3/22/13

Casual Gaming . . .

My friend Walker suggested I share my thoughts on Casual Gaming with yuns. Here you go, Buhhhday. . .

It was late 1999. I was ass-deep and elbow-high (my elbows hang oddly on my body, don't over think it) with work and graduate school and I had roommates and super morbid obesity to contend with and there was just ONE thing that made it better. . . Ricochet.

Ricochet (I hope I am remembering the name correctly) was (is?) a crude (by today's standards - cutting edge then), browser-based game where you pointed what looked like a straw around a playing screen, tapped the space bar and shot "balls" in to the air with the intent of bundling "balls" of the same color so they would disappear and open up more playing surface. Clear the board? Get a new board. You could play for 30 seconds or 30 days and nothing, good or bad, would ever happen. I would waste ENTIRE work days. HALF of a Saturday. ALL my study time. Whatever worked.

I never felt even vaguely guilty about my Ricochet time. I'm not alone. By an entirely made up University of Nowhere based study, Americans spend an average of 19 hours per day, each, with casual gaming. Sure. We are not all playing Ricochet. Some are playing Bejeweled. Some are playing the Ticket to Ride app (I do too, admittedly). Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, and Farmville (are people still playing that friggin' game?) and some are in casinos, in broad daylight, putting nickels, dimes, hopes, and dreams in to "virtual" versions of their favorite gambles.

I might also argue that Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Ravelry, and LinkedIn are just modified versions of casual gaming. We collect "friends", "likes", "connections", "comments", "RTs" and "favorites" like there is something in it for any of us. And no one is hurt by it. No one loses anything. No one is any worse for the wear. Arguably. The University of Nowhere is still doing the research.

I tell you all this today because, no doubt, many of you have already ANGRILY ripped up your "March Madness" brackets (I know, I took it in the shorts with Long Island University Brooklyn didn't even win their play-in game too. Totes with you.) and you've already told your admin to remove you from the trash-talk e-mails that will continue for the next three weeks . . . with or without you. And no one "loses" anything here either. Except the MILLIONS of hours of work time that will be lost between the first two days of the tournament and the BILLIONS of dollars spent gambling, eating, drinking, and gambling AGAIN during the tournament.

I'm not saying you could do anything better with your $10 (or $1,000) but it should be noted that Ticket to Ride app is only $2.