Games (and gamers?) on!

So my last post was all about excess.  But you know what is not excessive around here?  Blog posts.  *ahem*  Hoping to get back on track, y’all.  Don’t hate, procrastinate?  Whatever.

Anyway, what I really want to talk about is the Olympics!  Actually, not really.  Aren’t we all over-Olympicized by now?  Aren’t we?  We are.  I am.  I’m not going to say I’m totally over the Olympics or anything, but what I am over is those damned red mitts.  You know what I’m talking about.  Everyone has them.  We have, easily, 6 pairs in our house at any given time.  Are they all ours?  Probably not.  Actually, in one case for sure I know they are not.  But guess what – they are all the same!  You put your mitts down beside you on the bus, or in your classroom or wherever, and you know what happens?  Someone else looks at them and thinks “Aha, so there’s my mitts!”  But they’re not their mitts, they belong to the person who just put them down, but because the person who just claimed them probably lost their OWN pair to someone else in a similar situation…well, you get the picture.

The Zellers near me had a shipment of these cursed mitts about a month ago – 15,000 pairs delivered to the store.  As of last week, according to the newspaper (and yes, I realize the flagrant stupidity of having a newspaper report on numbers of mittens) they have only 7,000 pairs left.  So they have sold 8,000 pairs of Olympic mittens.  EIGHT THOUSAND.  And you know what I bet?  None of those mitts are with their rightful owners as of this moment.  Think of that next time you put yours on and think about who might have wiped their nose on the backs of them.  I knew those mitts would be trouble the first time I saw them.  The hats too, when you think about it.

Now from one set of games to another!  Classy segue, ftw!  I saw this excellent headline on Salon’s Broadsheet yesterday:  “The average social gamer?  Your mom”  Sweet, gaming mothers, represent!  The line underneath reads:  “The typical online player isn’t a teen boy, but rather a 43-year-old woman”  Holy crap, even better!  Because, you know, I’m 43, and while not exactly a gamer (although I do rock some pretty excellent Wii boxing and swordfighting) I thought it was pretty rad that some of my peers are taking the gaming world by storm – go gaming ladies!  Until I read the details of the Salon piece, and subsequently checked out the survey from GIGAOM.  And you know what sorts of games we’re talking about here?  Not World of Warcraft or Halo, people.  We are talking about Farmville and Happy Aquarium.

Now, if you are one of those people who like to indulge in some Facebook apps such as Farmville and Mafia Wars, you might want to stop reading.  Because shit like that clutters up my Facebook page all the time, and I have hidden every single one of my friends who virtually harvest virtual eggplant or virtually add virtual fish to their virtual aquariums.  Because I do not care.  At all.  Virtually or otherwise.

You know, my kids belong to a kid social networking site called Club Penguin.  It rocks in so many ways, and while they’re both not as into it as they used to be, it was kind of a cool kid-friendly introduction to social networking.  A safe space where they could play games and trick out their igloos, earn coins to buy their penguin clothes and stuff, and chat with other penguins.  And they could also keep pets called Puffles.  Once you have a Puffle, you need to take care of it – making sure it’s fed, has enough rest and exercise, etc.  If you don’t, the Puffles will go back to the wild, something that has upset both boys on a couple of occasions.  But you know, they are 12 and 9, so there’s that.  Also, and this is a big one:  they are starting to outgrow this site.  So if a 12- and 9-year old boy are kind of done with feeding and playing with virtual pets WHY ARE 43-YEAR OLD WOMEN DOING IT??  I don’t have any answers for this.  I even read in Urban Farm magazine (which is totally excellent and you should check it out if you’re into gardening, etc. in an urban setting) this brief article  talking abou how there are 65 million people registered in Farmville via Facebook.  65 million people are tending virtual crops?  Well, the article goes on to say only about a third of them are really active – a third, so approximately 20 million.  Oh, well then.  Seriously, what the hell?

I like Facebook.  I connect with people, all of which I know in real life.  I am a fan of several bands, a couple of organizations, a museum or two, and Perry the Platypus.  I guess I just don’t see the appeal for  the whole game thing or the interest in Facebook farming.  I’m not going to say that I don’t have time for it, or that I have better things to do because hey I blog, don’t I?   So I don’t see the appeal, but it’s obviously there, given the survey and the results.  Clearly this is a target market, and I totally expect we will see more stuff like this aimed at women my age. 

Virtual gods help us all.

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