If one more of my Facebook friends invites me to play that inane “farm” game, I think I’m going to hit them with a virtual shovel. No, make that a real one.
Anyone who has spent time on the Internet’s most popular social media site will likely know what I’m talking about, and has probably had to reject just as many invitations to the many Facebook games their friends play.
When I first signed up for Facebook and started collecting old friends and stalking ex-girlfriends, it was some vampire or werewolf game that everyone seemingly wanted me to play. Back then, Facebook games were largely low-res, 2D affairs or stat-based games with no animation whatsoever. As someone who identified himself as a “hardcore gamer” at the time (read: no kids), I could only offer a sneer, eye rolling and that “tsk” sound you make when confronted with an idea so ridiculous it’s almost insulting to the intelligence… like most conspiracy theories, or the Conservative Party.
I played games that required a souped-up computer and expensive graphics card, or console machine like a PS3 designed just to deliver a cutting-edge gaming experience. I took part in realistic warfare, watched rain splashing down on perfectly rendered landscapes and battled dragons in all their fiery and fierce majesty. They wanted me to raise little tiny, badly animated cows and bake pies, or something.
Cue the eye rolling.
You just can’t play real, good games in an Internet browser. Everyone knows that, right?
Well, actually, it seems that yes… yes, you can.
Facebook has really expanded its catalogue of games, thanks to new browser technology and developers who realized that next-level gaming could be a big draw to Facebook users.
So far, I’ve played a Dungeons and Dragons game that’s not too bad, and there’s also a The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle Earth title that offers lots of fun for Tolkien fans. But true gamers are looking for first-person-shooters (FPS) like Halo and Call of Duty, and Facebook now offers some pretty good examples of that genre as well. With games like Critical Strike, Combat Extreme and the recently launched Offensive Combat, Facebook users can blast their friends as well as strangers to smithereens anywhere and anytime via their web browser, with no need for an expensive rig or graphics card upgrade. You’ll also find space shooters, castle siege games, as well as the more casual Tetris, Bejeweled and similar games right in Facebook’s app centre.
Best of all, most of these games are absolutely free to play, with only some microtransactions thrown in for minor or cosmetic items.
Hey, it’s a fine way to discover the joys of gaming, and the price is right.
And if you happen to find any really great titles, let me know… just don’t invite me to play any farm games. I’ve got a virtual shovel and am not afraid to use it.