所属:生活杂谈 阅读:2865 次 评论:0 条 [我要评论]  [+我要收藏]





I'm taking a break.
Right about now, I take a few minutes to harvest crops, put up several small businesses, collect rent, and hire Facebook friends to work at community halls. That's because last month, I joined the legions on CityVille, the city-building simulation game from Zynga that annoys Facebook users with News Feed updates like, "JP needs donuts to feed hungry cops!" or "JP needs bird seed to feed pigeons!!"
Confessing as much by way of is even more embarrassing than the time I came out as a feverish, freaky-deaky photo-shopping Facebook addict. While many readers at the time identified with the notion of wanting to be liked, telling someone you're a CityVille fan seems as dubious a distinction as announcing yourself a Britney Spears fan.
"If you ask me to join, I'll block you," my best friend mused. She said this with a smile, but I got the sense she wasn't joking. Reactions from some colleagues were similar, from blank stares to silent judgment, followed by something like, "Oh, good for you." (Translation: "freak.")
I don't blame them. As a hardcore traditional console gamer, I used to avoid casual gaming. Oh, sure, I wrote about it, and even respected it to an extent -- any kind of gaming that brings in new players is a good thing -- but I never really got it until my first chance encounter with CityVille a few weeks ago.
That's when I wrote a story about Yick Kai-Chan, the game's resident architect who spent over 12 years designing buildings in the real world but now designs all the virtual buildings in CityVille. To better understand Chan's achievements, it only made sense to give his work a spin -- of course, the problem is I never stopped.
Altogether, I spend at least an hour a day on my virtual city. When it first started, I went through fugue-like gaming sessions, seemingly struck by this inflated, screwed up sense of manifest destiny -- it was my god-given right to build the largest self-sustaining virtual community possible one corn crop at a time!
And not long after, dissatisfied with the relatively slow progress enabled by the game's free mode, I broke another self-imposed cardinal rule and bought $5 worth of virtual goods to speed things up. Granted, it wasn't much, but that's like a lapsed drug addict saying he only had one gram of narcotics as opposed to five.
Sad, sad, sad.
这实在太令人难为情了,因为我曾经发过誓,这一天永远不会到来。我从小就是传统单机游戏的忠实玩家,从1989年的第一款Game Boy掌机开始,美国境内销售过的所有游戏机我几乎都有收藏。我曾花费数千小时的时间,一遍又一遍地打Boss、过任务、刷数据、找新功能,使我的技术变得更厉害——玩家们把这个过程叫做“磨刀”。
It's all sorts of embarrassing because I swore to myself this day would never come. Growing up a hardcore traditional gamer, I've owned almost every gaming console released stateside since the first Game Boy in 1989. I've logged thousands of hours doing what we gamers call "grinding," engaging in redundant gameplay mechanics like boss battles or driving on the same courses over and over to up our stats, unlock features, and make ourselves more competitive.
作为一个游戏的纯粹主义者,我原来最喜欢的就是由高性能的硬件创造出几乎无限个抗锯齿多边形(3D制图的建筑模快),以产生震撼的视觉效果,然后把有15个按钮的振动控制器连接到一块大平板屏幕上。不过,自从我成了“城市小镇”的玩家后,我一度热爱的Wii、Playstation 3和Xbox 360游戏都被打入了“冷宫”,在我的平板电视底下,落满了灰尘。
As a gaming purist, I wanted high performance hardware spitting out zillions of anti-aliased polygons (the building blocks of 3-D graphics) for impressive eye candy and vibrating controllers with 15 buttons all hooked up to a big flat screen. Yet, here I am a CityVille player while my once-beloved game consoles -- a Wii, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360 -- rest under my flat screen gathering dust.
不知不觉间,我的生活重心也已经发生了变化。我再也没有那么多的闲暇时光和耐心了。在我十几岁的时候,我可以花大把的时间玩最新款的游戏。另外归功于大学的长班教学(block scheduling)制度,上大学的时候,我在白天也有同样长的时间,用来玩《侠盗猎车手》(Grand Theft Auto)等游戏。
Without my knowing it, my priorities had changed. I don't have the same free time and patience. When I was a teen, I could devote chunks of time to playing the latest console release, and thanks to block scheduling in college, I had equally long stretches during the day to dedicate to games like Grand Theft Auto.
不过现在情况变了。并不是说我现在没有闲暇时间了,只是现在的闲暇时间没有以前那么多了。我想这就是为什么休闲游戏会大受欢迎,因为他既吸引了那些“非玩家”,也吸引了铁杆玩家。休闲游戏没有什么华丽的视觉效果,玩法也并不复杂。(任天堂Game Boy游戏机1998年的色彩效果大概就能带动《城市小镇》,而不会有什么问题。)
That's not the case anymore, which is not to say I don't have free time, I just don't have as much as I used to. And I think that's why casual gaming has taken off, both with people who don't call themselves "gamers" and hardened gaming vets. The genre doesn't offer gorgeous graphics or complex gameplay. (Far from it, actually. Nintendo's Game Boy Color circa 1998 could probably handle CityVille in some form without a problem.)
That's not really the point. Playing Grand Theft Auto might be fun for a thumb-callused gamer with ample free time, but for newbies or even just gamers with tight schedules like me, something like CityVille in all its simplicity lets users wade in at their leisure, no manual or tutorial required, for a few minutes, then walk away feeling like they made some serious headway. It's so much more accessible – oh, and it's free.
Is it graphically ambitious? Nah. Does it have innovative gameplay? What about being wholly original and innovative? Nope and nope. But they are incredibly simple and fun.
The approach is obviously working. CityVille broke all sorts of records to become the biggest online game ever with 92 million active monthly users, nearly half of the 200 million casual gamers around the world. And Zynga isn't hurting. The company reportedly makes over $1 million in sales a day and pulled in $600 million last year.
So when I tell people what I'm playing these days and I get judgmental looks, that's OK. Clearly, I'm not alone.
2011-03-31 08:57 编辑:kuaileyingyu