Dear Jason Tanz,
I enjoyed your article "
The Curse of Cow Clicker: How a Cheeky Satire Became a Videogame Hit"
, it gave me a new perspective of games in social networks, but i think that Ian Bogost is a hypocrite and that is not clearly emphasized.
Boggost made cow clicker, according to your article, sort of as a way of saying f-you, to companies such as Zynga Studio. He thought that farmville was all about clicking on cows.
Yes this game was an attempt to make players how stupid these social network games were, but Boggost did think twice when he was making money of people that took the game serious and enjoyed it.
I think that instead of being this critical badass that he poses to be, he had a real learning opportunity with his game. He had first hand access to analyze why people such as "Jamie Clark, a student and
military spouse living on Ellsworth Air Force Base outside of Box Elder, South
Dakota, says that she has made close friendships with her fellow clickers. “I
don’t meet a lot of people who discuss politics and religion and philosophy,
but these people do, and I like talking to them,” she says. 'I’d rather talk to
my Cow Clicker friends than to people I went to
school with for 12 years.'"
It is apparent to see that the way we socialize and make friends, even what we define as friends, has been evolving rapidly over the years, specially because of social networks, but also because of social gaming.
The article "From Tree House to Barracks: The Social Life of Guilds in World of Warcraft" by Dimitri Williams, further explores the idea of relationships built in WoW.
According to the article, people belong to guilds because they can accomplish more by being part of a group than by themselves. The guilds vary in size: small, medium, large, huge.
small guilds had the strongest social capital, they are family/friend based, and they build relationships with eachother that extend outside of WoW. In larger guilds there is hierarchy, leadership, rules, organization, but there are still friendships made.
"For many the game was simply another way to maintain existing relationships with family, coworkers, or friends. In this sense, WoW is like several other communication tools on the internet in that it is an extension of preexisting offline interactions."
Like Jamie Clark a player in WoW expressed the sentiment that he got closer to the people he played with. "I've become closer to some of my real-life friends thanks to WoW...'cause it gives you more to talk about and shared experiences and it's wierd but if you go the extra mile for a friend in game they respect you more in real life...plus they know if they piss me off in real life I won't heal them."
In the end, I think that Boggost should read Baym's book. "This book was written for those who see the technologies it discusses ...and take them for granted." Because instead of, again, taking this opportunity to learn about the evolving communications and relations, and even more important, how these social games take all of our information and money and use it as they wish, he, it appears to me, just made ridiculed people with his game and took their money.
he should have taught the people playing his game , what Baym stresses, that "We all need to be savy interpreters of the of the messages in popular media and interactions instead of taking them at face value...to think about technologies deterministically, asking what they do to us, and whether that is good or bad."