Shakes & Fidget: An Exercise in Game Multitasking

Here’s my usual setup while playing WoW: WoW is displayed on my large monitor hooked up to a powerful desktop for extra visual fun. My wimpier laptop sits to my left at my desk — playing music, skyping, playing videos, or simply staying available for my occasional trip to WoWhead for quest help without the need to tab out of the game. But I’ve now found a far superior use for that laptop, and it’s the game Shakes & Fidget.

Like most of you, I was skeptical about this game when I first signed up. It’s a browser game — no downloads required — and has a real-time aspect that translates to spending a lot of time in-game simply waiting around to finish a quest, complete a work shift, battle the next dungeon monster or get your arena on. But that’s also the same thing that brings beauty to the game – that you can set it up and leave until you are ready for the next task.

Between quests while playing WoW, I can queue up my S&F character for her business. I refocus attention back on the main screen until I hear that unmistakable “zing, clack, whirr” sound of battle starting on the laptop. I don’t have to actively participate — but I want to at least watch to see how my character performs with the latest attributes that I’ve leveled.

That’s how it started. Just a small way to spread out my attention and find enjoyment from two separate games at the same time. But I’ve also been finding more and more that S&F seems to be the one winning more attention. Perhaps that’s because I often only have a short amount of free time to devote to a game. That’s not enough to allow me to be very productive in WoW. But in S&F, that’s all I need to queue up a quest, set my character to “work,” or squeeze in an arena match.

That’s only when I don’t have time, though. Those seemingly rare times that I have an hour or more to kill — that’s when WoW becomes top priority again. But S&F is still there, running in the background. And it’s getting more exciting, now that the Lore Hound guild started attacking other guilds. Care to join us?