Amid the gruelling everyday grind of playing video games (don’t hit me!), we here at Gamezebo get hundreds of letters related to industry goings on and developer announcements. As part of staying current, and keeping you in the know, we take pride in posting that stuff whenever possible. However, every so often, we get a truly unique opportunity to share stories or info that only our readers have access to; it’s those moments we enjoy the most. Yes, even more than playing video games!

What do we have for you this time? Well, thanks to the Concordia doctor in Game Studies and Design Mia Consalvo, a rare chance to pick your brain and put all that social game knowledge to use! Like mad science, with much less chance for injury. We hope.

Consalvo is an avid Gamezebo reader herself, having changed disciplines a few years ago to study social and casual titles. Her main fascination? The way we think about how to play them, and who to play them with. As someone with a background in console titles and larger multiplayer experiences like World of Warcraft, she found herself fascinated with the way gamers felt deep connections to games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars – often playing them with their families – despite the fact that actual social features were limited to things like gifting and inviting others. As she said to us, “Does the family dynamic matter at all? Do people play differently when it’s with grandma, rather than work friends?”

More interestingly, with games like WoW being dogged by accusations of cheating and foul play, Consalvo wonders what these new “multiplayer” experiences consider cheating. Is it okay to open a different Facebook account to help get better in-game items? Do players who choose to pay for lots of premium currency become viewed as “cheaters” by the player community? And how many “hacks” is too many in the context of social games?

Well… don’t just sit there yelling your answers at the screen! Take the plunge! The survey is at the link below, and lasts “less than 10 minutes;” something I can vouch for having breezed through in five. As a bonus, Consalvo is going to keep us in the loop so we can let everyone know the results.

Now to the survey, for science!