Braid creator and indie darling Jonathan Blow has explained his labelling of social network games like Farmville and Ravenwood Fair as evil, citing selfishness and disarmingly innocent design as crimes against the player.
Blow told PC Gamer that social games are “about the game exploiting your friends list”.
“It’s about using your friends as resources to progress in the game, which is the opposite of actual sociality or friendship,” he continued, explaining his dislike of the genre’s appellation.
“There’s no other word for it except evil. Of course you can debate anything, but the general definition of evil in the real world, where there isn’t like the villain in the mountain fortress, is selfishness to the detriment of others or to the detriment of the world. And that’s exactly what [most of these games are].”
The designer commented that social games are built in a way that hides their people-as-resources attitude.
“The thing about these games though is they’re made to look really light and friendly or whatever. So it’s very difficult especially for someone to think about games and how their design affects the world – which is most people in the world, they don’t think about that, right?
“It’s very difficult for them to see how this could possibly be detrimental in any way. They’re just like, ‘Oh, I’m clicking on the items, I’m having fun’,” he said.