Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sporadic Traps

A new kind of leech for creativity and the generation of value in our society has manifested itself in the form of browser based games.

I am in the business of making games and definitely believe that computer games and any game in general is essential for the balance of the human mind but the new wave of web browser based, sporadic games, are something which is not quite right.

These games, being played by many people on the web using HTML processing browsers have a nature where you would need to take an action, wait, then take another action, maybe wait more and then so on, unlike other game forms where you get engaged in the game, play, focus and after a while stop playing the game, in the browser based games, you would usually want to do something else while playing the game since it would be highly boring to just stare at the monitor while you are waiting for other players around the world to do something while they are doing something else. The nature of the game needs you to take some action during the 24 hours since no presence of you, sporadic presence, might end up costly for you in game. So constant presence is needed but in fact a disconnected presence and this means you would need to have an eye over the screen while you are watching a movie, talking on the phone, working out or most importantly while you are working.

Although our brains are highly parallel machines, on a semantic psychological level, we aren't as parallel as we think and making an action on the screen, getting back to the movie, conversation or what you do at work will for sure have negative effects on the second activity you are following other than the game.

Games should be played in order to take the person's mind somewhere else, provide exciting challenges for individuals in a whole different setting and world and let the person get back to the normal life fully. A great slogan once said: "Work hard, play even harder" but in the case of modern sporadic nonsense, it would be "Work and play at the same time, kill both of them".

Focus is among the most valuable traits of the human race and it is the glue that can bind together intelligence, creativity, determination and passion together and make the magic happen, having any of the other useful characteristics without focus is almost totally useless. Now what has happened in the recent years, specially the current decade is for all the modern technology to creep into new forms that work against the human focus, starting from the busy nature of the city infrastructures to the little devices such as mobile phones, pagers and email alerts, text messages, people popping up on gazillion different messenger services and the general availability and overload of information around us. We just don't need new rookies in this arena.

oh ... you play because your job is boring? ... "spending that time finding a better job would be much more beneficial for you"
... you play because you don't have a job? ... "this is better since its only self destructive ..."
... you play because you can handle it and the job perfect at the same time? ... "I do not buy this at all"


3.14 3 @ C 3 said...

There is more and more type of browser based games, You wrote about only one of them, Turnbased strategic ,You can google about Quake on browser!
Internet browsers are a big platform now in gaming world, I heard about something like Onlive on browsers using Adobe Flash, It can change the future of gaming in near future.

P.S: Sorry about my poor English.

Amir H. Fassihi said...

Yes ... the exact type I have in mind is known as Sporadic Browser Based Games...

Anonymous said...

I think they are not playing them for fun of normal games, they are playing it as a resort of their stressful or unpleasant work. I do think that kind of "game" is mostly being used (or abused) as a getaway.

Same thing for other things, there are normal gamers and those who just want to escape.