I recently got a promotional email from PlayFirst (see above) pushing their “top time management hits” and exhorting me to “check out these fan favorite time management games!” My question: Are there really people out there who are thinking to themselves, “Hm, I wish I had a new time management game to play”? Isn’t that like someone thinking, “Okay, time to buy a new audio-based interpersonal communication device,” instead of “I need a new phone”?
PlayFirst, of course, is proud home of Diner Dash, which is more or less the original time management game (at least, as far as the capital-W West is concerned). Time management games (which, weirdly, do not seem to have a Wikipedia page) are games in which the player is asked to manage the time spent on various tasks to maximum efficiency. This generally takes the form of setting one or more tasks in motion, then waiting until they’ve completed, coming back to collect the beneficial result (or in other words, harvesting what you’ve sown), lathering, rinsing, and repeating. Yes, FarmVille is a time management game. Read more in TouchArcade’s time management category.
But do players think of them as such? Genres like “real-time strategy”, “first-person shooter,” and even “massively multiplayer online game” seem to make more sense to me as consumer handles. Apparently, the time management crowd responds to “time management” as a genre at this point. I’m only surprised because it doesn’t sound very appealing as a marketing label. Even “harvest games” seems better.
What would you call these things if you were trying to sell them to a crowd that had never heard of such a thing? Not that that crowd really exists anymore.