Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Empire of the Angry Birds

"Help your friends build their Empires. Send them a Mystery Gift" - Blurb from FaceBook's "Empires and Allies"

"Alert all commands. Calculate every possible destination along their last known trajectory." - Darth Vader, "The Empire Strikes Back"

I was sitting ... well reclining ... in the dentist's chair. Unable to speak.

Don't get me wrong. I like my dentist. He's a Larry David sorta guy. A New Yorker. A talker. And I was, a captive audience.

He was explaining how he'd become addicted to a FaceBook "game" - "Empires and Allies". "It's great," he said. "You get points and friends come in to help you - like a cooperative. It's kinda social. It isn't Farmville. That's not somewhere I'd go. This is interesting. What do YOU play?"

I hesitated. Was it the nitrous oxide kicking in, or the fact that my mouth was full of dental paraphernalia? Whatever. After a hundred years I answered.

"I like 'Angry Birds'. I am addicted to 'Angry Birds'." At least that's what I meant to say. What with the nitrous, the metal, the tubes etc, I was surprised that he understood.

Juliff, Texas - a non-virtual empire?
"Oh, Angry Birds, but that's played ALONE. 'Empire and Allies' is a GROUP effort." He went on to explain how people "related to each other" as they built or lost their empires. Oh yes, he liked another FaceBook game. Some poker thing where you all sat around a virtual cyber imaginary table and played poker. You could even buy a buddy a virtual beer.

I was "virtually" impressed.

Back home I decided to take a look at "Empires and Allies". After all, I'd been disbelieving when a friend had told me about Angry Birds, and now I am an addict. Moreover, I liked the name "Empires and Allies" and imagined it'd be something like the old board-game "Diplomacy" where there was a battle of the wits, and duplicity reigned supreme.

So I did a FaceBook search and found the thing. Yes, "thing". I joined. I even named my empire, after my brother - "Empire of the Aumbat." I was presented with a cartoon-like picture of a battlefield and intuitively clicked around and built a few things - schools, huts, artillery.

So far, so good. I waited.

Nothing happened.

Upon virtually surveying the virtual environment I realised I needed virtual allies. I brought up the "add allies" screen and proceeded to "invite" all of my friends who owed me a favor. I was starting to cringe, remembering all those Farmville requests I used to get annoyed by. "Annie needs a donkey to chew her grass. Can you help?"

God only knew what my "friends" were being asked! "Kate needs an ally to defeat the enemies of the Empire of the Aumbat". I cringed, but only virtually ...

Eventually, I succeeded, as is my wont, in suppressing the whole negative empire thing, and shut down the computer.

Still a bit of my "empire" lived on, and the next morning I checked it out. No one had replied. The Empire of the Aumbat still had a population of ONE.

Days passed. My Empire was in stagnation mode. A few emails surfaced - encouraging emails like, "Congratulations you have earned 5 cents, buy yourself a centurion" kinda thing.

I quaked in my stilettos. How was I to "buy" a centurion? Did the message mean "literally"? Would my credit card be charged?

Gingerly I re-entered my Empire. It was still there. A sad little affair of one hut, a tank and a few yeomen.


I needed cheering up.

This social life was not for me! So much for enlisting one's friends. Where were my allies when I needed them? Farming their Farmville farms, no doubt.

What was I to do?

And then the light-globe came on.



Some people are just not meant to be social!

No comments:

Post a Comment