We’ve all seen them before, between the thumbnails offering an explanation why ‘millions of people’ are cancelling their Netflix accounts and the promise of a fruit that ‘scientists claim’ can reverse ageing. One is maybe at the bottom of the page you’re reading. The image might depict a Deku-esque sentient tree looming over a brave warrior captioned with ‘If you own a computer you must try this game!’, or a voluptuous elf with the label ‘95% of Players LOSE CONTROL When They Play This game’, as if it’s so raunchy that you’ll be manically tearing your pants off within seconds of starting to play.
These are games with advertising so desperate that it’d be easy to assume no one with a sliver of taste plays them. It’d be easy to assume that we’ve moved beyond the days of late noughties empire-builder/clicker hit Evony, when women with no connection to the game invited players to “Join the Fun”. It’d be easy, if these games didn’t have enormous audiences and generate huge amounts of revenue.
To learn more, I clicked the faux-Deku tree, jumped into the games and spent some time getting to know the people who play them. Read the rest of this entry »