In the realm of “gaming maturity,” TSTO should be an old codger, doddering on bandied legs toward the pudding line at the rest home lunch counter. But, surprisingly, the game continues to reinvent itself and morph into new versions of its former self that appear to keep it fresh and alluring. For those of us who have “known” (not Biblically, but casually) TSTO since its birth, the changes have been dramatic, and obvious, harkening to a friend who shows up for a monthly dinner with a facelift, dyed hair, and a boob job, but still has that ring of familiarity that allows you to feel comfortable while feeling uncertain if they have “gone too far” in their quest to remain relevant to younger players.
To quote Booberella, “mmmm…boobs!” No wait…that was Homer…or Moe…or me… but I digress…
The real thing that I notice as a TSTO blogger of three years, is not so much the changes in the game, but what I see as clear delineations in the players who play the game. The game has changed, no doubt about it. But, so have the players.
The game has gone from a very casual, some would say stilted and low-tech pace, to one that is based upon incessant, frantic, cadenced tapping that requires a sense of dedication for those who “want it all” without spending copious amounts of real money. What has become clear, is that many of the casual tappers have dropped out of the game, replaced by the super tappers who live, eat and breathe the game, perhaps to the detriment of their “Real Lives.”
The key question at this point may very well be, “What Is a Real Tapper’s Life Like?” and “If Tapping Takes Over the Majority of Your Waking Hours, Is Your Life Still Real?”
STOP…do not hit the “comment button” until you read the rest of this post. Really. Back away from your padular device and take a breath. This isn’t an attack piece, or even an opinion piece…we really want to understand the changes that have happened in the game and the tappers of the game, so we can better serve both. OK?
Let’s take a look at the evolution of both…so we can understand where we are headed. If we understand you, and why and how you tap, we can figure out how to keep everyone happy…mostly…kinda…
Genesis and Evolution
In the Beginning, there was Homer. And like the Homer of the show, he was mostly a broken man. If you really started at the VERY beginning, in the Spring of 2012, you may have been one of the unfortunate few to play a game that was so buggy, and so cumbersome, that it was actually pulled from the Apple Store for several months. This period is rarely mentioned, because so few people actually could play the game long enough to constitute it as an actual game. It wasn’t until late September 2012 that the REAL version, the granddaddy of this version, began.
I started playing on October 1st, 2012, just before the release of the very first THOH update. I thought the game was hilarious, and other than brainless games like Tetras and Paper Toss, it was, and remains the only game I have ever played consistently. (Yes…I admit to a three month flirtation with Family Guy…but always felt like I was cheating on Marge with the tarts in Quahog).
The short outage yesterday while EA updated the Origin Server made me laugh…as I remembered the outages that were regular occurrences when the game first started. It was almost standard to have outages with every update, sometimes lasting days in length. We all loved the game so much, that we were almost willing to put up with anything, as long as they didn’t pull it again from the Apple iStore shelves.
But the game was MUCH slower paced back then. There were no “speed tapping resources” like the “Employment Office,” “Town Census” “Transporters” or tools like the “IRS Building” to help you clear a wide range of your town. Updates came fairly regularly, but were not the elaborate, multi-layered events like we see now, with crafting, mini-games, and prize tracks all offering rewards for completion. You tapped…in a linear fashion…working through the questline…and it just waited for you for the most part.
That has changed. The game now seems to be geared to those who have the inclination and time to dedicate, to almost constant tapping. It has created a level of Uber-Tappers that spend more time tapping, scheming, and plotting…perhaps like most addictions go, “Tapping more but enjoying it less.”
But, I could be wrong. And that is what I want to find out.
There appear to be Three Categories of Tappers that have emerged in the “Modern Era of TSTO,” (that era after the first crafting/prize track updates, after the old school Level Updates were suspended); The Casual Tapper, The Dedicated Tapper, and the Truly Obsessed Tapper.
Even though I have written a book about TSTO, have blogged for more than 3 years, and played the game for almost four, I consider myself by today’s standards to be a “Casual Tapper.” A Casual Tapper (CT) works on their town, has a scheme for how they want to lay things out, and may in fact be more concerned with the aesthetic values of their Springfield, than acquiring everything an update offers. Their storage units are full to the brim with clutter that just doesn’t fit. They look forward to every update, and try to stay on track, but they don’t lose sleep over the game. They may have found a way to make the seemingly obvious 4-hour update cycle work in their “Real Lives,” but have stopped sneaking out of a movie, family functions, or work, for a “bathroom break” to meet a 4-hour task request.
In short…they love the game…play the game…but keep it all in perspective.
They are most likely to be long-time Simpsons fans who have watched the show faithfully (especially now that all of the episodes are streamed) for almost 30 years. The updates they like the best, are those which come from their favorite episodes, but they aren’t “freaks of origin” who demand that every item be locked to something in the show.
Having played the game for almost as long as it has existed, I take the “casual” aspects to the extreme. I don’t give a rip about my “Conform-o-meter” because I am by nature a non-conformist. I have 5 stars, mostly because I have a huge, robust town that has more than 8,300 items in it…which is by its very nature, not conforming well to the Item Limits EA tries to place on me.
I don’t chase XP, and would never consider farming anything. It just takes too much focused time away from my real life. I am on level 122…and am happy when I hit a new level. I own the XP Collider, but I don’t use it. I am obsessed with my monorail, because it is fun to build and build and build…while earning free donuts.
I am a “Cheapium” player. I am mostly Freemium, but will drop $1.99 or even $4.99 on donuts if I get impatient to get something I really want. But, I have only spent gift card Christmas money ONCE in four years, on a “boatload.” I value time (Life Currency) over “getting everything.”
There are far more of us “Casual Tappers” on this site than one might think. But for the most part, the CTs don’t take the time to comment. The daily stats would tell you that there are tens of thousands of readers who read, look for info, and move on…sometimes daily…but don’t comment. They leave that to the “others.”
I am no better or worse than any other tapper. I just don’t tap as frequently, or as obsessively as…
While it’s possible to be mostly dedicated to TSTO and still remain “Casual,” at TRULY Dedicated Tapper (DT) is simply not willing to miss out on anything being offered. They are likely to take any shortcut (Glitches, Easter Eggs, Tips, Tricks) to get ahead of “The Calendar,” and will likely be pretty upset if it is too hard to “get everything” an update has to offer. For the DT, the game is the game, and it is THEIR game. Like a dedicated sports fan, they would sooner miss a wedding, or free tickets to a concert, than miss the chance to win the “Final Prize” being offered in an update. The Dedicated Tapper does have a sense of balance, and maybe even a plan for how they want their Springfields to look. They are not afraid to use the “Nuke Button,” because the simple fact is, doing so allows them the freedom to correct past “mistakes,” and offers a whole new reason to tap. It’s very much about the “Here and Now,” with each update, but there is still a sense of tradition.
Dedicated Tappers may or may not watch “The Simpsons” regularly. But they know the basics, and would be more inclined to watch a show that has an “Easter Egg” in the game that relates to a new episode of the show.
They are inclined to comment on TSTO Addicts, but rarely if ever go to the “forum,” the WIKI, or any other source of information. They are dedicated to this blog, and have become somewhat reliant on the site to help them get everything they want, as EAsily as possible, with as little effort as possible, while still not being above whining when something doesn’t go their way. It’s OK. We get it.
DTs have likely tried farming Kwik-E-Marts or Bloodmobiles, but for the most part, are more inclined to play the game “straight” without the added falderal of additional levels of stress. They are inclined to find a rhythm and method, and stick to it. My guess, is that like me, most DTs are not above setting their phones with 4-hour reminders or alarms to remind them when to clear their towns of invaders. And, they will certainly think nothing of finding a way to do so at almost any event or family function. They know what they want, and aren’t afraid to ask for it.
They play mostly Freemium, but there is a subset of the DTs that is not talked about a great deal. They are the “Completists” who actually spend real money…A LOT of real money by this point…to get every Premium Item that EA offers…legitimately. They are the fuel of the game. They are the less than 1% pf overall players, who keep the EA coffers full to the point of keeping the game alive. It is “recreation money” or “mad money” for these types…and they spend their money, unabashedly, because what they buy brings them joy.
But the fact is, they still have more balance in their lives than the…
Truly Obsessed Tappers
You know who they are. If you have been coming to this blog for even a few weeks like I have, they stand out in the crowd. The Truly Obsessed Tappers (TOTs) are the first to comment when anything happens…good or bad. They are clearly in the 1% of overall tappers, and pride themselves in being ahead, knowing all the tricks, and not being afraid to use anything to get ahead. And in some cases, I mean anything (including ill-gotten donuts).
They are Freemium to the extreme in almost every way. They are obsessed with Bonuts, because they can. Simple as that.
This breed of tappers is obsessed with “the next shiny thing,” but is also driven to click off the next challenge, so they can move on to the next challenge, knowing that there is another challenge after that. They don’t rest. They farm. They play the numbers. They CARE about every number in the game, because to them, it is ALL about the numbers. Most of their towns are cluttered, without true form, because actually designing and maintaining a pleasant, happy, cogent Springfield takes too much time…and the fact is…they don’t have the time, because they are too busy tapping, and commenting about tapping, and searching for tips, tricks, and shortcuts on myriad forums, blogs, and IM channels, because they simply can’t stand to not get everything, have the highest totals, or be “at the top of the game.”
They have reached a billion in game cash. They have tons of donuts in reserve. They get everything in every update, just as fast as they can, and take great pride in telling everyone about it. They think nothing of staying up late, or rising early, or setting alarms in the night, in order to “stay ahead.” And they have no issue with telling the world about it.
And what is amazing to all of us…is that we NEED the TOTs, because they are the ones who make the rest of our lives EAsier. If it weren’t for their obsessive tapping, we wouldn’t know when there is a shortcut to take, or a better way to get something we want (because most of us really do fixate on at least one item per update that we MUST have, and want to know the best way to get it).
It is the TOTs that drive this blog…keep us on our toes…and make us all better players (while driving us a little nuts). We all realize that just like other things in life, if it wasn’t for the “Truly Obsessed” we wouldn’t take the time to find out about the details of things that peak our interest, but not enough to dedicate our lives to them. It is those who are “over the top,” that make life EAsier for those of us who want to play casually, but efficiently.
Think about it. In real life, if you want to know the best way to Bar-b-cue a pork loin, you don’t go ask someone who likes Bar-B-cue, but only does one a couple of times a year. You ask those guys who actually understands and know what it means to have a grill with 6 Stainless steel burners, 60,000 BTU-per-hour input, 12,000 BTU-per-hour input flush-mounted side burner, 6,800 BTU-per-hour smoker burner and stainless steel smoker box, 10,600 BTU-per-hour infrared rear-mounted rotisserie burner, Tuck-Away™ rotisserie system with flip-up motor and separate spit and fork storage in the enclosed cart, 10,600 BTU-per-hour input sear burner.
Like I said….for the Truly Obsessed…it’s all about the numbers.
We need the TOTs to be obsessive, so the rest of us don’t have to be. They sacrifice their lives, so we don’t have to. I only hope that there is more for them at some point…but I have faith that when/if TSTO finally gets pulled from the App Store for the last time, they will find something else to obsess about.
SO. WHERE DO YOU FALL IN THIS PANTHEON OF TAPPING???
Are you a CT, DT or TOT? Or, are you a hybrid of several of one or two of these categories? A CDT? Or a DTOT? LET US KNOW…even those of you LURKING in the background of our daily stats. We want to know…so we can better serve you!