Tag Archives: Pet Society

The Sims Social and simulating social spamming

As I’m wont to do, I’ve drifted away from many of the silly Facebook games I was into months ago, such as CityVille and Pet Society and even–gasp!Chocobo’s Crystal Tower. In my mind, you can only click on things for so long, and I’ve never been into the social elements of social gaming, always feeling like I’m pestering my friends or spamming their newsfeeds. Which is odd then because I played a little bit of The Sims Social last night…and actually liked it. Guess others like it too since there’s over 10,000,000 monthly active players at the moment; Leigh Alexander probably not included in that count.

I’ve always enjoyed the gameplay of The Sims, taking the mundane tasks of daily life and turning them into something a wee bit more rewarding. Having a job, peeing, calling friends over for some TV and pizza…it’s all fun, and generally one wouldn’t think so. I mean, the social elements in games like Grand Theft Auto IV drove me absolutely batty, but that’s because the developers were trying to juggle too much at once. Here, it works…up until you accidentally set your Sim on fire or lose on your money in a bad spout of furniture purchasing. Which happens a lot for me. That’s been the biggest stresser and deterrent for me for The Sims franchise, the fact that you can work so hard making your house rock, your job awesome, and your circle of friends top-notch, and then can lose it all in a small kitchen fire.

Well, with The Sims Social, that fear is gone…seemingly. From what I can tell, your Sim can’t die. It can get unhappy and down and low on key meters like social, fun, and hygiene, but that’s okay. Just click around and visit some neighbors, and you’re back to sparkling goodness. And all the other elements of the The Sims is there, such as multiple tasks, traits, house construction, customization, and whatnot. Granted, everything is limited by a select amount of energy points used for actions, but it’s not too big of a hassle all in all. So far, spamming has been slight, and I’ve added my wife as a neighbor, but nobody else in my Facebook universe seems to be playing. No big deal. Like I said before, I’m not here for the social part of the browser-based game’s title. I’m here to click around and wear digital version of clothes I am wearing now and try to reconstruct my house into places I’ve actually lived in before, and I probably will for a little bit and then lose interest. Don’t be sad, Facebook. That’s just the way these things go. Here, have 1,000 simoleons!

New friend request from Chocobo’s Crystal Tower

Many Facebook games pass me by day in, day out. I prefer it that way. I think the website did something recently to hide the thousand and one status updates pertaining to Farmville cows and one’s desperate plea for wood (::snerk::), which I’m eternally grateful for because you can only see so many of those before you begin to worry, not only about your sanity, but that of your friend’s. And when I did play a few Facebook games, such as Farmville and Pet Society, rarely did I ever choose to tell my friends about my latest in-game accomplishments. It’s not my style. I mean, I don’t do it with Fallout: New Vegas, rushing over to my laptop to alert everyone online that I completed the High Times quest and they should “like” this. No one cares.

And so it takes something special to get me into a Facebook game these days. Most are often click-spammers, lacking depth and forcing social interaction left and right. Thus, I was shocked to learn that Square Enix released two games for Facebook this week, both related to their Final Fantasy series: Knights of the Crystals and Chocobo’s Crystal Tower. I did not glance too long at the former title as it is very much a Mafia Wars sort of game, but the latter hooked me with its chocobo raising and RPGness.

I mean, the most fun I actually had in Final Fantasy VII was raising, breeding, and racing chocobos to obtain that ultimate summon spell hidden on a tiny island that only a special chocobo could get to. Took many long hours, as well as a strategy guide, but I did finally get it. And I ended up growing pretty attached to my giant magical birds, too.

So, in Chocobo’s Crystal Tower, which is currently in beta status, you raise chocobos on a ranch. You feed them, brush them, adorn them with adorable outfits, and, when they are old enough, send them off to a local tower to battle enemies, collect treasure, and gain experience. You can also breed your chocobo with other players’ birds. Everything takes time, which is fine, and you can spend your earned gil on decorations for your ranch, food, or special outfit items. The game also supports Achievements. It’s simple fun, with a cutesy art style and classic soundtrack; it’s biggest selling point is, naturally, hearing that instantly recognizable kweh! from your chocobo. Warms my heart every single time.

The game does a decent job of explaining most of its important parts to the player during the tutorial, but it’s a bit slow going, especially since none of my friends are playing it with me, and there’s some horrible load times as you switch between menus. I even got locked up on a loading screen and had to refresh out. Also, my current chocobo star Tiktok recently came back from a dungeon missing all of his gear (French hat, shirt, rubber boats), and I have no idea what happened or how to find out. Love throwing gil down the drain. We’ll see how long this one keeps me hooked…

Here’s the link to the game’s main page if you’re interested in giving it a shot.

BONUS QUESTION: How do you pronounce chocobo? Is it cho-co-bow or choc-oboe? Tara and I say it differently.