Jonathan Blow, developer of Braid, discusses his views on “social games”, i.e. Farmville and the like. He doesn’t much like them.
Designers know what they are doing. They know when they show up in the office - “My goal is to degrade the player’s quality of life”. They probably won’t think about that exact phrase. But [will think], “My goal is to get people to think about my game and to put more money into my game and get other friends to play my game to the exclusion of all other games and all other things that they might do with their free time.” That is the job description of those designers. And that’s evil. It’s not about giving people anything. It’s about taking from people.
His argument is, I believe, well considered and well reasoned. I think it applies to a ton of the crap that shows up on the iTunes Store’s top 50 list, wherein the games are little more than storefronts to the in-app purchases.
Blow also discusses his latest game, The Witness, and its adventure influences.