Sunday, June 7, 2009

My Wife Plays Facebook

I think I finally get it. Facebook isn't a website, it's an RLMMO with horrible framerates. The graphics engine is so bad, in fact, that you manually have to press the 'display new frame' button yourself (default keybinding: F5). I'm horrible at these games, and generally tend to log in to find myself surrounded by strange quest givers asking me to pinch or wink or do something strange to a bunch of other people on some ingame friends list I've never heard of, then I get frustrated and log off. My wife plays Facebook all the time, though, and doesn't understand why I don't join her online in her digital pasttime of choice more often. I just really don't see the 'fun' buried among all the crap.

Now let's take a hypothetical step back: My husband plays some dungeons and dragons game called World of Warcraft with a bunch of people he's never met face to face. Looking over his shoulder, it looks so horribly complicated that I can't imagine how he derives any sort of pleasure from such a 'game'. He even has a separate, extra little keyboard he needs to use to play it. Two keyboards? For a game?! On top of that, the people I hear on the speakers are always shouting or cursing at each other, and my husband is usually frustrated after he logs off, because something didn't go well, or some person was angry about something or other. How is this a 'fun' activity at all?

I mean, right?

Different strokes for different folks, but in many ways, Facebook and WoW are two slices from the same pie: online entertainment. The internet is so... weird... when you think too hard about it. It has so many different sides and angles to view it from. Of course each person is going to approach it from a different direction, and take what they want from it. Your grandma may use it exclusively for apple pie recipes. She has an apple pie forum she moderates, and in her own little corner of the internet, she's a superhero. Some people have no idea whatsoever how a web browser even works. I saw my sister in law trying to register some new virus software she bought as part of the install process, and she'd hover the mouse over a link and hit enter on the keyboard. Twice. Like she was double clicking it; never mind that links only require one (mouse) click.

When we roll our eyes at Twitter, or turn our noses up at Facebook and it's ilk, it's healthy to take a step back and realize that we're Twittering ourselves every time we link a drop in guildchat for the guildies not in the raid. Is a friends list or guild roster any different than belonging to a 'knitting' group on a social site?

The first thing I did when I logged onto Facebook for the first time was delete everything I saw. This comic nailed it on the head so perfectly it was a little eerie:

My wife is just used to all that extra stuff, but then I look at my UI for WoW. Is Grid any different than SuperWall? MonkeyQuest tracks my quests, I'm sure my wife has some notification system for who's logged in and what they posted. I imagine the best way to get my wife to play WoW with me (not going to happen, but hey) would require starting with the vanilla UI, just like I did for the first time.

When the kid goes to sleep, and we're catching up online, it's easy to forget we're both essentially playing our separate little games, it's just that hers has god awful graphics, no epic drops, and although I've played her little game, and have an account there, SHE'S NEVER PLAYED A SINGLE SECOND OF WORLD OF WARCRAFT AND IT BURNS MY SOUL TO KNOW I'VE TRIED REACHING OUT TO HER IN HER DUMB LITTLE GAME AND SHE NEVER WANTS TO PLAY MINE. GOD! I THOUGHT RELATIONSHIPS WERE ABOUT SHARING. FUCK THIS I'M OUTTA HERE.


Kyir said...

I burst out laughing at the last line.

People are staring at me now.

Mordiceius said...

My girlfriend plays WoW, LotRO, Runes of Magic and Guild Wars with me.

Neener neener neener.

Anonymous said...

I laughed too. Facebook seems to be full of people I know who are spamming me with stupid game shit and pointless group invites that they must KNOW I'm not interested in and no one with a brain would be interested in.

And these are people I know. What's their excuse? It's not like they're total randoms, so why do they behave like total randoms when they are on facebook.

Ugh. Urge to kill rising. Note: I don't mind the group invites to things I possibly might be interested in. Just people seem to want to invite their whole friends lists to absolutely freaking everything totally indiscriminately.

And no I don't want the stupid furry handcuff game as you would have guessed if you had stopped for even half a second to think 'does this sound like the sort of thing Spinks might be interested in?'

Anonymous said...

And no I don't want the stupid furry handcuff game as you would have guessed if you had stopped for even half a second to think 'does this sound like the sort of thing Spinks might be interested in?'

Wait...what? Where do I get a Facebook account?

Lantana said...

Okay, I'm *completely* going to be using this analogy whenever someone looks at me all weird because I play WoW. Sheer genius. My students are self-confessed FB junkies, but claim without hesitation that playing online video games is just “throwing your life away” and that they “totally can’t understand why anyone would waste so much time on just a game.” My thought is, well at least people don’t post drunken pictures of my on WoW that my potential employers can Google…

Anonymous said...

You can bet a number of your students do play World of Warcraft. However, in a classroom setting, it is much more stylish to denounce WoW in front of your peers than to embrace it.

I've seen this in college classes -- people who have a long history of playing will (loudly) insult anyone who still does play. This happens even if they've been "retired" from the game for one to two days.

Tragedyx said...

I used to play WoW 80+ hours a week. Now I use Facebook 10 or less minutes a day. Good trade-off, IMO.

Facebook just lets me know that out of my graduation class, despite the fact that I am JUST NOW landing my near dream job, not a single peer of mine has even come close. Most had kids, have dead end jobs, and are going nowhere. I felt bad for wasting alot of time on video games, but considering everyone else was doing cocaine and fucking one another like rabbits on ecstasy, I don't feel so bad at all.

BTW, Fallout 3 is super awesome and I don't know how you haven't dropped some serious time into it.

Saritor said...

Hey Ixo,

I have been reading your blog for a little while now. (Nice stuff by the by)

This post hits home with me quite a bit as I have a wife who feels the same exact way about my time spent playing video games. We eventually bought a Wii after borrowing a friends because she actually enjoyed playing Wii Sports and has also fallen in love with her Wii Fit. But for the most part she still doesn't understand how other video games can be fun at all. Puzzle games, FPSs, RPGs, etc. are all beyond her scope of caring. Thankfully though she doesn't play Facebook.

P.S. - I hate all of you with spouses/significant others who play video games with you.

Unknown said...

I am in the same boat, I play WOW, my wife loves facebook. I started a facebook account after much urging and I can see the benefits and ease of staying in contact with other people but I don't like a lot of the request either. Two things are different for me though.

I have truely enjoyed the pirate game on facebook and my wife refuses to play wow because she knows she would spend more time in the game then she would be happy with. I can understand that at least.

Hatch said...

My girlfriend is my co-raid-leader. :)

The answer is: social people.

Facebook is OK because it's real people from your real life. Wii Fit is OK because your "supposed" to be getting fit. They forward social goals. WoW is NOT OK socially because it doesn't forward social goals.

Do you all just not remember high school? Remember how most of the kids could give a crap about how well they did at classes, they were at school to socialize? Bam, question answered. They are wasting their lives on facebook making fun of your gaming habit while you are accomplishing more in your RL than them. Because while social skills help immensely, you just plain can't get a decent job if you considered school as solely a place to socialize.

But Trag, there's certainly time for fucking one another like rabbits on ecstasy, even if you do play video games the rest of the time. I'm sorry you missed out.

Godstorm said...

My Ex got me into facebook because she wanted to tag me in photos. it has since consumed me and i've deleted it many times to go back and reinstate my facebook. I think I'm on three times. which is my current count for going back to wow.

facebook has a place but by god i wish it had less lame aps and more epic drops.

Spitt said...

I play WoW. WoW is my business... well MMO's are my business, but mostly WoW. I own a few guide/exploit sites. I own a gold/leveling/account selling site. Just because we play games, doesn't mean we don't make money.

My wife used to play WoW with me, but slowly the time she had to play with me, got down to 1x a month for a couple hours. Not really enough to pay $15 a month for. Now, she takes care of her mom, her neices and nephews, our grandaughter... and tbh I would rather that she did all that then being stuck on the games. Now she does the myspace thing, an hour a day. It's better for everyone she doesn't play.

Anonymous said...

I actually joined my husband on WoW and play more than him. It has been a year and I love it and have many alts on several servers. Our guild started with rl friends so it is a great alternative to a more traditional game night especially for our friends who have moved out of state.

We are both anti-facebook, my space and twitter.