Facebook games. Totally lame, right? It is. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not addicted to this one.
My job involves scouring Facebook for applications to
rip off be inspired by, so while scrolling through my newsfeed I realized that my colleagues kept investigating gruesome crime scenes on this thing called Criminal Case. Here’s a screenshot of the main interface:
It’s not as complex as it looks. Basically a hidden object game, you’re investigating various crime scenes, finding key clues that turn into evidence, and then arresting suspects based on that. It’s really very simple.
Some of the case storylines are pretty gruesome (corpses cut open and hung up on hooks, anyone?), but I’m pretty sure that anything we watch on the FX channel will beat the gore nausea hands down. The stories are predictable, the gameplay extremely casual, and there’s even a crazy limitation as to how many times you can actually play. Why is it so addictive then?! WHY ARE YOU FLOODING YOUR FACEBOOK TIMELINE WITH YOUR ORANGE JUICE LEVEL UPS, PERR?
It’s the mechanics, people. Those eeeeevil mechanics.
This is how Criminal Case works: To work on a crime scene of spotting hidden objects costs 20 energy. You have a bar of 110 to expend. That means you can play it about 5 times before you have to wait for it to slowly replenish at 1 energy per 3.5 minutes. (Isn’t it crazy that I’m doing math for this? Yee.) You can get more energy by consuming orange juice (+20), potato chips (+50) or a hamburger (+100), or by leveling up, which restores your bar completely. You can actually buy these items with real cash from your Paypal account, but I am a cheapskate. If you share your level up news to your feed, friends can claim a free juice from it, so it cleverly makes you want to invite your friends to continue down this spiral of life-eating, work-productivity-killing mayhem and then leech delicious citrusy OJ goodness from them.
Each case is assigned five stars that slowly fill up as you earn points from being a sleuthing pro. One star awards you the chance to examine evidence or interrogate a suspect, which is required for you to move forward in the case. Even after you solve cases you can go back and earn stars within that case setting because… They earn you energy-giving items. You can also investigate a scene with an FB friend playing the game too, and earn different cards each time you complete it. If you get a full set of cards, you get energy-giving items. Damn it, game!
This is what keeps me coming back like an opiate-head. It’s the energy collecting. As you ascend the ranks of experience you start unlocking bonus stages like spot the difference or tile-swapping puzzles. I find myself more obsessed with the stages that give you 70 seconds to click on everything. But I can’t play that without energy. Eneeeeergyyy. /foams at mouth
It’s like I’m the kid that you said, “No, you can’t play,” to. Of course I want to play. Especially if you tell me that I can’t keep playing it forever and ever and ever. Even if the dialogue is flat, if the baddie-catching is way too easy, and you are essentially spending three straight days staring at the same hidden object stage trying to earn those bloody stars to unlock the next piece of the puzzle.
Well and truly brainless, Criminal Case is my personal de-stress program. It’s one of those things you go into with real skepticism and then later think, “Why am I still playing this thing?” Yup, that’s the nature of a “good” Facebook game. It’s distracting me from everything. And I don’t like it at all. But if you get into it, add me. I want your juice.