Kat bemoans the loss of her free time and gaming credibility to a simple Facebook game.
This is just the leading edge of casual gaming. Social networks have brought high-score charts up to date by allowing you to compete with people you actually know. For every hardcore Left for Dead or Modern Warfare 2 player, there are a dozen casual gamers putting in the odd minute here and there at home or at work.
The games are usually simple – easy to pick up and play, but satisfying to master. Popcap and Zynga are the undisputed champions of casual gaming, but big names in traditional gaming are starting to take an interest. Sid Meyer’s Civilization is coming to Facebook with [a hre=”http://www.facebook.com/civworld” target=”_blank”]Civ World[/a], which is currently in closed alpha testing, while EA’s browser-based Lord of Ultima strategy game has limited Facebook functionality, allowing you to use the Facebook Connect feature to find your friends.
It’s obvious that browser gaming is a very fast-evolving platform, particularly where social networks are concerned. It also means that there are a lot more gamers out there than you’d expect. Without expense of buying dedicated hardware or the laddish connotations of traditional games advertising, these fast, simple and sometimes surprisingly deep time killers are making gamers out of everyone, from your mum to the technologically-challenged bloke at your office who still hasn’t quite got to grips with using subject headers in his emails.