Monday, January 24, 2011

'Brief Vacations' with your Smart Phone

Games on smartphones snare a new breed of player. (San Jose Mercury News, 1/23/2011)

Excerpt: Demetrias Farley realizes the way she plays games on her mobile phone verges on obsession.

On a recent weekend, "from Friday to Sunday, that's all I would do -- to the point that if I got a text or a phone call that interrupted the game, I got mad," she says, referring to "Angry Birds," a wildly popular game in which players try to destroy smug-faced pigs by slinging birds at them. "I was talking to a representative at the bank yesterday and playing 'Angry Birds' at the same time. That's how bad I am."

Like many of the people poking intently at their phones in line at the supermarket or while waiting for dental appointments, Farley, a 42-year-old Concord resident, never had the slightest interest in trying her daughter's PlayStation and Xbox a few years back. "I don't even know how to use the controller," Farley says.

But that all changed when she got her first smartphone a little more than a year ago


"These (games) are sort of brief vacations that we can carry with us," says Andrew Wood, a professor of communications studies at San Jose State. "The idea of being able to get out of your work zone or transportation zone or even family zone and dive into a highly vivid, interactive medium is a real treat."

Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to read the New York Times and NPR news, check Facebook, and tweet while on my 'vacations'. Oh, and then there the Weather Channel app.

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