Game Journal 1.2: Games You Hate To Play

Exercise 1.2

In my previous post I analyzed how I play, how someone else plays and then compared and contrasted the two. For this exercise you’re supposed to find a game you hate to play. Describe what you don’t like about it, why you don’t like it, and how you feel it could be improved.

The Thin Line Between

So I used to be a fan of Farmville when it first came out. It was something I hadn’t seen before and harvesting my strawberries gave me a good excuse to jump onto facebook and check out what was going on. However that quickly became a love/hate relationship. I absolutely can’t stand Farmville now and here’s all the reasons why.

  1. God that song. It repeats over and over again to no fricking end and it’s so upbeat that it reminds me of a poor attempt at a fake smile.
  2. Plant, Grow, Harvest, Repeat. Hmm I’m starting to see a repetition pattern going on here. Other than a different image and a different amount of gold from harvesting one crop over another this game is extremely repetitive.
  3. Time spent versus actual reward. So I wait 8 hours for a watermelon to get to harvest and then I only get 200 some coins for it? I find it takes way too long to advance through the game and the rewards don’t feel worth the time I spent waiting for them.
  4. There’s no point to the things you can buy. Buying a goat doesn’t mean you have fewer weeds and building a barn doesn’t enhance how quickly you can collect coins from your animals — if you can collect coins from it at all. What’s the point of letting people buy something that doesn’t effect anything else? Why would I want to buy something that doesn’t do anything?
  5. Damn you request messages. Would you send me a special green chicken or visit my farm to speed up the time it takes me to harvest a crop? Sure — if I didn’t have 15,000 requests all demanding the same thing. Famville you do a great job at sending me more spam in one day than all my email addresses combined.
  6. Specials that aren’t so special. So… how does a green chicken do anything more than your typical white one? Oh wait, it doesn’t. Why would I pay $5 for a green one that doesn’t do anything when I can get a white one that doesn’t do anything for free.
  7. Bad company reputation. I know this isn’t a mechanic from the game itself but it’s one of the reasons I don’t like it so I’m going to add it anyways. When your company motto is along the lines of “don’t make it, just take someone’s good idea and drown them out with a larger advertising budget, resources and staff” you get a big fat F in my grade book.

Suggested Improvements

Okay so the easiest thing is to go down the list.

  1. Please change your song, or at least add a variety of music to the game so I don’t have to listen to the same thing over and over again. Maybe a sound off button would be a good choice too? I shouldn’t have to turn off my speakers just to have an enjoyable experience with your game.
  2. Yes I know the game is about farming but a bit of variation never did anyone harm. Maybe you could harvest certain plants for their seeds rather than coins, or sell them to friends. What about adding dead/wilted plants into a compost pile to make fertilizer, or even using crops to create or trade for another useful object in the game. Emphasis on the useful.
  3. If I spend 8 hours waiting for something I sure as heck want something more than a lousy 200 coins. How about a rare seed, or fertilizer or even a random event (for good or bad, anything to break up the monotony) that occurs as a result of being crazy enough to keep coming back to your game.
  4. If I’m going to buy a goat please make it meaningful. Perhaps cows could decrease your growing time or increase the rate at which you accumulate fertilizer — something other than taking up space you could be using to harvest crops.
  5. Limit the number of request messages a person can get in a day. Or at least stop sending me requests until I’ve answered (aka declined) the requests I already have. Maybe add an option to opt out of requests completely so I don’t have to be constantly bombarded with them.
  6. Make your special items special. I don’t care if the green chicken doesn’t do anything more than run around and infect the other animal’s with it’s zombie virus. Heck, zombie animals could be crazy awesome.
  7. I would really love to see what Zynga’s game designers can actually do — besides taking someone else’s hard work, re-vamping the graphics, and calling it a brand new game.

Heh, after writing this I somehow feel as if I’ve just gone 10 rounds with Zynga in a boxing ring. And the winner is….!

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