As it probably happens with everybody, after playing FarmVille for quite some time, I decided to try another game by Zynga and see if they’re really good at making these games or FarmVille is just an exception. So I clicked on the Cafe World icon and started playing. The game, even though not addictive as Farmville, partially because cooking is not one of my biggest turn-ons, is still addictive and I’m sure I’ll keep playing it for quite a while now.
So, what makes Cafe World addictive, then? To me, it is the fact that in-game interaction with your friends is taken to a brand new level: not only that people from your friends list come and visit your cafe as in-game characters (even if the friend doesn’t play the game and even if he or she is not clicking any “visit” buttons!), but also you can hire your friends and let them work at your cafe. Now that’s what I call something nice!
Except for that, Cafe World (still in beta) is not that impressive. Unlike Farmville, progress through the levels seems to be faster but the number of unlockable goodies is actually much lower. There’s a small number of recipes that don’t seem to be properly balanced (therefore, it takes 24 hours to cook a grilled chicken and 1,000 people can eat from it!), but it’s a game and things like this had to be done in order to keep it working.
But one thing is clear: even though there are voices claiming that social networking websites are past their peak, it’s the social gaming that has to win and will certainly stay alive for a long while from now on. Because nothing compares with casual, quick gameplay sessions, together with your friends (be them virtual avatars with green tomahawks), while working – and nobody giving a damn about it, since they all know that you can’t spend more than five minutes playing at a time because, well… there’s not much to do.
Really, now that I’ve mentioned it, it’s quite strange how successful these games really are: you don’t have much to do, but you still love playing them day after day. Incredible, don’t you say?