Posted tagged ‘games’

It’s all about the game

April 24, 2012

How about LocalgovVille?

In this WLLG bloggers life, regular battles take place with the other half for attention. It’s not that their partner is uninterested, selfish or unwilling to spend time with them; no, the problem lies in the form of one behemoth of a time-sucking entity; FarmVille.

For the uninitiated, Zynga’s Facebook-based game involves the user building and maintaining a virtual farm with crops and livestock which they plant, tend and then harvest to earn in-game credits, which allow them to improve and expand their farm as they see fit. The difference between this and more traditional games lies in the fact that these crops grow in their own version of ‘realtime’; whether the user is logged on or not, the plants keep growing until they are ready to harvest, then die off and wasting the time and virtual money used to get them ready for harvest.

This has resulted in elements of our lives literally being booked around the harvest schedule; dinner gets done early as the corn is ready to reap, the children’s baths are delayed whilst the cows are milked and evenings out with friends are postponed as some special event or other comes up.

Were this a regular game I suspect it would soon have worn off its charm and the demands it placed on our lives would have stopped them from enjoying it as they do. However, this game has introduced the element of competition and score keeping, which drives them on. They compare their scores with friends and family, swap comments and advice with aquaintences and provide and receive gifts on a seemingly constant basis. This social aspect has thoroughly drawn them in, and contributed to the developers of FarmVille being valued recently at $7.8bn (and yes, that’s billion).

Besides the inconvenience, this has got me thinking about gamification and it’s rise in the virtual world. The advent of social networks has revolutionised the gaming world, as have the introduction of smart phones with internet and GPS access. All of a sudden the world really is our playground; perhaps our local areas and local government should sign up in some way? (more…)

I feel the need for, well, something or other

January 13, 2011

"You can write my budget report any time..."

I sometimes find it hard to get started in the first week or so of January.  After a week or two of festivities, time spent indoors with friends and family and after playing with lots of new toys, for some reason commuting into the office and sitting behind a desk for seven hours doesn’t really float my boat.

I’m not alone in this apparently, as most of my colleagues are feeling the same.  There is work to do, but none of it feels particularly important (even if in fact it is).  I’m being distracted by interesting conversations (many of which I instigate) and even found myself spending almost an hour exploring (which is an excellent new ‘next-big-thing’ by the way).

I’m wondering how much of this though is really due to the return to work and how much is just endemic in the local government system right now.

I enjoy my job, really I do.  I know it might seem to be a non-job sometimes, but I get to engage with local people and really make them not only have a voice but feel as if they have a voice, which is a pretty big distinction.  I’m not saying that if I won a few million quid I would still turn up for work the next day, but equally I’m not stuck in a rut or drinking myself into oblivion whilst asking whatever poor sap is unlucky enough to find themselves near me what I am doing with my life. (more…)