Do you get bored when working at the computer or do you fill all your time with a million different activities? If you get bored often, you may want to consider an “idle time game”. What constitutes an idle time game and what are the top idle time games on Facebook?
An idle time game is what it says. It’s a game you play in your idle time. The beauty of idle time games is that they are designed to provide you with some down time away from the game too. Certain components require specific time frames to complete with no interaction from you, thus leaving you time to go back to doing other stuff.
When you have a break from email, work, and checking out all the other MakeUseOf tips, programs and websites, log in to Facebook, click “Applications“, and check out the top five most popular idle time Facebook games.
On top of the list is FarmVille, by Zynga, with nearly 60 million “active monthly users”.
A similar game by Slashkey, called Farm Town, ranks fifth, with nearly 18 million users.
These two top Facebook games are very similar, allowing me to kill two digitally rendered, unreal virtual birds with one stone.
Both games provide a chunk of cyberspace upon which to grow “crops”. You’re a farmer (customizable avatar) with a small farm and a few coins to buy seeds with. You plant crops, which have varying times to maturity, and wait for them to grow. Later, you come back and harvest them to earn coins. You then plow the land to prepare for more crops. Harvesting and plowing earn you experience points which help you “level up”.
Barns, pathways, water features, and fences are just a sample of the items available for purchase with your earnings to personalize your farm. As you progress in levels the items you can buy get more enticing and more profitable seeds are available. You can also increase your farm’s size.
There are a few differences in the two games which may determine which you prefer. Take both for a test drive and decide for yourself. You might get addicted to both, like me. Farm Town allows you to earn coins and experience by helping other farmers who aren’t your neighbors and includes chat features. Both games have animals you can purchase, but only FarmVille allows the animals to be “harvested”. Cows give milk, sheep give wool, and so on.
Mafia Wars, another Zynga game, boasts 26 million users. If you’re in the mood for stealing, robbing, or icing someone in cyberspace this may be your game. It’s a dashboard-only game, meaning you do not have an avatar or a character to move around. If you want to do a job, you click a button, and the results are displayed. Many other idle time games are designed this way, and as someone used to Grand Theft Auto action, I personally don’t enjoy this type of game.
You earn money for doing jobs which include robbing a pimp, collecting on a loan, and other mafioso tasks. You recruit friends to be part of your mafia, and you can fight other people’s mafias. Websites outside of Mafia Wars have popped up where you recruit people other than your friends to be in your Mafia. The more members you have, the more successful you are. You can purchase items, and you level up by building experience with jobs and fights.
Energy, stamina, and health are important, as jobs require varying levels of these traits to perform. This is where the game invokes idle time. Once your resources are depleted, a clock is displayed and you have to wait it out until they begin being refilled.
Pet Society by Playfish is a cute game that seems to be designed for the younger crowd, yet it claims fourth place with 19 million users. This game allows you to have a customizable pet that interacts with the environment. The pet has a home and a community to explore. The community includes a home improvement center, a cafe, and a grocery store, among others. You can decorate your home, play with your pet, and feed your pet.
This game has a mini-Sims like feel as it has three status bars you try to keep maxed out to ensure your pet is healthy, happy and clean. The feel is cartoon-like, but it’s is a relatively simple and safe game for children if you allow them to use the computer during your idle time.
Similar to Pet Society, YoVille is an interactive community with people-based avatars, but this game includes chat features. You work at a “job” to earn coins. You can only work so often and at specific intervals, thus the idle time feature. Your character is given an apartment to live in and you recruit your Facebook friends to be your neighbors and coworkers.
All of these games share common traits. You earn coins and experience to purchase cooler items and to level up. They encourage your friends to play as well, as some features can’t be unlocked unless you have a certain number of neighbors, co-workers or mafia members.
Each has a gifting feature where you can choose a gift to send to your friends or neighbors. The gifts are items they could eventually buy within the games, but they may not be at the level where the gift is unlocked. If you just don’t want to wait on a harvest or a job, you can use real money to purchase game money. However, all games are free to play.
Most of the games are beta, so you may have some connection issue or other issues from time to time. The biggest drawback to these games is their addictive nature, turning them from “idle time” to “all the time”.
Which Facebook game takes up all your time? Let us know all about it in the comments.