Nicholas Carlson has a piece for Business Insider brilliantly titled, “How a Stupid Facebook game makes Zynga millions”.   It’s Carlson’s attempt to take it upon himself to jump into one of Zynga’s latest hit games, FishVille, and show the uninitiated just how these games draw people’s time and money.  Carlson wants to know how FishVille has drawn millions of people a week to total more than 20 million players since launching in early November.  He also wonders how these free games making money off of bits of virtual goods are churning out an estimated $250 million in revenues for Zynga in 2009.  Carlson does a step-by-step screenshot walkthrough of how FishVille draws him in, introduces incentives to invite friends, and eventually compels him to open his wallet.

It s worth noting that this piece is a great companion to Jeremy Liew’s on the economics driving the success of social gaming, also posted in today’s newsletter.

Check out Carlson’s piece at Business Insider.