Then, there are the obsessional, facebook games.
I toyed with some collection games but it wasn't until I entered "Farmtown" that my time really started draining away. There isn't much to farm town. Virtual plowing, sowing, and harvesting. Harvesting produces money which is needed to do all of the above actions. Plowing and sowing produce "experience points" that move you up the Farmtown hierarchy and unlock larger fields, fancier buildings and decorations, and prettier and more profitable (as well as more expensive) crops. I am thankful that there is not a mechanism that is measuring the time I have spent on Farmtown. I really need a 12-step program. Anyway - these are my Farmtown observations.
First, my motivations. It really has been about creating patterns of color on my farm quilt. Rice is planted in a pretty blue watery field - but it quickly grows into green and then gold. I like the way cotton has white puffballs for a couple of days of growth. Carrots make an interesting progression from green leaves to white flowers, to orange roots with lacy green foliage. Peppers are hot - red and yellow. If you want the good blue, you've got to hold out for blueberries at level 28.
Virtual farming is so much cleaner and cooler than reality gardening. I've yet to sweat. As a consequence, I have weeds filling in the bed I worked so hard to retrieve from its overgrown state only a few short months ago. And, my real plants disappoint me in ways my virtual crops and flowers never do. My palm has scale. My sweet peas are stunted with no intention of producing a bloom. My last surviving petunia bit the dust. Should I neglect my virtual flowers and they dry up... a little sprinkle brings them back to full bloom.
Then, there are the animals. While cute, they are pretty useless in Farmtown. You can sell them for a pittance, but the cows don't produce milk nor the chickens eggs. They will wander about, lie down, eat, "moo" (or quack or baa or meow or crow or..) But, I've frozen them all. If left to their own devices, both my virtual dogs and cats spend an inordinate amount of time SCRATCHING. Its bad enough that I have to face Zelda's itchiness each day - but why should I let my virtual pets rub in my veterinary inadequacy?
Kevin suggested I try this. He's getting a bit bored with my aquarium. It is in its second incarnation of planting and snail infestation without ever achieving "fish worthiness". I thought I had a plan - I was going to BUY some more neutral water to fill my tank - but then my pump had a coronary and while it still pumps, it does so with so much groaning that Kevin has threatened divorce. So, a virtual fish tank.
After planting plants (NO SNAILS!!) and stocking my tank with a few fish, I returned to find the tank walls covered with algae. (No problem. I have real experience with that.) And, my fish all floating upside down. Quickly, I saw the button "flush" and sent them on their way to the virtual sea... only moments later to note a "healing" button. Again, my veterinary skills are challenged by e-animals.
I spend most of my money buying plants to fill my tank. Not only because I think they are attractive, but also because they increase my fishes happiness. What I can't figure is why I would care that my fish are happy? More frustrating, it seems you can cram your tank FULL and the fish are never completely happy. What's with that? Fish - they only have a brain stem. They should be relatively easy to make happy! (Recently, Fishworld had a server problem, and lost most of my plants. Supposedly, they'll be back. FW gave me a whole passel of money to buy new, but I haven't had the heart. My fish are much less happy.)
I had to try this for the simple reason I was so amused by the comments my friend players were adding to the standard Mafia Wars Requests. I've only been "playing" for a couple of weeks. I have a bit more understanding of it now then I did initially. Still, I've recently started hemorrhaging money from my account. Friendless says I need to sell guns. Unfortunately, I'm still on a negative track after clearing out everything excepting what I need to use right now. Meanwhile, I keep getting beaten up. I am not feeling successful.
Bottom line. These games are going to stop. I need more Ann life. I have projects piling up. Nothing is getting finished. And, it will take 10,000 points to get to pineapples.