Indie developer Jon Blow, who hates being quoted, has been quoted as saying that social games like Farmville are evil and intentionally degrade the quality of a player’s life.
“There’s no other word for it except evil,” said the Braid creator. “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].
“I’m not trying to say ‘I know what’s best for players and they shouldn’t play these games’. It’s okay to play social games to an extent. Like it’s probably okay to smoke cigarettes to an extent, but what these designers do – and this is why I always go to it from the design standpoint — they very deliberately design the game to not give the player everything that they want, to string the player along and to invade the player’s free time away from the game.
“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’.”
Harsh words from Blow, but considering Zynga founder Mark Pincus actually has “Be evil” as his motto, perhaps he’s not wrong.