Every so often, I get caught up in one of those point-and-click Facebook games, like Farmville or Castle Age, and I become totally obsessed with them. I’m building characters. I’m building farms. I’m building castles. I’m fighting monsters. I’m raking in the fake currency. I’m completing quests, and in the best of these, I’m connecting with people on the Internet I will probably never meet in person. In short, these games allow me the opportunity to feel successful and enjoy the feeling of actually building toward something. It’s a feeling that seriously lacks in real life.
No matter how many blog posts I write, how many books I sell, or how many SEO articles I write, I don’t see the results that show I am building toward something. Instead, my real life looks like I am spinning my wheels and staying afloat, with the weather and waves threatening to change all that.
These games have a time element and a rewards system. Just wait five minutes, and you get another point, or energy bolt, or gold piece to spend. Of course, you always have the option of throwing the developers some real money to get more of whatever makes the game go. The more you play, the more new lands you find the more powers you develop and the more secrets you discover.
Discovery also lacks in life, even as I seek out new experiences and new information. It seems like I am surrounded by old information that is told in different ways over and over. It’s like looking up 30 articles on heart attacks to see that chest pain is the most common symptom for men. It’s something we all know. Isn’t there anything new out there?
Recently, I got caught up in “Magic the Gathering: Arena.” It’s a great game. You collect cards and decks. You build decks, and then you battle against other people that you can’t really communicate with. It has all the elements I love: Discovery, strategy and card collecting. (I had so many Magic cards when I was in my teens and twenties.) And then there’s the winning – who doesn’t love winning? I just can’t continue on with it knowing the responsibilities I have.
These games are time- and attention-stealers. They don’t do anything to advance you forward, and if you’re like me, they suck you in and reduce your effectiveness in other areas of your life. If you’re thinking about the next reward you can get in your match three gems game or Candy Crush, you’re not thinking about how to solve other problems you’re facing or how to help other people get through life better. Yes, they are fun, and if you can play them in moderation, more power to you. I, however, cannot. Now, if there were a point-and-click game that translated into helping people. That might be a game worth getting lost in.
If you’re going to point and click anyway, try one of my adventure choice stories. You’ll be helping me out and get a good story, too!