Friday, July 10, 2009

The Sixteenth One: Facebook Addiction Chronicles, Entry Two

Deep breath.

Okay, I have just recovered from a moment of temporary insanity involving a fair amount of shame on my part. It started when I could not connect to the Facebook game app for "Restaurant City". (Details of the game not important at this point, just keep reading.)

At first, it was just minimally annoying. These things happen. It's Friday night, and there are tons of Eleanor Rigby's and system response is slow, I get it. But it kept happening. I could not get in. Retrying, Refreshing, Signing Out and Back In. Nada. Frustration built.

After about the thirtieth time of clicking on the hateful smiling-cook retry icon and getting nothing, I lost it. I actually screamed at the monitor "I HAVE GOT TO GET IN HERE TO FEED MY STAFF OR THEY WILL DIE AND PEOPLE WILL LEAVE MY RESTAURANT!"

Good gawd.

How deep is my addiction? Well, let me just run through a typical day's journey in the land of Facebook game apps. Keep in mind that I don't start this bit of frolic until AFTER I have checked my inbox, reviewed all notifications to see who did what to me where, and scrolled through endless pages of postings, 97.8% of which I don't care about. (Not being mean, just sayin. I'm very happy that you took a quiz that determined you are Lt. Uhura from Star Trek, but it's not going to change my life.)

So, the game app routine. If you're not familiar with these games, two things you should know: they are structured so that you DO become addicted and return every day so their advertisers can make money, and it takes you CENTURIES to level-up and get the goodies that you want.

We start with "Mob Wars". Not "Mafia Wars". Mob Wars. People get these confused. I play both, and they are similar, but there are distinctions. Mafia Wars is actually a bit more fun and interesting. Actually, a LOT more fun and interesting.

So why stick with Mob Wars? Because it was my first game app child, suggested to me by a pushy mate who lives in England. She was ALL about this game at the time, and since I'm slightly scared of her, I accepted the invitation to join her gang for fear of truly losing my life. She don't play.

And the first child always holds a special place in your heart. Yes, there may be other siblings coming down the production line of life, maybe even more talented or entertaining, but that first one gets a unique kind of love. Besides, in that game, I'm making like 80 gazillion dollars an hour and own most of the known world. I can't stop now.

Then we have Yoville, my second child. In this one, everything's really cute, and you run around playing games and working in a factory and earning coins so you can decorate your dwelling with stupid crap. I actually abandoned this one for a while. (Go ahead, call Child Protective Services. I admit it freely. I'm not scared of you.)

But I came back to this one after several friends (hereafter known as "enablers") began playing, and they tempted me with gifts and salacious acts of "dancing with my avatar". So I was sucked back in. And I discovered that if I play long and hard enough, I can purchase "The Gothic House".

I am now obsessed with owning this house. Not kidding. I WANT THE GOTHIC HOUSE! Trouble is, you have to have 20 members in your "crew", and I only have 14, despite sending out thousands of "join" requests to my Facebook friends, many of whom are probably on the verge of clicking that "Un-Friend" button. AND, you have to have 25,000 coins, in a game where you only make about 3 coins a day. But I will triumph in the end. (I want the Gothic House!)

Then we jump over to Mafia Wars, just like Mob Wars but better. I don't own the world here yet, but I will. Because you know I'll keep coming back until I do. The lawn doesn't get mowed like it should, and I haven't taken the trash out in 37 days (111 Yoville coins!), but you have to have goals, right?

Then we have Farm Town. Where you plow, plant and harvest. Repeatedly. Until your mouse no longer clicks and your index finger is in a splint. I'm focused on making money, so I have ignored the hundreds of animals that have been gifted to me. These animals are running all over hell on my pathetic and neglected farm, mooing and bleating and neighing. I just turn the sound down and keep plowing.

Then there's Farmville. Just like Farm Town, except the animals don't move. They stay right where you plunk them. Sweet. Otherwise, same thing: plow, plant, harvest, carpal tunnel.

Followed by.... Barn Buddy. No, despite the alluring title, this is not about young rural teenagers coming of age. This game's actually.... just like Farm Town and Farmville, only on a smaller scale. Okay, now I'm scaring myself. What is my obssession with farms? Why must I plow so much? Clearly, one or two of these has got to go. Maybe tomorrow.

Next stop on the Addiction Express is "Pirates". Luckily, this one is kind of confusing, or poorly designed, or something. I get the "plunder" jobs, wherein you do pirate-like activities to earn gold. I'm at a loss with the whole "island" thing where you apparently hire friends to work in a coal mine or some such. Hopefully, the frustration will continue and I can set this one adrift on the high seas. One down, 17 to go.

"Vampire Wars". Just like Mob and Mafia, but with this one you earn "blood" instead of "coins". The rewards seem to be more immediate, so there's that. And of course, this game is all about the Gothic, which reminds me of the house in Yoville that I yearn for constantly, and the addiction cycle continues.

I really need help.

Finally, we have "Restaurant City", which started this whole mess of a blog. In this one, you have to hire cooks and waiters to service the patrons of your restaurant, and buy ingredients to make better meals to make more money so you can-

OMG! The app is back up!


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