No, social games didn't begin with FarmVille and Maifa Wars. At least according to author Jon Radoff, who takes a more abstract look at social games in this infographic. Radoff believes that social games are, literally speaking, games played with one another. That said, social games have been around since before the ancient civilizations of Persia and Egypt. It all started with dice games, and everything went downhill after that.
According to Radoff, social games are any activity involving game mechanics and social interaction. And, when you think about, he's right (when approached literally). The only differences between the social games of today and those of yesteryear are the media through which we play them and the level of interaction.
Some of the more interesting milestones in the evolution of social games include Senet, an ancient Egyptian board game, Chess (which originated in 16th century India) and the ultimate social game: Dungeons and Dragons in 1974. Considering human beings have been "social gamers" for thousands of years, I can't wait to see what we think up next.
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