Almost everyone who uses Facebook will have ‘those friends’. You know the ones. They play online games like Candy Crush, Pet Rescue Saga and Bejewelled Blitz almost incessantly, and you honestly wonder how they hold a job down (if, indeed, they do). But actually, increasingly, these games are becoming more and more popular, and it’s no longer just the randomers lurking in the corner of your friend list or your lonely aunt who lives in the country who’re at their mercy anymore – it’s people from all walks of life. Why is that? With technology becoming ever more accessible, social games are becoming a nice, easy way of passing the time. Long train journeys with no signal? Not a problem – save the hassle of striking up a conversation with the person next to you, too. Bonus! Avoiding studying for that exam (that’s actually pretty important…)? Why bother, when you can get to a new level on one of the new apps you’ve downloaded? Many games are even being heavily adapted to fit the changing face of the industry – once optimised for desktop computers, the focus is now on smartphone use, for added playtime and convenience for users, as this article about Bubble Witch 2 explains.
Of course, there’s still the option of playing good old fashioned games, albeit far more technologically advanced. Fans of – well, real money – and the timeless classic that is Bingo can always find plenty of sites to fix their habit, with a range of them to choose from as seen on Bingo Find. But the social aspect of games is also changing, too. Although games can be played in solitude to pass the time when other company just isn’t available, gamers are increasingly playing on their consoles in groups, (perhaps aided on by a little pizza and beer!). When this isn’t an option, headsets and camera link ups whilst playing RPGs and First Person Shooters can make things way more interesting. Stories like this one, where a girl was rescued by police because her gamer friends watched a break in at her house streaming live, suggest that these games are actually helping to forge real friendships, or at the very least, a community where people apply the rules of real interactions and prove they’re not actually too far removed from general humanity after all.
Even those who are playing alone on seemingly more inane games like the aforementioned Candy Crush can enlist the help of an acquaintance or two, as the games often encourage Social Gaming – excessive sharing in order to gain more lives. That’s a practice that many want to see stamped out though, and even Apple are starting to recognize that people have had quite enough. Stopping these forms of games will be a welcome relief for many, but for others, we might find we’re literally taking away their lifeline, as they step into the somewhat dangerous territory of gaming addiction!