Don’t get me wrong here, I quit. Oh yes. Farmville and Mafia Wars both received the proverbial ‘boot’ and their maker Zynga is a big goner from my beloved Facebook profile. The whole process was over quicker than you can spell Idaho backwards (did you try?). Well, now we’ve got that out-of-the-way… What still remains unclear is the reason why I quit. Chances are you don’t give a hoot about what I do and care even less about the underlying motivations, but bare with me… I promise it will get interesting.
There is no point
For those of you that are still Zynga virgins, let me explain in about as few words as humanly possible what sort of games Farmville and Mafia Wars actually are; You click on options to expand the number of options you can click on. That’s it. Obviously, those new options will look different (usually more desirable, due to novelty) but they’re still nothing more than ‘click-options’. If you play long enough, you may even reach levels where you have to click one thing first, before ou may click another and advance to yet higher levels where een more clickoptions are made available. There is no skill or talent involved. Just preparedness to return to the game and click some options every once in a while. Sounds pointless? It is. But that’s not the reason why I quit playing.
What’s the use of a point?
Does the fact that there is no point mean that there is something wrong with any of Zynga clicking games. Not necessarily I’d say. You can say the same thing (actually, this has been said many times) of all video games, from Pong to Halo and from Pac-Man to Command & Conquer (it’s a point also made by the Shoppers game). If you play long enough you’ll either make it to the end of the game, or you’ll get bored. In both cases you eventually stop playing. And then what? Ehm…. Get a beer? And that’s just video games. What’s the point in paying Monopoly? What’s he point in playing Twister (the opportunity of winding up with your nose under someone else’s armpits aside)? What’s the point in rollercoaster rides? It’s not hard to argue that there is not really ‘a point’ to any of those things. Does that mean that they’re not worth spending time on? Does being pointless also mean being useless?
Life is a game
If we stay on this trail of thought; what’s the point of life? I know most of us choose to believe that there is some higher (level of) being that this life is leading to, but if you think about it logically, that doesn’t really make sense, does it? There is probably a reason for our lives, in the sense there will most likely be an origin of it all, but a reason in the sense that there is something where our lives are leading to… If you accept that, I feel you also have to accept that the existence of every rock, light beam and gravitational field should be in existence only for a ‘higher’ purpose. And what would such a ‘purpose’ look like? Let’s not forget that ‘purpose’, ‘reason’ and ‘meaning’ are all concepts that have been thought up by humans themselves. In nature you will find a lot of cause and effect, but what is ‘purpose’? Life itself may just be a game. It serves no higher purpose than the mere fact of playing it, there is no use for life than just living it. And let’s not forget; meaningless does not mean worthless. You can check Damien Hirst’s bank-account for proof.
Life should not be a Zynga game
I think I’ve made it clear, I did not quit Farmville or Mafia Wars because they’re completely pointless. Then, why did I quit my unhealthy pointless Zynga habit? Well, because life may be a game, but life certainly shouldn’t be a Zynga game, where everyday is basically the same, only the shapes and colors vary. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to live a life where you know for sure that there will be no surprises, no puzzles or mystery, nothing more than going through the same (clicking) motions over and over again. A life in which you may only choose options that have been pre-approved by marketing execs, in which everything you gain is designed to increase your hunger for even more gain. Where acquiring only exponentially increases your dissatisfaction with what you have obtained. I choose to avoid feeling like that in ‘real’ life as much as I can and I certainly wish to avoid that in my gaming habits.
In the mean time, Zynga is definitifely moving up in the world, being named the next best things since Facebook and Twitter to have come out of Sillicon Valley by The New Tork Times… the online crack dealer seems to be finding general approval..