Thursday, October 1, 2009

Virtual Farming?

I haven’t written in this thing for a while, and I promised myself I would keep it updated regularly. The best laid plans of mice and men, right?

Well, here’s a good topic to get it back on track…Facebook Farmville!

Some clever game developer called Zynga decided that since practically the entire world uses Facebook to communicate, there might be a market for “game” applications. At first, I found it extremely obnoxious, because people would send me invitations to play this “FarmVille” game I had never heard of, and figured was a waste of time.

Then a friend popped up in the IM feature and asked me to be his “neighbor”. Well, I figured I might as well give it a try. It couldn’t be as bad as “Mafia Wars”, a game by the same developer that, once accepted, was impossible to figure out, seemingly mindless, and would send constant notifications and clog up the Facebook feed. As it turned out, it was much more user-friendly.

Farmville has a visual, user-friendly approach, and there is actually a purpose and strategy to it. You start with a patch of “land”, some “coins”, a plow, and a “market” to buy “seeds”. From there, the goal is to plant and harvest produce, thus making money to expand and plant more. As your money increases, so does your “experience”, and the game gives you various “ribbons”, or goals, to strive for. Eventually you can buy animals, trees, decorations, buildings, and a wider variety of produce options. It also allows you to “help” your other Facebook friends with their own farms in exchange for money, and give various animals, trees and items to one another.

It’s little more than a time-waster, but since I check my Facebook regularly, it isn’t much of a chore. Everything from milking the cow to harvesting the cotton can be done in less than 5 minutes with the click of a mouse. The novelty will wear off after a while…but until then, it’s really kind of fun.

Proof that I shouldn’t knock something until I’ve tried it!

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