Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My latest a-Fleck-tion.

People often ask why I started blogging.  I really don't have a stock answer to that question. I just started. And then once I started I was intrigued by the world of social media about which I knew absolutely nothing. And then I began tinkering with my website and realized I enjoyed learning some of the technical aspects as well. Basically, I felt like I was keeping my foot in the proverbial technology / social media door. I was outside my daily element and enjoyed pushing myself in new directions. 

This past July a paid opportunity arose for me to try a new app / iPad game in Beta. Clearly, I don't generally play video games. {That is clear, right?!}

Talk about pushing myself in new directions!

I don't have a Farmville farm and I have never sent anyone a pig on Facebook. But the commitment was twenty minutes a day and seemed like a the perfect amount of "work" for my action-packed summer. So, for two weeks I spent my obligatory 20 minutes per day playing. Only by the end of the two weeks I was playing for 15 - 20 minute intervals . .  . two to three time a day instead of just once. And then my contractually bound period expired and well, I was am still playing. 

Something happened during that two week trial period. I can't explain the lure exactly but to say it is another window into the ever-growing world of social media, into what drives our youth, and well, at that point I simply could not leave my perfectly manicured garden unattended. 

Maybe I should explain a bit about the game . . . 

Ever wonder what it would be like to grow trees, build houses, plant flowers and interact with other real world players all on top of Google Maps?

No, well I hadn't either, but I have now become quite the cyber-gardner, restaurantere and world traveler using the Fleck app on my iPad.

The novelty behind Fleck is the game's world - the real world, as seen through Google Maps. That is, each environment in the game represents a real world place, but rather than seeing a completely animated background, filled with static buildings or plant life, you'll see the white lines of streets, green shaded areas representing parks or forested areas and so on - just as though you were looking up a general location via the Google Maps service. You even see the weather for the location.

You start by choosing a location for your home. Naturally, I live on 5th Avenue in NYC. My view of Central Park is amazing.  I didn't really like all the neighboring buildings, however, so I simply built my garden on top of them. Here's a screen shot of my home and garden {note the jack-o-lantern I recently added}!


I plant, water and prune every plant in my little garden. It's truly a labor of love. It is also a work in process. You'll note {real-world} restaurants on each side of my garden {buildings with forks and knives on top}. I currently own both as well as 4 others in Manhattan. Because I'm cool like that. Of course, Yelp is integrated into the game as well so you can see restaurant reviews as you travel through Fleck.

So besides maintaining my own little garden, what do I do? Well, you can literally visit any location within the United States or Canada, as long as you know an address. Or you can travel to landmark locations, such as the Statue of Liberty or the Space Needle, without knowing the address. You can also engage in scavenger hunts or engage in other daily quests.

What I've found most interesting is the creativity of the players. So many have created little Fleck masterpieces {known as Flecktions}. Witness . . .

Perry the Platypus
World Trade Center site
Tigger the Tiger
Seriously! Those took serious time and patience! 

Oh, and did I mention the zombies? Yes, if you get bored watering your garden you can dig up a zombie plant and destroy a few hairy purple creatures that chase you around the screen. Some zombie plants are too big to tackle alone so you have to enlist the help of friends. That engages the social part of the game {which is huge}. You can chat {note the chat stream on the left side of my screen pic}. Send gifts to friends {my Fleck friends run along the bottom of my screen shot}. Or just get together to kill a few zombies. I was initially resistant to engage with others, but eventually couldn't help myself! Turns out like every other aspect of the game, once I tried it I was hooked!

So yes, I'm the middle-aged lady playing Fleck while I stir my marinara. Call me crazy, but I simply cannot help myself! I've fallen prey to its charming logo and graphics. If you're not won over by its simple charm and social connectivity, then I guess that just leaves more zombies for me to kill!

Download the Fleck iPad app in the iTunes store.

Thank you to Self Aware Games for sponsoring this post.  While I was compensated for this review, the opinions I’ve expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest point of view. 

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