Ivey's Farmville

In June 2009, Facebook launched a game called Farmville. This game was created by Zynga, which has been creating popular games that are played on both Facebook and MySpace, such as Mafia Wars. When the game first arrived on Facebook, I found the posts annoying as it flooded my wall. I ended up blocking the app without giving it a try. I did not want to waste my time with anymore online games, as I was already playing Mafia Wars and a few other games on MySpace. Why would I want to join Farmville?

Then on March 2010, a friend of mine came over for the weekend and throughout the day she used my computer to check up on her farm, harvest her crops, take care of her animals, and get gifts. Though in the evenings, I told her I would take care of the farm for her during those hours. As I sat at the computer looking at her farm, I found this small game to be more fun than I thought it would be. That day I unblocked Farmville from my Facebook page started tending my farm. 

The game was simple in the beginning. The biggest goal of Farmville was to earn ribbons from the crops that you planted. You can also earn coins through the game by harvesting your corps, taking care of your animals or even going to your neighbor yards to help out there. It's easy to earn coins and you can get a lot of them. Then there's Farmville (FV) Cash. You can only earn FV Cash when you level up during the game; and you can only earn one FV Cash for each level. There is another way to earn FV Cash. Spend your actual money. That's right, Zynga wants you to spend real money on items to just place some where on your farm. 

Each Holiday there's a different feature display; such as the Gold Pot for St. Patty's day, the Easter Basket, a pumpkin basket for Halloween, a Thanksgiving table, and a Christmas Tree, along with a few other items for the down time when we don't have a Holiday. These keep people working together to send the needed items back and forth to each other to collect as much as we can to get the cool items offered. For Christmas the big item was the Snow Stallion in which you could only get when you collected 500 gifts or if it was gifted to you from someone who collected 500 gifts. A lot of work, but worth it for people who like to have the rare animals upon their farms, which is one of my favorite things about Farmville. Right now, horses are my favorite item as a friend online has taught me how to breed the horses.

My biggest reason for joining the game was to help my friend with her farm, as Farmville is a game in which you rely on neighbors, your facebook friends, to provide you with stuff needed on your farm. At this time, I already had found other friends and family members who were playing the game and got brought in for the fun. My friend abandoned their farm shortly after I got into it. I didn't want to just bail out on the other friends I knew that were part of the game; so I kept my farm and even would log into some other friends' accounts to help with their farm, including the same friend who got me started into the game. By Spring 2010, I was running seven farms on Farmville. Though this did not last for the summer as I found myself doing many other things and stopped planting my crops. All of the farms that I was working on came to a crawl. In September, I picked the game back up, and have been keeping more of a steady pace of mainly working on my own farm and only going to my friend's farm to help my account or other friends who are seriously playing.

What I find interesting about Farmville now is that it has changed in what the game is about. Instead of only focusing on your crops and taking care of the farm, they added new features to the game. Each farmer can start a business on their farm with a choice between three different types of businesses. I opened a Bakery and you use the crops you harvest to make things in your business and it goes up into an online market place that your friends can see what you're selling. They can buy one of whatever item they want that you sell a day, then the item they buy will be used for fuel to help with the tractors and seeders used on the farm. This business option has made it easier to get both coins and cash, as long as you have stuff up for sale in your market. Another new feature is co-op jobs, where people work together to beat a time limit in crops that they planted to get a certain amount. This feature brings farmers together in timing their crops, everyone relies on each other and there are cool bonus prizes of experience points, coins and items for each job. You can also earn ribbons for being most important player, starting the jobs, and more.

For the most part I do enjoy my time on Farmville. It didn't seem like much at first but as my farm grew and I got more friends involved I find it a nice way to spend some time online with friends. However, there are downfalls to Farmville. The biggest pet peeve of all is how much you have to post to your wall to help your friends. Some items in the farm you can only get by posting to your wall, which is why I've personally nick named the game Spamville.

For anyone interested in playing, but do not want to spam friends who are not a part of the game here is what I have done to prevent this. My Facebook is used a lot to promote Cowabunga Corner, or talking Turtles with fellow TMNT fans. I do not wish to flood my wall or these people with Farmville if that is not what they're interested in. So I started a group for friends, called Farmville. When ever I have to post something to my wall, which is almost all the time in the game, I choose the lock button and lock the post so only people in my farmville group can see the post. This way, I am not spamming a bunch of people who do not have interest in the game.

Farmville is a time killer for people who spend a lot of time on the internet. It's a lot like any of those other 'Ville type games put out by Zynga. It is not recommended for people who have young children, or are not home most of the day, do not enjoy time limits, and look for a challenge in every game. Like everything out there, if you're looking for something bad about the game, you will find it and it can become a pet peeve. Though if you're like me, who just likes to spend time with friends, willing to go the extra step to avoid spamming people who are not interested, and enjoy challenging yourself to see how many ribbons you can get. Than check out Farmville or any of Zynga's other games on Facebook.

The reason I say the game is not recommended for people with young children is because this game can be addicting. I've seen people get into games like this and let their kids take extra long naps, or just give the children a snack instead of a full size lunch. Others who decide to try and play the game that are good with their children end up finding they don't have time for the game and place it on a long pause. Most mothers I know who have young children that start the game, end up leaving it soon after. It is cute to have a farm to show the children on the computer. Though the time that this game can consume of someone can be better spent when you have little ones who rely on you.

One last warning, unless you have more free time and you're totally bored with life right now, it may be good to keep to only one Zynga game at a time. These do take up a lot of your day, esp if you're trying to do everything the game offers in a day. While these games can be fun, it's important to remember to take part in the real world too, and with too many Zynga games you may start to loose your time without realizing it as time flies when you're working on your farm or cafe.

Please feel free to comment with your thoughts about Zynga's different games. No bashing, though. If you have something negative to say about the games please be creative in expressing your reasons for how you feel. No one from Zynga has anything to do with Cowabunga Corner. The thoughts and views of the game expressed here are my own.

Entertainment Earth