Braid Creator On Social Games

It’s safe to say Braid creator Jonathon Blow is not a fan of Farmville, Cityville and any other ville’s that appear on Facebook. During an interview with PC Gamer he was asked ‘Do you think social games are “evil”?’  to which Blow replied,

Yes. Absolutely. 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 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”. You know, whatever.

Some kinds of games are very clearly made [to give something] – like Dwarf Fortress is definitely trying to give the players something and not exploit players. That’s very obvious to me in the way that it’s made. [Most of these social games are] the opposite of that. It’s trying to take the maximum amount while trying to give the minimum amount.

Strong opinions there from Mr. Blow. Coincidently when writing this yesterday I’d just got back from the pub after meeting Mr. Colossalblue and Mr. Liquiscent Shadow for a pint and Farmville came up in conversation – and the fact it was designed to be addictive was mentioned.


Enough of my lunchtime activities, for the last word it’s back to Jonathon Blow:

I’m choking on this croissant. It’s very dry.

Thanks for that, Jonathon!

Source: PC Gamer



  1. I never tried any social game. Mainly because I don’t have a facebook account.
    I have to admit I’m a big fan of browser games (even the text based ones), but when they’re too easy and straightforward, I usually delete my account within days.

  2. They are such vapid rinse and repeat formulas just designed to ensnare addictive personalities with zero coordination or capacity of thought.

    • Wow, couldn’t have worded that better myself. +1

      • Why thank you.

        It was my round about way of saying they suck.

        I have a friend who is harsh enough to delete anyone who sends him an invite to a FB game. I may take this policy myself.

  3. The only good thing I have to say about games like Farmville are that they keep the Mrs on the PC instead of my PlayStation3 :P

    • I love that fact too!

    • I always felt like most Facebook games were for casual gamers (owners of a Wii and nothing else) for when they’re on the PC instead.

      I too want to echo the sentiment about it keeping the “missus” away from the real gaming device *points to big TV and PS3*. A lovely distraction.

  4. It would appear the fact that I have never heard of these games would be a good thing.

    • Same! What’s farmville?
      Never been on a social website, never will. Would rather eat my foot that waste away my hours on a social network, talking to the friends I have just spent all day talking to.

  5. Ok, I don’t like Farmville and it’s ilk, but…
    Evil is such a strong word, don’t you think?

  6. *Childish chuckle* “Mr. Blow” hehehe.

  7. I’ve never really played them myself, but always thought of them as a means to introduce non gamers to gaming. On the other hand, Mr Blow has a very valid point…

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