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Too Much Fleck About Social Gaming?

by Cassandra Khaw on 12/10/10 03:02:00 pm

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
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Crossposted this time from my Destructoid blog, the receptacle of all my frustrations and whatnot. Somewhat tentatively shared here because I know there are people here who appreciate how first impressions can kill things.

Social gaming is a bit of a mixed bag. 

On one hand, we have the people who are so addicted to these Facebook applications that they're willing to bludgeon their children to death, sacrifice their careers and inunduate friends with a million requests for more vegetables. 

On the other, there are people so completely tramautised by the endless parade of releases from Zynga that they immediately and instinctively take arms against anything remotely related to the tyrannical mega-corporation. 

Somehow, I don't think Self Aware Games was particularly aware of how prevalent this distaste for social gaming was when they first announced Fleck on Neogaf. Don't get wrong. I can't stand social games. I'm one of those people who will run screaming in the opposite direction if you try coercing me into a session with those infernal things. But still, I gave Fleck a few curious pokes - it's rather rough-looking but it might just go somewhere in the future. 

The developers called Fleck a 'ridiculously ambitious MMO Flash experiment'. With its console-flavored artwork and whimsical environments, it looks and plays like one of those things you'd fiddle with for a few minutes each day. Fleck is one part botanical pursuits, one part zombies, a little bit of Google mapping and a whole lot of user interaction. While not quite the most inspired formula in the world, it has too many of the right ingredients to go too wrong. 

And heck, just to sweeten the deal, Facebook isn't used for anything but the login functions. You wouldn't have to worry about burying your friends in spam ever. At least, not unless you wanted to. 

However, the very idea that Facebook would appear in any facet of the game apparently rubbed people the wrong way. Responses ranged the entire spectrum. Some people provided relatively constructive criticism. Others told the developers flat-out that no, there was no way they'd give the game a chance. It didn't matter if Fleck had solid potential lurking under the surface. It had the word 'Facebook' associated with it. That's all that matters. 

I think I'm beginning to see how witch hunts happened a few hundred years ago. 

In retrospect, I guess this wouldn't have mattered as much to me had it been a genuine article Facebook application. If it was, it could have taken all the hits the world could throw at it and I wouldn't have batted an eyelash. However, it seems like the only mistake that the progenitors made here was to tell the world it was a social game and that you had to use Facebook to login. It's kind of like saying that black cats and warts meant you brewed evil concoctions in a cauldron. 

We want new games. Everyone wants new games. We want something to blow us away, to sweep us off our feet and make us swoon over its well-oiled pixels. But at the same time, some of the gaming community as a whole has fallen into the habit of making unneccessary comparisions. TK-Nation was recently privileged enough to participate in the closed beta for an upcoming MMO. There was a huge argument on the channels this one day about the game. People were continuously beating down on it, claiming it was either too different or too similar to World of Warcraft. At one point, a brave soul glibly commented on how he missed the days a game could be taken for what it is. 

I agree. 

At the end of the day, developers make games not only to bring an idea they've envisioned to life but also to make money. When the people who buy their products imply that only certain ideas will work, they will inevitably make more of the same. It's a vicious, self-prepetrating cycle that will only make people progressively more despondent about the current state of affairs. 

While this might make me sound like Mary Poppins or a religious evangelist, I really only have this to say: there needs to be a little more faith. So what, if something uses Facebook as a login method; does it change its playability? No. Hate a game because it's terrible not because you don't like its peripherals. 

I mean, after all, would you like it if someone wouldn't give you the time of day just because they thought your immediate family looked weird? 

I didn't think so. 

Link to the source of all my frustration (there's a link to Fleck too! Go try it!) :




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