That’s a refrain I think we’ve all heard about an MMO, or maybe the whole MMO genre, at least once before. Obviously, you could question the validity of an MMO being like a second job, but I have a bit of a confession to make: I love games that are like a second job.
Take for example something like the Football Manger series of games. In those titles, you are literally pretending to be the manager of a soccer team. OK I grant you, that’s a bit of an outlandish sort of job for an ordinary chap like me. How about Farming Simulator then? Or something like Harvest Moon? I’m even supremely tempted to buy Viscera Cleanup Detail. Even games like Papers Please, Limbs Repair Station, and Cartlife scratch a certain itch other titles can.
I’m not sure what it is about these sort of games draws me to them. Perhaps there’s something to be said for drone-like activity after a long day at work. Learning and repeating patterns, solving small problems. Simple games that require little thought on your part in order to feel that you’re gradually progressing towards some greater goal. These sort of titles are excellent for putting on a podcast in the background and just zoning out. Come to think of it, that doesn’t sound that different from at least some MMO gameplay. I think questing in themepark games can have that quality too sometimes.
So, while I get the point people are trying to make with those sorts of statements, I don’t think there’s anything universally bad about ‘busywork’ gameplay, if you’re in the right mood for it. Just as long as that’s not all we get to play.