It’s called downtime. Even between scheduled breaks and lunch hours, people need to decompress. But most writers and homemakers don’t get scheduled breaks. This is the real world, and most of us aren’t Peg Bundy, eating bonbons and watching soaps. For some, that’s where Facebook games come in. Well, you also need friends to play these games online and this is where comes in. 

What are they?

Facebook games allow players to farm, build empires, and even make social connections. It sounds simple, even childish. Tell that to the millions of Facebook users. The success of Facebook games made by companies like Zynga and Playfish is undeniable. Zynga alone is worth 4.5 billion (Miguel Heft, MSN). But it isn’t necessary to monitor stock reports to understand the popularity of social network gaming. One has only to log in and count the number of updates related to extra-special eggs and alien cow births. These can be phenomenally annoying, but for some players, Facebook games are a way to decompress. They’re easy to play and just as easy to set aside when real life calls.

Why harvest crops on Farmville or battle snakes on Frontierville?

There are other pc games that far outshine any on Facebook in terms of graphics and plot. In some ways, most don’t quite fit the bill the way that Country Life and Yoville might. While they may not be as intense as World of Warcraft, Diablo II, or Guild Wars, Facebook games are a quick distraction. Cooking “vampire staked steak” on Café World takes less time than running Black Rock Depths or Molten Core in Warcraft. It’s even possible to peek at Facebook at work away from home since coworkers in surrounding cubicles won’t be treated to the sounds of your pet core hound spouting flame as you use your explosive shot to take down grousing orcs. Best of all, Facebook won’t reel you in and hold you for hours while the laundry goes undone and your articles go unwritten.

Facebook games can save sanity.

Catharsis. There are definitions for the term in dictionaries and Wiki pages. Better to keep matters simple. Kill zombies, not your kids. Plant crops that always come up in a predictable pattern, unlike those characters in your story that won’t do what you think they should. Release the tension.

Why does the work from home set need catharsis?

One of the most stressful and misunderstood occupations has got to be that of stay at home parent. Peg Bundy may have enjoyed all-day couch time and snacks while soap operas spun out their improbable tales, but that is not reality. To do the job right, the parent must wear many hats. There are no real breaks and lunch periods because the responsibility doesn’t stop when the clock strikes the noon hour. Despite the monetary values placed on the roles of childcare workers, chauffeurs, chefs, and housekeepers, staying at home with the kids is undervalued. In fact, according to MSN Money writer Liz Pulliam Weston, a parent who stays at home is worth only about 30,000 a year (Liz Pulliam Weston). That’s a painful fact for anyone whose job offers no real monetary compensation, vacation time, or insurance coverage. Given that fact, shooting some mobsters or blowing up an armored car starts to sound like fun.

Writers may or may not have all the standard business perks, depending on their particular jobs and credits. Writers, for the most part, get what they earn. No article, book, or game content, no pay. Work on your own schedule has its advantages – like being able to stop and play Facebook games. Regardless, the brain smokes. Maybe it’s the facts and figures of high finance that need to be set into a readable format. The deadline for that call for content is looming! That horror novel isn’t plausible and you need a new premise.

Whatever challenges the muse, there’s likely a need to stop and let the brain cells cool off.

All intelligent beings need to play. As Stephen King said, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Lighten up with some farming and trailblazing – Facebook style.