Along with 69 million other users, I’ve been playing Farmville on Facebook for a couple of months. A simple point and click petri-dish game, Farmville by Zynga starts you off with a modest plot of land and a bit of Farmville (FV) coinage. You buy seeds, animals, trees, buildings, decorations, and seasonal items. You watch your seeds mature into flowers, fruits or vegetables, and harvest fully grown crops for more FV coins. You use FV coins to plow and plant. Some crops are worth more than others, take longer to fully grow but all will wither and become worthless if you let full plants sit too long. So the game has built-in incentives to return daily (if not hourly) to check on your progress. You can add neighbors (other Facebook friends with the Farmville app installed), gain experience points to level up which allows you greater access to high-yield crops, expand your land, decorate and redecorate, move things around, sell items, buy items, fertilize your friend’s farm, browse “special” items in the market and, if you are really into FV, use real cash to buy FV dollars for more expensive items.
There has been some controversy over how Zynga cajoels users to pay real money for FV cash, with a lawsuit now pending. I’m suspicious of all Facebook apps for liberal data sharing settings and the annoying ads, but Farmville play is free and casual. Like many users, I feel this is a small price to pay for a mildly amusing distraction. I was never tempted to buy FV cash. But now I’m ready to give up the farm. The leveling limitations of not paying real cash for FV bills and the monotony of plowing, planting, harvesting and plowing have brought me to the end of fun.
I could play Bubble Breaker for months and, perhaps, years to come. This simple, casual game gives me a new challenge every time I refresh the game board. I’m not challenged by Farmville. It reminds me of playing The Sims. Once I figured out the game mechanics, the promotional structure, bought the fancier furniture, arranged and rearranged, fell in love and broke hearts, I was bored. Expansion packs kept me going for a while, but eventually it was just more of the same.
Farmville has run its course for me. I hear that taking care of marine life over at Fishville is fun for a while.
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