Mobile phone games: Control brain & wallet | Bangkok Post: learning

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Mobile phone games: Control brain & wallet

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Mobile games are free until you spend your whole life inside the game & spend big money to make life enjoyable there. 

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Games play people

Parisa Pichitmarn

The psychology and marketing that goes into 'freemium' games can make you a farm slave.

You see a woman sitting across from you on the MRT with, of course, a smartphone in her hand [playing a game]....

Is it FarmVille 2, Shrek's Fairytale Kingdom, or The Simpsons: Tapped Out that the woman's playing? ... next year, one third of Thailand's population, 20 million people, will be using smartphones...

Freemium social games on smartphones... are free to play, but charge real money for premium content that players can choose to play . .... building a city, growing crops, running a restaurant or whatnot..

As you progress, it becomes harder and consumes more time in increasing levels...

...."Gamers today don't even need to have any skills or expertise. The point of these games is they are so simple and will retain an appeal for the mass audience, but are not too simple to the point that makes it boring.

For the past three years, freemium social games on smartphones have spread like wild-fire. Some popular games include Smurfs' Village and Zombie Cafe, both of which have reached over 10 million downloads worldwide. ... these games are made to appeal to women...

... freemium social games actually require a team of psychologists to deconstruct what attracts the human mind and how to keep [people] glued [to playing the game]  ...

...these games try to get people to forget about time. When you are building or growing something, it may take seconds at first, but will slowly increase to minutes and hours as you progress to higher levels. ... You spend a lot of time on it without knowing it...

...MOLpay just opened an office here to court gamers with no credit cards....

...Integrated money systems within these games also provide... way to spend massive amounts of real money on unnecessary things that could be comparable to drug or alcohol addiction...

So what is it that makes people continue playing despite the repetitive nature of these games?

....These games .... can be played anytime or also end anytime; people can easily tap in whenever the dining table starts to get boring. "I actually found myself pulling out my phone to pick up my cooked meals [in Zombie Cafe], even when I was having dinner with friends.... [said one game player]

...players can display themselves with a name, customisable clothing, rooms and decorations, they .... feel that their avatars or characters are extensions and representations of themselves and it is only natural to want the very best for them. This is where firms can make money, when people splurge to buy premium items for their characters. We are also reluctant to stop playing because we regret to leave something that we've "built" up ourselves...

...we want to stand out and become accepted by having a better looking farm, house, etc... These games let you have an identity instantaneously. We can become a very important person in that game using very little time and we can brag about it. This is much easier to accomplish than in real life and this is a factor that makes some so addicted to it

...As you complete quests and competitions throughout the game, there is an instant gratification that comes with progressing to higher levels... When you don't have a purpose in life and you're really bored, it can give you an unbelievable sense of achievement...

(Source: Bangkok Post, Game, Games play people, 17/10/2012, Parisa Pichitmarn, link)

Mobile Game Vocabulary

mobile game -
 a video game played on a mobile phone or tablet computer (not a video game system such as Nintendo or PlayStation), in 1997 Nokia launched the very successful Snake game which became one of the most-played video games ever (See Wikipedia)

slave -
a person owned by another person ทาส

population - a group of people who lives in one country, area or place กลุ่มที่อาศัยอยู่ในบริเวณหนึ่ง
charge - when a business asks a customer to pay money for something

content - the subject, ideas, or story that a piece of writing or a radio or television programme or game deals with เนื้อหา,สาระ
premium content - content that customers pay for (in a newspaper, magazine, online, through mobile phone, etc)

whatnot -
any kind of thing

progress - advance, go further (in some activity or project)
as you progress, it becomes harder

consumes more time - uses more time

expertise - a high level of knowledge or skill ทักษะความรู้, ความคิดเห็นของผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
simple - easy to understand; not complicated ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน

- to gather in large numbers รวมกันเป็นกลุ่ม, รวมกันหนาแน่น จำนวนมหาศาล
audience - the people who watch an event happen (watch or listen to a play, film, someone speaking, etc) ผู้ชม
mass audience - a very large audience

retain - to keep รักษา
appeal - to cause someone to like or want something ดึงดูดใจ ทำให้สนใจ

retain an appeal for the mass audience

spread - to gradually affect or cover a larger area แพร่หลาย, แพร่กระจาย แพร่กระจายไปทั่ว   กระจายไปทั่ว
spread like wild-fire - to spread quickly (cover a larger area quickly)

deconstruct - take something apart (to find out how it works)

the human mind

glued - stuck to the game like glue (they never playing the game)
keep [people] glued [to playing the game]  ...

court - treat someone special so they will select you (usually woman selecting husband for marriage)
court gamers with no credit cards....

integrated - built into, added to, made a part of some system (example: an online payment system was integrated into the game)
...Integrated money systems within these games

provide - to give someone something that they want or need
massive - very large in size, amount or numberใหญ่โต มหาศาล
provide... way to spend massive amounts of real money on unnecessary things

addiction (noun) - a strong need to do some activity (sex addiction) or take some substance (drug addiction); a craving, enslavement, dependence ความบ้า, ความหลงใหลหรือมัวเมาในสิ่งนั้นๆ จนผิดปกติ
drug addiction - การติดยาเสพติด
alcohol addiction

addicted to (verb)
addicted to drugs
addicted to alcohol

repetitive -
happening many times (over and over again)
nature - the basic quality of feature of something ลักษณะที่แท้จริงของสิ่งต่างๆ, ธรรมชาติ

repetitive nature of these games

tap in
 - 1. enter into something (tap in to the water supply; tap into a telephone conversation and listen secretly)

- to change something to meet the needs of one person
customisable clothing -
clothing that can be changed to meet the needs of one person

decoration - การตกแต่ง, เครื่องตกแต่ง, เครื่องประดับ
avatar -
a small picture or animated character seen on the computer screen that represents a person when talking to other people in computer worlds (See Wikipedia)

extension - adding parts to something, making it bigger
representation - 
a person or thing that speaks, acts or is present for another one การเป็นตัวแทน

extensions and representations of themselves

splurge - spend a lot of money on something, buy expensive things 
splurge to buy premium items for their characters

reluctant - not willing to do something ลังเลใจ not very willing to do something and therefore slow to do it ไม่เต็มใจ

- a feeling of sadness about something sad or wrong or about a mistake that you have made, and a wish that it could have been different and better  เสียใจ ความโทมนัส,ความเสียใจ,ความเศร้าโศก

out - be easy to see
identity - who someone is

instantaneously - immediately ทันทีทันใด
have an identity instantaneously

brag - tell people about all the good things you have done (to make them think that you are great; impress them) พูดอวดดี
accomplish - to achieve something ทำได้สำเร็จ

factor - a fact or situation which influences the result of something ปัจจัย

quests - searching for valuable things (example: she finally found a husband in her long quest for love)
competition -
when each in a group is trying to do better than the other to get something that not all can have การแข่งขัน

instant gratification -
being happy right now (without waiting or delay)
progressing to higher levels... - moving forward and advancing in the game to higher levels

purpose -
the goal, aim or reason for doing something จุดประสงค์
purpose in life

- something very good and difficult that you have succeeded in doing การบรรลุผลสำเร็จ

sense -
feeling or belief about yourself (examples: sense of well-being, sense of confidence, sense of foreboding, sense of panic)
sense of achievement -
a feeling that you have achieved something (done something good)

unbelievable - surprising, so you almost do not believe it 
unbelievable sense of achievement

give you an unbelievable sense of achievement...

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