If you’ve been reading our blog, you know that we try to provide a steady stream of insightful information about the business side of social games. In our last post, we started to examine understanding micro-transactions and virtual goods. In particular, we focused on how game design could motivate players to interact with these features. So in today’s post, I thought it would be valuable to offer my perspective (as a newbie gamer) to playing social games and the different features that appealed to me. Why? I think it’s something that game designers, businesses and hopefully others (new Facebook gamers) can appreciate: a fresh look into what makes games “fun” to play. What are certain game design features that (even new) players can feel excited about? Here’s my list of Facebook games that I found interesting to play, let me know what you think.
Need For Speed Nitro
Although I’m not a big fan of racing games, this popular car racing game is really fun to play. If you like collecting, sharing, and racing cars and want to challenge your friends to races, this game is a must-try. Admittedly, I do have a competitive spirit and love winning my races, so I like the option (feature) of being able to select the cities and race courses (that I want to use in the races). It’s probably all just part of engaging game mechanics (I’ve been doing a lot of research on this topic lately), but I feel like each course offers me a unique advantage for my experience level and my car’s abilities. It seems to me (not sure if this has any validity), as if I’m more successful at winning my races on the Rio course, as opposed to the ones in Madrid. Nevertheless, having that feature option is really nice. What really got me hooked though was the free customization feature in the game (kind of like Pimp My Ride, but a do-it-yourself version). For me, designing my car is comparable to the experience of getting dressed every morning. It’s my way to express myself and add my personal stamp on something, to show-off a part of my personality. Secretly, I like the fact that my hot pink 1960 Volkswagen Westphalia might grab some attention.
In Pet Pupz, taking care of your puppy (the purpose of the game) feels like you are really nurturing a real-life animal. I feel like I have to visit my puppy every day and take care of it: it’s the ultimate responsibility for me, and it’s only available in this virtual setting. As far as specific features go, I really like the fact that I can take care of my friend’s puppy as well as mine. I feel like I am extending a helpful hand, showing that I care about her when I do that. It’s a nice social gesture and I feel as if through this process, I am actually strengthening my real-life relationships. Another feature that I really like in the game is the Scene Builder, because it allows me to (like in the previous game), customize and build my own product. As the name suggests, you can build a customized photo or scene and place your puppy in it. The reason I like the feature (and I feel that it’s worth my time investment) is because I can show it off to people when the product is finished (you can download the scene, print it out or post it to your wall). Bragging never hurt anybody…
Mob Wars is interesting to me, because it’s a role playing game that I actually didn’t think it’d enjoy playing… that is until I started advancing in the game. The fact that you can recruit your friends and therefore finish jobs quicker or level up faster made me feel like I really accomplished something and there was a real incentive for me to keep going on. I even thought that I could possibly start an all-girl mob (I’m not sure why I would’ve wanted to do that, but I did) however after realizing that I needed all the help I could get, I abandoned that idea. I also really like seeing my progress in the game, being able to buy my weapons (guns and crowbars) and seeing how it helps me to complete jobs etc.
I realize that this list is only a start. There are many other games that could be engaging to try and I promise to do it in time. In the meantime, if you have any recommendations, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us.