Better than facebook games
July 14, 2014 9:38 AM   Subscribe

What are some cheaper but equally fun options instead of facebook games?

I have a family member with a chronic pain condition and she uses facebook games for enternainment and because it distracts her from the pain. I think this is perfectly valid, however, the problem is that in order to enjoy them they are all designed to suddenly stop being functional games unless you pay a bunch of money to keep playing so she is losing HUNDREDS of dollars a month playing these games.

She is already dependent on family in a situation that is somewhat uncomfortable and the family is thus is a really uncomfortable position of watching her overspend and then need help with her medical care which apparently is not all covered on her insurance and she can't afford needed medications.

The family has decided to let her choose to spend her money this way and then not help her when she needs an asthma inhaler or blood thinner medication etc... however... I can' help but think there has GOT to be a better way!

If she were to be given say a 100 dollar gaming budget to buy a new game every month, what sort of games are fun and maybe interactive with other online users but you can pay a fixed up front cost to play them? She likes the mystery search games (where you look for hidden items) and games like SIMS city and stuff like that (so obviously SIMS the real game might be appealing to her?)

I think facebook games are designed to be easy to use for people who aren't that naturally into gaming so I'm looking for options that are designed to be very easy to use and understand with lot's of instant gratification involved in using.

I think they asked her to budget herself and she said she would but I find it somewhat understandable that the pain driven MUST CLICK ON THINGS feels stronger than the ability to suddenly stop playing with the budget runs out in the first week of the month. These games are designed to be frustrating as heck and difficult to play if you're not buying things from them constantly and I feel like surely there's a way she can BOTH use gaming for comfort and not have these ridiculous bills attached.

I appreciate any and all ideas!!! Thanks metafilter!
posted by xarnop to Computers & Internet (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
What sort of gaming platforms does she have access to? Just a computer? (If so, what kind?) iPad? Android phone/tablet? Some sort of console? There are a lot of games out there that scratch similar itches, but they vary by platform.
posted by MeghanC at 9:49 AM on July 14, 2014

What is her hardware (many games are platform-dependant)? If it is a laptop have you looked at Steam? There is a bunch of free to play and low cost games on there.
posted by saucysault at 9:50 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Currently, I think just computer. I'm not sure what kind it is.
posted by xarnop at 9:52 AM on July 14, 2014

Humble Bundle.
posted by Poldo at 9:53 AM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Gone Home is great for clicking around.
posted by saucysault at 9:54 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

It is definately a laptop.
posted by xarnop at 9:55 AM on July 14, 2014

Well Steam would work. It is free to set up an account and then you can browse around the current sale offerings. They have multi-player games.
posted by saucysault at 10:14 AM on July 14, 2014

I should add this is an elderly woman and likes games that are largely cute/non violent in nature. It seems like a lot of the good games and RPG's have a combat theme, so I'm hoping to hear about some that are just more like farming, building homes, gardening, magical theme or tetris/candy crush style instant gratification. This is something I'm also interested myself because I love final fantasy and zelda and the like if you could just take all the battle stuff out, those parts are meh. Ok-- I'm not going to respond anymore, just felt that might be an important qualification.

Grannies gaming might have very different tastes... : )
posted by xarnop at 10:17 AM on July 14, 2014

There are games like Peggle on Steam as well. Peggle is great. You should have her install Steam and buy Peggle. It's kinda like that Price is Right game plinko only with 100% more rainbows and unicorns and powerups. And it's not one of those games where you have to pay to keep playing*, just pay once for the game and you're good. It's around $5.

* - Though I suppose on the flip side it's not one of those games that you'll keep playing forever, either.
posted by Grither at 10:28 AM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

It might be worth considering investing in a Nexus or iPad--there are a lot of FB-style games available on both of those platforms.

That said, the various Sims games might work for her. Sims4 is coming out in the near future, so Sims3 can be had cheap (~$20) right now. Don't Starve is a survival-style game, but you can customize how many baddies, etc, there are--including turning them off entirely. My daughter plays it as a worldbuilding game, and the only real threat to her well-being is surviving winter.

The late, lamented Glitch would have been literally perfect. Several groups are trying to rebuild (Eleven Giants and Children of Ur are the biggest), and it's probably worth keeping an eye on their development.
posted by MeghanC at 10:39 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Introduce her to popcap - lots of the games are available to play online. And tetris.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:39 AM on July 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

Nthing Popcap. You can buy the complete Popcap subscription on Steam for $80 - these are the full versions, not just the web-based free ones.
posted by susanvance at 10:47 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

She should just play PC games. Facebook games are monotonous games designed to do little more than waste time and procrastinate. There's not much variation or thinking.

I guess it depends how good her computer is, but I would think it can run a game like the Sims 3, which I think is popular with women. The new Sim City got horrendous reviews when it was released with an online-only mode, but now you can play it offline and all the Sim City games are fun. As a woman, I love all the Sim games. I also loved RollerCoaster Tycoon, specifically the the old/original ones (1 and 2). I think she would really enjoy them. They are simple to play, very cute and very fun. I liked them better than RollerCoaster 3 and on. My personal favorite game is Civilization 4 -- it's a turn-based game so you can play it on your own time. It's a rather large/complex game too, but very popular and gotten excellent reviews. It's not violent, although war exists -- it's more historical and less cute.

If she DOES like those mindless timewasting games, then maybe she should just bookmark
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:24 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Jayisgames is a great resource for finding fun little online games. I don't think everything they include is free, but they do tend to be.

I also gravitate toward cute/nonviolent games, although I tend to prefer puzzles and word games - not sure if that's her thing? But I've found a ton of fun stuff here. The site is very easy to search, and the games are well-tagged - here's a link to all their games labeled "point and click." Tags like "flash" and "browser" may be helpful too.

Escapegames24 is another great resource for free games, much narrower in focus, but has about a zillion games indexed and with a star rating system. If she likes "escape the room" games, which she well might, as there's often a large "discover all the stuff" element, similar to hidden-item games, she will LOVE this site (I do).
posted by jessicapierce at 11:36 AM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Seconding Peggle, although it was my experience that after I got most of the way through the game, I lost interest and stopped trying to advance further, then stopped playing altogether. (I never had much patience for video games, even as a kid.)

I do love word games, though I play those on my phone. I'm sure there's loads of them for PC and Mac, though.
posted by tckma at 12:20 PM on July 14, 2014

I love Threes! but it is not multiplayer.
posted by getawaysticks at 12:37 PM on July 14, 2014

Look into Big Fish Games.
posted by curious nu at 2:51 PM on July 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yes, Big Fish Games for sure. Get her a subscription, which is about $7 a month and includes one game per month. I've got a bunch of credits, would be happy to gift her a few to poke around and see if she likes anything. Most of the games there (and they have HUNDREDS) are in the same casual-play genres that most Facebook games are.
posted by jbickers at 7:18 PM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Came here to recommend Big Fish, am not disappoint. Their library has heaps of sim style games, time management, puzzlers - cute is their dominant flavour and their games are really, really low intensity in terms of systems requirements. You can also have an hour long demo of most of their games too, and even if she's buying games all the damn time she's highly unlikely to rip through the same amount of money as she is now on phone games. Furthermore, you can gift game credits and buy them in bulk so if she finds she's getting through ten a month it'll be easy enough to up her subscription and still be saving her ridiculous amounts of cash.

Also if she stays with them a year she gets a plush fish.
posted by Jilder at 5:53 AM on July 15, 2014

Big Fish does a lot of those Diner Dash-style time management games (among others) and Popcap has Plants vs. Zombies, but stay away from PvZ 2, which is a dreaded "freemium" game.

I still play Sims 2 -- it's dirt cheap if she buys the games used, can play on almost any system, and has plenty of custom mods around to customize the game and to combat the many, glitches. You can message me if you'd like links to those. Several other Sims-type games are also pretty good, but you'll probably have to hunt around for player-made bug fixes, because the whole lot of them tend to be quite buggy.
posted by PearlRose at 6:18 AM on July 15, 2014

Shockwave is 7$ a month for all you can eat casual games. They have most games from the big publishers (Big Fish and Popcap) plus some smaller labels, and no pay-2$-more-to-level-up crap. Some games are in browser, some games are download and install (nothing fancy, she just needs to be running Windows). I've been a subscriber since 2007 and it's the easiest place to pay a fixed amount and just play whatever casual games you want all the time.
posted by anaelith at 5:32 AM on July 18, 2014

This was all extremely helpful!!! Thank you all for the ideas! : )
posted by xarnop at 12:23 PM on August 13, 2014

I know this is already resolved, but I think a 3DS or even a 2nd hand DS could have a gaming library that would appeal to her, if the PC games don't already do so.
posted by Hawk V at 6:32 AM on December 4, 2014

« Older swimmer's ear audio filter?   |   What's the deal with flat feet / fallen arches? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.