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Minutes well spent?

Day 312/365 - 8 Nov - FarmVille
Image by anshu_si via Flickr

Somehow I lucked into getting to write about online gaming and RPGs of every stripe for a very cool blog, also here on WordPress, called Geek Girl on the Street. I’ll be sending them some posts soon, but check it out now and bookmark it; they’ve got lots of cool bloggers and geeks besides me.

I tell you this by way of explaining my complicated relationship with online games. I love them, of course, but I’m conflicted about them.I have spent many a half-hour when I was supposed to be writing, reading, cleaning or doing something else productive entranced by FarmVille or Neopets. (Yes, I still have a Neopets account. Whatcha trying to say?)

The appeal of online RPGs, whether they’re Zynga‘s “one-click” games on Facebook or a complete online community like Neopets, is the endless ways to customize your gameplay, whatever your interests or style of gaming, and the ability to step out of your own life and into small, fictional concerns and challenges. It’s pure escapism: you can have 32 cents to your name in real life and be a multi-millionaire in online game currency. Probably most users of these games don’t even consider themselves gamers in the traditional computer or console sense.

The downside to these small addictive games is that you don’t have to sit down with your game controller and big-screen TV to play. Instead, you just keep a tab open on your Internet browser as you work, study or whatever else you do online. Seems like they fit into a busy schedule better, and to a certain extent that’s true. The trouble is, then it takes you twice as long to get the actual work done cause you get distracted by your imaginary cafe, pet or character.

So my solution to the online gaming problem is to be super selective in the ones I choose to play. I’ve let plenty of old accounts and games fall by the wayside as they became too much to handle or required too much time to advance — or just became boring, since I am intensely ADD when it comes to gaming, and I don’t like repetition in my entertainment. To get me to keep playing, an online game has to be captivating, constantly offering new content, and most of all, rewarding. After all, there’s always something else I could be doing — and probably should be doing.

I’ll be exploring different online RPGs for Geek Girl on the Street in the coming months, so if you’re interested in reading my opinion of specific games and sites, I can only refer you to their sparkly new pages. In the meantime, let me know what online games you love, or love to hate. I’m not (yet) an expert on everything out there, but I’m definitely open to suggestions.

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