What’s the Big Deal with Superpoke Pets?
EDIT* – Even CNN Money has an article – Your virtual cow could be worth $0
When Google announced that they were closing all Slide applications they ruffled quite a few feathers, namely the players of Superpoke Pets. So much so that many sites including Tech Crunch (Hell Hath No Fury Like a Superpoke Pet Player Scorned) , WebPro News ( Slide, Super Poke Pets Fans Furious Over Google’s Planned Shut Down, & Super Poke Pets Users Not Impressed with Google’s Halloween Costume Comparison), Business Insider.com (Slide Users Are FURIOUS Google Is Shutting Down The Company), All Things D (SuperPoke Pets Saga: What’s the Long-Term Value of a Virtual Good?) , Krank.ie (User uproar as Google kills Slide, Super Poke Pets), Games Blog (Google axes Slide, takes many Facebook games down with it), APPAdvice(Google Kills Superpoke! Pets – Pisses Everyone Off Again ), The Washington post (Hell hath No Fury Like a Superpoke Pet Player Scorned) and even the New York Times ( Google to Shut Slide Apps as Slide Founder Departs) have been inundated with unhappy users. But, why are they so unhappy?
Though many players complaints dwell on the money they spent buying virtual “goods” to decorate their habitats, the core of the problem is not a tangible one, but an emotional one. However, it is easier, and more socially acceptable, for players to express their dismay about something more tangible, like the money, than it is to declare that they feel as though a friend has been condemned to death.
To non players, that may seem like a bizarre, even ridiculous comparison, but to those who have been tickling, poking and decorating their pets for years, it’s pretty close to the truth. And why shouldn’t it be? Think of your friends on facebook and count how many of them you’ve never met in person. I know I have quite a few. We all tell ourselves “there’s a real person behind those pixels” but we never see them. We see a still photo or, if we’re lucky, maybe a voice over a phone or a chat. Yet, it is acceptable to be attached, even to “love”, these “pixelated” people, who are no more “real” than the pixelated pets on Superpoke Pets. Yet, it is not acceptable to be attached to a virtual pet. We live in a virtual world with virtual friends, virtual goods and virtual pets. The human condition requires emotional connection, and so we connect to these virtual things. THAT is what the real outrage is. It’s the same as if someone were to delete your facebook friends – and I don’t mean their accounts, I mean delete them completely so that they cease to exist in your world; in other words they were essentially dead. That’s what players are really upset about.
Other gamers find Superpoke pets to be “boring”, “unchallenging’ and even “quaint”, but it is precisely these qualities that have given it it’s fanbase. Many of the Superpoke Pets players are disabled people who finally found a game, and a community, they could participate in. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. When even sweeping your own floor is impossible because of a physical limitation, then decorating that pet’s habitat suddenly becomes a major accomplishment – no different than the hundreds of out of work people sitting at home playing playstation, x-box and Wii so that they can feel they’ve accomplished something, too.
Superpoke Pet fans have a number of things going in an effort to save their game, that a good dose of organization would certainly help. If you’re a superpoke pets player then check the links below.
- join the facebook group http://www.facebook.com/groups/POKEHAPPYPEOPLE/ (or mail to:POKEHAPPYPEOPLE@groups.facebook.com) – they have all the following info and more
- The petition – http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/SPPersUnitedtoKeepSPP/
- CNN – a group of SPPers are hoping CNN will run a story – call – 1-404-827-1500 or send an email from this page – http://www.cnn.com/feedback/show/?s=storyidea (note this is NOT an email address, but a link to a page with a “mail” form)
- ABC – mail ABC at email@example.com
- GoPlay.com – is trying to acquire SPP! Like their FB page and leave a message! http://www.facebook.com/pages/GoPlaycom-Social-Games-for-Social-Gamers/206545102719327?sk=wall
- CALL GOOGLE’s Corporate Headquarters in CA at 1-650-253-0000 & voice your complaint
- Comment – Comment on the articles linked above (in the first paragraph) and tell the world why YOU love SPP
- Tell your story at – http://savesuperpokepets.blogspot.com/2011/08/google-save-our-pets.html
- Mail – players mail your favorite habitats to Bradley Horowitz (an alleged “top dog” at Google) at bradley(at)alum.mit.edu (replace the (at) with @ ) and explain why you love SPP
- Boycott – Many players are calling for a Google Boycott
- Twitter – sign the Twittition – http://twitition.com/fnt9i
- Get Your Badge – Tanya has made SPP badges to show support – get yours here
- SPPers worried about their money can CONTACT THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU (BBB) at: http://www.bbb.org
- There is also a class action lawsuit in the works, though I admit I’m not entering in it. I paid my money, I took my chances. I just want my pet.
- and there are some other petitions going on:http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Save-SPP/