Zynga’s Latest Game: Hidden Chronicles–an aperçu

Damn you, Zynga—damn you!

Just when i thought i’d gotten good with corralling my Words With Friends addiction habit—only playing my turn via iPod right before sleeping so as to not get sucked in throughout the day—you go ahead and release a game i’d actually play while logged into Facebook (which i’m already on for a godforsaken amount of time as is). Good thing this game isn’t for iOS devices—yet, since i’m sure it’s coming one day.

I haven’t logged into Mafia Wars, one of Zynga’s first suck-you-in-Facebook games, in at least a year, and i’ve shied away from all of their Ville titles, as well as putting a stopper on EA’s The Sims for Facebook. But now, you’ve gone and done it. I’m hooked. And i’ve only played for about 15 minutes (as i’m writing this; proof below).

Messy office desk showcasing fervor to write immediately about Zynga's latest addictive cash cow

Hidden Chronicles is pretty much one of those bar/pub touch screen games: you know, the ones with the half-naked debutantes or random PG-13 scenery, with hidden items (things that don’t quite belong, like a plunger or rubber ducky in a department store dressing room scene), that you have to click on before the time runs out. Well, now instead of a touch screen, it’s on an LCD monitor. There are clues to find certain items, too, as well as powered-up items and hidden joints. Oh, and it’s social, too. Not that you or i thought anything by Zynga wouldn’t be.

It’s interesting how they’ve taken bits of Mafia Wars, such as the annoying energy system, where you’re not able to play until a certain amount of time has passed or you purchase more moves (all about the Benjamins, as usual). I can’t say i’m mad at them, though—stick with what works and makes bank.

I’m not a fan of the whole let’s-make-this-a-whodunit-a-la-Clue-or-Sherlock-Holmes cut scenes so far, but i guess it will appeal to other people or demographics. I just want to find the hidden treasures! Eff the murder mystery and whatnot. I can attribute this disdain to the old school hack-n-slash videogamer in me: just give me the bad guys to slay and the troves of rewards. I don’t really care why i’m doing it. I wonder if the storytelling is just saved for the early, tutorial missions? ::shrugs::

Due to the fact that i’m playing this on a computer that lacks speakers, i can’t talk about the zany sounds i’m sure it has or the annoying score, which all of the Zynga games possess. I was too lazy to switch to the iMac where i’m writing this post. I have John Mayer as my aural ambiance anyway. Nothing beats that. Well, ‘cept some Zeppelin or Sabbath or a slew of others, but still, that’s neither here nor there, since, it’s all about the gameplay.

Ahh, now that i decided to actually read the Help screens to figure out what trophies do, i learned that the clues in those aforementioned cut scenes actually assist in me finding hidden items, thus earning more monies and bonus points.

It’s pretty in-depth, the features of this game, as i play more and read. They’ve definitely gone all out creating a Clue mixed with Mafia Wars and CityVille (on the home screen, there are options to add lamposts to the environment and uncover other buildings and places to search for even more clues along your quest—a quest i’m really not sure has an endgame since, well, i haven’t been playing too close attention lol).

Overall, in my 15-25 minutes of playtime so far, i’m a fan. I’m sure you’ll see my Facebook statuses and probably Tweets about it in the coming hours, days, and possibly weeks and months, as i continue my descent down the rabbit hole.

Cheers to Zynga. But, still damn them to hell.


noshing of Sacred Cows: a tirade, of sorts

I cannot for the life of me, even when i begin to have some thoughts of, and i cannot call it acceptance, but maybe respect or leniency (i guess) for the religious folks out there—those blind, well, maybe myopic is more respectful and giving of a word—devotees.

It’s difficult to be able to latch onto Christian, especially Catholic, folks and their clan’s beliefs. The cauldron’d and served gospel poison has fully decimated and truly usurped any power, has rendered any supposed good moot. The preached and proselytized edict soup is nothing more than snake oil. These sacred cows must be slaughtered.

Why, i would like to know, are the Dieties, the Divine monoliths of said people, only responsible for the good that occurs in someone’s life?—within someone’s family?—or, within their job, say a promotion?

Why, when their is a rape of their six-year-old sibling, or when a twenty-something year-old relative is stricken with cancer, or when someone stubs their toe, is their Higher Power not attributed with the affliction or mishap?

Or, more importantly still, such events or milestones are always spun off in such an incredulously tragic, downright humorous way that it is appalling: they’re in a better place or it happened for a reason—one that we, all human beings, believers and non-devotees, alike, are too ignorant to understand. Or, that’s just the replied rationale.

Oh, yes, an eight-year-old boy who survives the desecration and pillaging of his innocence, is then forced to live tragically tarnished for decades hence—this is fair, i suppose. Switch him with an innocent civilian woman in a remote “warzone” maimed by a mine, or let’s barter with a female college student who is drugged and gang raped: the former is a casualty of war, one crafted by mankind; the latter, she is to blame for it, her attire or persona—not God—and, we are told they both should be thankful to be alive!? It is mind boggling, headshaking-inducing.

The only alternative to being thankful for such a gift is—you guessed it—to be ungrateful, to throw away such a gift, to commit suicide. But then, herein lies the rub: they will be condemned for eternity if they do such. Ah, such benevolence, such mercy practiced; such a warm, welcoming thing some of these religions are.

I cannot with that—cannot, will not, accept that these Dieties—which are all-knowing, all-powerful, and are touted as the most-benevolent of entities—could subject their subjects, their worshipers, their lambs (their creators, if i will allow my chutzpah to brandish its chest), to such atrocious acts of physical and mental means; to leave indelible, noxious marks on their bodies, in their minds, and on their souls.

It’s such a disheartening stream of events and consequences—one that, as a rational and history-minded person, i cannot fathom, will not accept as gospel (ha).

Through our long-standing human history, many thoughts have been had, untold stories of creation myths have been passed along amongst billions of humans throughout the various minor and major civilizations. The leading, primary religious bodies and sects that have ruled the past millennium or so, have been able to misconstrue, to skew, to inculcate, and then further ingratiate themselves into the less secular realms of the world as time progressed—with their ruling powers having deteriorated, they’ve utilized more wiles, learned to be more socially dextrous and maneuverable, becoming solely a more silent kingmaker rather than the duality of figurehead king and its maker.

A people that have first-hand experience with being hoodwinked as such are those of the African Diaspora, the peoples of infinite shades and tones, who have pollenated the world’s continents, islands and various lands, through various slave trades, missionary subterfuge, (in)voluntary emigration and immigration. To me, the situation has the stench of Stockholm syndrome: through the mental rape and hostage via religion, the original hostages passed on their assumed love for their captures to their children; the progeny continue to defend and herald the gospel, forgetting—really, glossing over—the soiled history of their predecessors, never truly open to accepting what really occurred. There’s been an adoption of stranger’s values, and a throwing-in-the-dumpster or leaving-on-the-church-steps of their own, a rejection. It’s unfortunate.

Everything is relative, of course, and this includes the truth, as well as history. The powerful’s side is always different from the subordinate’s; and this is a shining example.