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Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Asocial network games.

 Before we start Sundays sermon, Dr A has a review of Blazes NEO GEO X and it is as disappointing as it sounds.

You can continue now.

This is a follow on from this, on notorious shillfest Real Racing 3, a game that requires you to spend to tune up after every race and freemium gaming where your only real cause is to pay to win.
We play a few games on facebook namely Farmville2 and Candy Crush Saga.  The first needs no introduction, its a farming game from Zynga, kinda like a dumbed down Harvest moon but with pay to play items, the other is a rather insidious Bejewelled clone that relies on lives and levels, and pretty harsh unlocks.

Zynga of course are well known for this stunt, want some extra fripperies or in my case a Yucca tree and they'll happily sell it to you (we didn't buy of course) cheap, so long as you have enough rupees (or farmbucks).  None of these things they sell are essential by the way these extra cows and ornaments are not needed to progress just to give variety and make the place look nice, and a few more XP to level up.  

Candy crush saga on the other hand is evil, a Bejewelled clone that is not only very good but also a complete shill, requiring either pay to use unlocked items or real cash to progress past a certain pointI've always hated that either paying for freemium content or social networking stuff that penalises the friendless (and lets face it I'm a loner and proud).  There are of course people who will pay up for stuff as well as those with massive rosters of friends to call on to help unlock certain stuff, I'm lucky relying on Farmville community members to grab stuff for me and my cousin to help out with the posting stuff (occasionally).  But it still comes down to this, if you're a loner, you really aren't going to like freemium social networking stuff.

Even worse is that freemium relies on In App Purchasing (why is nothing a program anymore) to play to win.  That leaderboard top spot should be earned by skill not by how rich you are(n't).  

I would love to see a game where pay to play is penalised, if this is truly the new arcade then you should play by arcade rules.  Old Capcom games used to add a number in the unit columns of your score to show how many times you continued (SNES Streetfighter 2 is a prime example) maybe a separate hi score table for those who pay and a proper one with unlockable in game currency for those who play normally and get above a certain score (maybe beating the initial in game Hi score or top spot).
I would also love to see a game where all the IAP purchasing was either unnecessary or rigged in some wayTake for instance an RPG where a sword bought in game will leech your XP to use or in exteme cases not allow you to level up for at least 2 months after purchase (they love the timer unlocks freemium so lets at least have some fun with it).  Or in candy crush's case those special items that work but do not record your score and use up a life to trigger.  
 Or to put it another way If you pay to play you're a sucker.

We're saying our market is suckers — we're going to cast a net that catches as many mentally ill people as we can!"
Nik Davidson Amazon.

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