For those that have not crossed the threshold to play any of the games on Facebook there seems no point to the games. However, for those that start they often end up playing too much. Well, there are many reasons, and they very by the person that plays and the game as well as how they play the game.
In Zynga’s Farmville players plow, plant and harvest fields of crops. There are livestock, trees and bees to tend to as well. Non-farmers often wonder just why others feel the need to tend to an imaginary farm, to do what is tantamount to virtual chores. For me it is something that is simply mindless. It is soothing, rhythmic, and logically patterned. As a mother of toddlers and an employee in the public sector there is little else that fits that description in my daily life. Therefore, I greatly enjoy my stolen moments and my nightly farming to sooth my frazzled mind. I know others that enjoy seeing if they can stay ahead of their friends in level and new features. There is camaraderie and friendly competition among players that is more soothing than you might find in the other games.
People can spend real money to gain Farm Cash, which enables players to acquire special items for their farm that other players cannot get. I have never spent a dime on any Facebook game, and can understand the concern for those that spend large amounts of money in the virtual world. However, if people have the disposable income to spend in the virtual world then I have no reason to complain about their choices. There are similar games available through Facebook as well, such as Country Life, Farm Town, Paradise Island and Frontier Town. In the same kind of caretaker of a small portion of the world, there is also Yoville, Café World and certainly some I must be forgetting. I have given most of these a chance, but have stuck with and spent the most time on Farmville.
There are also mission and fighting based games which seem to call to a slightly more competitive and social seeking group of players. There are Mafia Wars, Mob Wars, Vampire Wars Dragon Wars, Pirates and many more. These allow players to do missions and fight other players to gain levels, game money and property. These games place high importance of having as many people as possible in your clan, mob, whatever they call a group from that game. This has spawned Facebook groups and pages dedicated to gaining game friends and helping each other in the games. This in turn has allowed people to form friendships and communities, which are often as much of a draw to players as the actual game. The sense of belonging to something large, and being a valued member of the group, is a big draw to just about everyone. Helping each other in the game and knowing that someone will support and help you in turn is nice. Most of these groups support each other through Facebook about personal issues not just game issues. I actually know of a few people that have met through Facebook game groups that have dated, some of which ended up married to each other, after a period of time.
All of the games that I have seen offer some level of incentive to spend real money to get special items in the game. Although I will say that a few of the games, like Farmville and Island Paradise, have offered opportunities to have the money they can put into the game go to charity in special offers and promotions. Personally, I admit to farming, and being a part of a mafia and vampire clan. It might sound silly but I used to play even more. With increased work and decreasing free time, I have to work a little harder and schedule my time a little better to get my game time in at the end of the day, but that just makes me enjoy it more. I consider myself a casual player and those are the reasons why I, and many others, play.