, many other games don’t punish you like that, puzzle games and similar will often save your progress indefinitely and at the most you will lose one “life” if you stop playing mid-game.

That takes a lot of the stress out of the game and even if the game is based on quick responses, it works greatly for relaxing.

What if I don’t want to be harassed by others requests?

One of the main grievances about Facebook games is the constant flow of requests that keeps popping up from your friends. You probably don’t want to play all those games, at least not at the same time. Most, if not all Facebook games have certain limits that makes it impossible to play for an extended time, be it life counters, actions that takes time or resource gathering that takes time, but they all have this constraint. Those who like the games often play several games, so they can switch whenever they cannot do anything in one game due to these built-in limitations. The limits are there on social games to make you come back and to prolong the game, not just as a devious scheme, but also to give the other players time to react and so you don’t get bored too quickly.

If you are getting a high number of requests from a particular game you have no interest in, you can use one of two ways to deal with this:

Ask the friend who sends the request to stop

By far the easiest way, but many don’t dare to do this in fear of jeopardizing the relationship. If the relationship would be altered in any way by you asking this person not to annoy you, then I would ask if you truly are friends in the first place, but that aside, just asking never hurts. It might even get this friend to ask permission from everyone this person is sending requests to.

Add the game to your ignore list

This is a technical solution using Facebooks built-in ignore system. Next time you get a request from the game you don’t like, instead of clicking on it, go to your application center (it’s in the same area on the left-hand sidebar as the games) and click on Pending Requests. Next to the name of the game is a down-facing arrow. Click this and you’ll get some options, one of them is “Ignore all requests from…”. Clicking this will ignore all future requests from this game, at least until you start playing the game yourself.

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