A few months back, I was tinkering with the idea of creating a Facebook game. Nothing too fancy, but something simple and easy to use, with high replay value. So I started playing a few games to see how they worked, what I liked and didn’t like, and to get some ideas on Facebook games in general.
One of the games I started playing is Zynga’s CityVille. Everyone’s heard of FarmVille, and as far as I know, this is basically the same game, but it’s based on building a city instead of a farm. The game really is just Sim City, with some social networking stuff built in.
I used to make fun of all those people who were addicted to those games, so when I found myself going down that road, I got a little embarrassed. That didn’t stop me from playing though… using Facebook’s privacy settings, I was able to hide my addiction from most of my friends. Only a select few fellow CityVille players would get to see my requests.
However, after playing for some time, you reach a point where you can’t really proceed any further unless you either a) annoy the shit out of your friends with messages and requests or b) pay money. Once I got to that point, I figured I had reached my limit, and I slowly stopped caring about my city. Eventually the daily emails and requests stopped, and I haven’t even checked it out in months.
My experiment is over, and I realized a few things. It’s easy to get sucked into something as innocent as CityVille, and I finally understand how some people get addicted to these sorts of games. It’s an easy game to play, and you can pick it up and play for as little as a few minutes a week, or you can get right into it and play for hours a day.