Thursday, 14 August 2014

Mobile Gaming Apps

Are we all addicted to online gaming?

I’ve been rather unlucky with my apps in the past couple of weeks.

Having played The Simpsons: Tapped Out somewhat religiously since September 2013, I was quite the fan of the game. But back in July the app deleted all of my progress and informed me I must start again, from the very beginning. If you don’t/haven’t played it you should know this; it is a highly addictive game where players are asked to rebuild Springfield after Homer causes a nuclear disaster (not a totally unrealistic plot). Regular updates kept the game fresh and exciting. And I played pretty much daily. Alas, since July my account no longer works.
It’s a common enough error in the app (it’s since happened to my sister and a host of others I've found online) but for all the time I spent on it over a 10 month period it is pretty infuriating.

The Kim Kardashian Hollywood Game has to be the biggest gaming app of the summer. Released in early July, the app allows users to become Hollywood A-listers, date other celebs, make nightclub appearances and participate in other banal celebrity activities. Even people who aren't Kardashian fans have found themselves downloading the app. Being out of work and pretty much bed bound with shingles in July, what I needed to pass the two weeks was a time consuming app that involved very little thinking.
The different paths your ‘career’ could go down depending on your in-game choices really appealed to me. Completing tasks was the first thing I did in the morning, and the last thing before I fell asleep for a full two weeks. It was gloriously addictive – exactly what the doctor ordered. 

That is, until the July 24th update took up the last ounce of space on my phone. In fact, I could no longer play the game as there wasn’t enough memory left to save my progress. (My most-hated aspect of the app was that you didn’t sign up for it or start an account; meaning that if you lost the app on your device, you could never return to your game) I tried deleting other apps to make room but to no avail. In the end I made the (somewhat) difficult decision to delete the Kim game, and all of my progress in the process. Except, that didn’t quite work either. Neither my phone, nor Google Play would let me. At the point I have tried to delete the app 7 times, but the icon is still there. So I thought ‘hey, maybe I’ll try to play it again then’. But of course I can’t do that either as the game ‘no longer exists’. Great.  So long Kim Kardashian Hollywood.

And now I can only reflect on all of the time I’ve wasted on both of these Apps (not to mention the others I tried in the past year too – Candy Crush, Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff etc.). Considering I played them both almost daily for as long as I had them I can only estimate that it was A LOT of hours. But what was the point? I have absolutely nothing to show for it.

Sure, I was an A-lister for a week (with a key to my boyfriend’s apartment might I add), but surely I could have (and should have?) spent my time doing something more productive.

So why do we give up so much of my time to mindless online games?

I no longer have any gaming apps on my android. It is my new mission not to get zapped into fake lives, or addictive measures to pass the time. And I think this is not only good for me in a ‘more time’ way, but also for my mental health. It has always been important for me to feel like I’ve achieved something with my spare time, and online gaming obviously wasn't helping that.

So, here it goes. To a life away from gaming apps. Or just to tweeting more...

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