Yes, it’s true. I have a horrible, dark secret to share.


I’ve played a Facebook game now.

No, I’ve not (and refuse to) be swept into the multitudes of endless games on Facebook that end with “Ville”, but they had to go off and tap my nostalgia bone by releasing Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?.

Yes, they finally hit upon my nostalgia bone, and so I had to see what these are all about.

Presently, I’ve only played Oregon Trail. The graphics are simple but inoffensive, the game plays the game, all the features of the old game are there, along with newer minigames from more recent versions. People are always split on the whole “Oregon Trail” thing. Some like it, others think it’s merely a game mired in nostalgia, and worth nothing more. I still hold a fond place for it, though I understand it may not be for everyone.

While it’s a competent version, the very reasons why I’ve held off from playing Facebook games plague this version. There’s the numerous option to flood your newsfeed (and resulting friend’s list) with every single move and update you make. Fortunately, you can choose to not “share” it, because I’ve had to “ignore” my friend’s game playing habits in the past as it can get frequent and annoying. But again, you can choose not to clutter your life (and others) with a lot of these redundant and unnecessary updates.

And then there’s the “payment” system. Sure, you can play a game normally, from beginning to end. But why would you want to do that, when you can simply spend some real world cash to buy the end of the game? Who cares about playing games anymore when you can simply buy maximum character levels, super items, and just purchase the end destination. If this game had an end boss, you could probably buy beating him without effort as well.

I understand it’s a means for a company to generate extra revenue, and yes, there are people who will clearly buy things (as evidenced as to why this system still exists), but I personally find it damaging to the game’s balance and exploration/discovery factor. Can you imagine the possibility of escaping every negative situation in a game by simply bribing your way through a title, instead of dealing with the circumstances? Low health? No problem. Negative ailments? Thing of the past. Need to wait until your endurance/magic levels recharge? Five dollars, please.

Don’t misunderstand me. The games are playable without having to purchase anything, but that doesn’t mean that the game tries to constantly offer you “purchasable solutions” during every opportunity it can afford. Obviously, I’m playing without, on the game’s natural progression schedule, and it hasn’t been tedious or unpleasant to do.

But it is nice to see Facebook evolving what type of games are available on its service, and after years of holding out, it finally succeeded in finding something I would enjoy. But now I finally understand what people are talking about when they discuss their purchases made for games… and I shake my head a little more for understanding now.

Play Oregon Trail HERE.
Play Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego HERE.

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Filed under: carmen sandiegofacebookoregon trail