About two years ago, I decided to take a journey into the land of Farmville, at the time an incredibly popular Facebook game that I loved to make fun of, but hadn’t actually played.
My time spent their was filled with boredom, but also a creeping addiction despite the game itself being relatively shit.
It faded from popularity, but now, Farmville 2 is out and I read that is has 40 MILLION monthly players. What’s happened to revitalize interest in the title again? I aimed to find out with another week of play.
But…I lasted half an hour. That’s long it took me to get a complete sense of what I was dealing with, a better looking but even more obnoxious version of the first game that practically begs you every two minutes to either spend money or convince your friends to play. Here goes:
10:00 – Walked through a tutorial by Marie, my hottie with a body farm mentor. Or she could be like eleven, hard to tell with this creepy animation style.
10:02 – Notice that my farmer looks suspiciously like me. Did you do some photo recognition shit with my profile Zynga, or are all your default farmers brunettes with dark eyebrows?
10:03 – Asked to share achievements on my wall five times and invite friends twice within three minutes of playing the game.
10:05 – You simply can’t avoid being asked to invite friends to play. Four times now. This is how these games spread like viruses. At least they’re not all over the news feed anymore. Facebook got pissed at Zynga for doing that eventually.
10:07 – Got an achievement for zooming my view in and out. If I got up to take a piss, I bet I’d come back and find an achievement for that.
10:08 – Stopped being able to do shit after about eight minutes. Crops be growin’ slow now.
10:10 – Just kidding, for reasons unknown, the game fast forwarded time to make my four hour long wheat plants sprout immediately. Cheaters.
10:13 – Look, it’s your friend Amber Midlemiss coming down the road! OH SHIT THANKS FARMVILLE, LET’S TELL THE GIRL I HAD A CRUSH ON FIFTH GRADE THAT I NEED HER TO WATER MY PLANTS
10:15 – Well, she showed up and made my blueberries sprout instantly (an odd euphemism), but she was a guy in a trucker hat, so that’s weird. Is it seriously going to let this girl know I had her fondle my crops? I didn’t even actually press anything to ask her to come.
10:18 – These chickens get hungry every two freaking seconds. You better watch it assholes or you’re going to be roasted and served with some blueberries.
10:20 – Marie is the endless taskmaster. All business, no play. Sell some eggs! Build a scarecrow! Plant a lemon tree! Just when you finish one thing, there are five more things to do. Marie is an evil hydra, it seems. This is skinner box gameplay at its absolute worst. I’m surprised it just doesn’t make me click my mouse 10,000 times for a food pellet to pop out of my disc drive.
10:25 – Now I’ve run out of water to water my crops presumably because I’ve displeased the lord. Now the game wants me to sell all my shit so I can buy a well. Fine, but wait, I need a friend to help me build the well. GODDAMNIT FARMVILLE.
10:30 – Alright, I’m calling it. Thirty minutes. I can’t even do a week long experiment this time as this game has me on overload already. The long in short of it is that it’s the same as the old game with better animation and more shit to do to make you feel like you’re being productive when you’re really just endlessly slaving away over nothing. I realize that technically all video games are like that, but it takes a special kind of something to be satisfied by a yard full of lemon trees and baby goats. But to each their own I suppose. It’s just that other games aren’t constantly pestering me to beg my friends for stuff or pay to move things along.
Halo: “You’ve run out of a plasma grenades, ask your friends for another?”
Skyrim: “Pay 50 Skyrim bucks ($200) to graduate to level 100 smithing?”
Assassin’s Creed: “Brush against 50 civilians, pet 20 dogs and kill 12 rabbits to unlock the next mission.”
I just can’t handle games like this, and no matter how popular they get, I don’t think that will ever change.