Truth in Advertising

As a software engineer, I pride myself in honesty. If I say to you, the \(3n+1\) problem has yet to be solved for any number not leading to \(1 \rightarrow 4 \rightarrow 2 \rightarrow 1\) in Lothar, it’s because I did my research, studied the Collatz Conjecture, and developed the game around the unsolved mathematical challenge to prove it wrong by entering an arbitrarily long positive integer and see where it leads. As yet, no-one has found a solution, but I welcome you to download my app and try.

So it drives me crazy to see adverts on Facebook which purport to give an interesting challenge, like what levers to pull to rescue your little guy, only to be delivered to some stupid knockoff game that has absolutely nothing to do with it.

False Advertising on Facebook
This is an example of false advertising on Facebook. Although this is not the advert for the game listed in the article, the gist is similar to pulling some levers to rescue a bloke, which had nothing to do with the actual gameplay.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you want to play a game just like this. Pull the levers and try to come up with a solution where the little elf is saved and the goblin is toasted by laval. Especially when you’re told it’s really hard to solve. I so want to play that game. So I click on it, and then I get this!

Farmville knockoff that is a total waste of time
This is the actual game the advert leads to. As can be seen, it’s just a glorified Farmville Knockoff with a few more bells and whistles with modern-gaming quests but mainly not enough resources for game play because you need to pay money for energy or feed grain to get anywhere.

Farmville!? Are they bleeping kidding me!? I don’t want to spend time planting crops, reaping products, hammering stones, just to do it over and over again with constant Grain shortages and energy shortages. This is not my idea of fun. This is total balderdash and a complete waste of my time. I wanted to rescue elves, not visit some stupid plantation called Taonga! I want a challenge that takes at most a half-hour, like Sudoku, or rescue elves by pulling levers, … or by guessing numbers in Lothar.

The problem with false advertising on Facebook has become so pervasive that there’s actually a petition to ban it. Unfortunately, most false advertising suits hang on financial loss, like you paid money thinking you’d get one thing but in the end you got another. In this case, with Freemium games monetization, the cost to the victim isn’t so much money as it is time wasted trying to play the game in the hopes of getting to the elf-rescue level only to finally realize it’ll never come. If the player does spend money to enhance game play, then there may be a suit, but by that time it’s likely the user already accepted the alternate game play and was just falling into the Freemium trap.

So the next time you see an advert on social media that claims to allow you to rescue the elf, or the princess, or the adventurer by pulling some levers to redirect lava, or water, or slime, just scroll past. Just scroll past. And play some Lothar because I wrote it and I’m available for hire.

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