In all honesty I had not given any attention or consideration to the abundance of gaming on Facebook, until every so often in my newsfeed these brightly coloured posts of casino-based games would appear. At a closer look I discovered that, in fact, it was my own mother’s profile that had linked them to my Facebook newsfeed. With astonishment I realised how popular these games are, as more of these posts began to appear. My Aunts, my mother’s friends and every now and then, an older male acquaintance. Slots, poker, farming, matching. There they all were.
Building Your World
I do recall a while back the influx of invitations to join with the creation of online worlds, or farms, that sort of thing. Apparently, if you accepted an invitation from somebody they would increase the value of their gaming experience. Farmville, to mention one, was launched in 2009. I am assuming that people needed this distraction, which I like to think of as escapism, because it flourished until 2012. People on Facebook that never liked a post or said happy birthday somehow thought it socially acceptable to all of a sudden send invitations to join them in this world called Farmville. The entertainment value is presumably addictive, as I for one couldn’t get my head around how or when people had time to create and build these farms, but that is just me. When we find something that extracts us from the daily routine or our own realities we love being there and that works for us as human beings.
Virtually a Winner
Five years into the future and here we have it, with increased technology and an addictive nature, gaming on the go. One all-time favourite that is more popular than ever is Bingo, which can be found on a few different platforms. Not exactly the same as Bingo in the parish hall, these Bingo games have been developed with an awesomeness that is designed to keep you playing. Bingo Bash is an action-packed game featuring powerups and treasures. Bingo Blingo encourages a social aspect to playing by allowing you to team up with others to work together as you try to earn more bonus rewards. You can also interact by sending and receiving free gifts. Winning big allows you to unlock room after room and every day there is a chance to win on the daily spinner to get free extras. With Bingo Blitz, connecting with players from all over the world in internationally inspired bingo cities from the comfort of your own home or while enduring public transport, means “playing in the Daily Tournament room for your shot at global bragging rights, and spinning away with the slots”
My Companion, My Social Life, My Everything
We have accepted the fact that we are no longer comfortable without our little companion, perhaps to the degree of panic, to the degree that yes, we would turn back from a journey if we happen to be separated long enough to have left it behind. It is beside us at bedtime, with us from breakfast and throughout the day. We could possibly interact with it more than we interact with the living; of course we use it to interact with the living replacing face-to-face meetings. But that is the Generation X that we have been labelled, that is who we are. So my thoughts go to the generation that would happily forget their mobile phones at home, forget to charge them and complain about people calling them all the time while they were out and about. A generation who didn’t navigate technology naturally without assistance and explanations, more importantly, they confessed to enjoying times when they were unreachable. A generation who, when they went out they were simply out. They became annoyed at their phone ringing and the voice on the other side saying, ‘Where are you?’
Admittedly this one does get to me on two accounts. Firstly, I am having me-time so please respect that because it is not me-time when you are ringing me. Secondly, and this works both ways, if I don’t answer my phone it does not meant that I have been in an accident. It might mean that I am paying for an impulse purchase and can’t get to my phone but that is still no reason to panic. In situations when you really feel the need to know what I am doing or if my phone is not being answered for a prolonged period simply go onto Facebook because chances are my whereabouts are posted with an actual location and if, by any chance, I am at the cinema, Facebook will let you know what film I am watching too. Now this is how it works the other way, if you don’t answer my call it doesn’t mean that you no longer love me or are in a hospital emergency room, I realise that I too need to remain calm.
The big question here is how did my mother go from forgetting her phone at home or uncharged at the bottom of her bag to posting her gaming habits on Facebook? Tupperware parties have officially been replaced by bingo and slot machines. No doubt the technology has been enlightening and a world of online social interaction and conversation brought into her life.
You Win Some, You Lose Some
It then dawned on me, as I have never personally played these games or even played the horses, I wondered how ‘real’ is the experience is. Is there real money involved? Is this simply a game or is there interaction that resembles real conversation? With chatbots like ‘Rich the Cat’ entertainment and addictive gaming increase to a new level with the adorable character that is based on a Japanese lucky cat conversing with you. The Messenger based chatbot offers a conversation like interaction and allows you to pick up your bonuses from other games however; the chatbot is only accessible by its most loyal players. If replacing Tupperware parties with online games is a fun way to amuse people of my mother’s generation then it is a successful development. By encouraging a more proactive player and a more engaging experience with their gaming, a new generation of games are winning an older generation of player. With platforms such as SnatchBot allowing developers and individuals with no coding experience to build their own chatbot games for free, the number of chatbot-based games is going to soar.