||The lead section of this article may need to be rewritten. (May 2013)|
|Release date(s)||Facebook (Friday 19 June 2009)
HTML5 (Thursday 13 October 2011)
|Mode(s)||Single-player with multiplayer interaction|
FarmVille is a farming simulation social network game developed by Zynga in 2009. It is similar to Happy Farm, Farm Town, and video games such as the Harvest Moon series. Gameplay involving various aspects of farm management such as plowing land, planting, growing, and harvesting crops, harvesting trees and raising livestock.
A sequel, FarmVille 2, was released in September 2012.
It is available as an Adobe Flash application via the social-networking website Facebook and Microsoft's MSN Games, and was for a time available as an app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The game is a freemium game, meaning there is no cost to play but players have the option of purchasing premium content. It was once the most popular Facebook game, however recently has seen a decline in popularity. As of May 2012, FarmVille was the seventh most popular Facebook game by Daily Active Users.
Upon beginning a farm, the player first creates a customizable avatar which may be changed at any point.
The player begins with an empty farm and a fixed starting amount of "farm coins", the primary currency in the game. Players also earn XP (experience points) for performing certain actions in the game such as plowing land or buying items. At certain XP benchmarks, the player's level rises. As the player obtains more items and progresses through levels, crops and animals become available to them via the "market" where items can be purchased using either farm coins or "farm cash". Farm cash is earned by leveling up or completing offers, or purchased for real money.
The main way a player earns farm coins is through harvesting of crops or visiting their neighbors. The player does this by paying coins for plowing a unit of land and for planting crops, such as tomatoes on it, finally harvesting them after a certain amount of time has elapsed. The amount of time it takes for a crop to mature, and how much money a crop yields when harvested, is dependent on the crop planted and is noted on its entry in the "market" dialog. They will wither, or they will be of no use when a crop-specific amount of time has elapsed, the amount of time being equal to 2.5 times the amount of time taken to grow the crop (for example, crops which take 8 hours to grow will wither after 2.5×8=20 hours). However, a player can use farm cash to purchase an "unwither" to rejuvenate the crops or can use a biplane with "instant grow" to cause crops to be immediately available for harvest. Although the biplane can be purchased with coins, this special feature is only available for farm cash. As a player levels up more, crops with a higher payoff and economy will become available. Sometimes a crop will need a permit that costs FC in order to be planted.
A player may also buy or receive from friends livestock and trees or bushels, such as cherry trees or chickens, which do not wither but instead become ready for harvest for preset amounts of money a set amount of time from their last harvest. Trees and livestock cannot die.
Each player has a main "home" farm and a number of specially themed farms. Each themed farm has a different range of crops, trees, decorations, etc. available, and some have a permanent feature that can be periodically harvested for coins or resources.
The themed farms, in order of introduction, are:
- English Countryside
- Lighthouse Cove
- Winter Wonderland
- Hawaiian Paradise
- Jade Falls
- Haunted Hollow
- Mistletoe Lane
- Sunflower Meadows (mini farm)
- Lavender Meadows (mini farm) (not released)
- Anglers Pond (mini farm)
- Enchanted Glen
- Hanging Gardens
- Celestial Pastures
- Sweet Acres
- Mystical Groves
- Holiday Lights
Like most Zynga games, FarmVille incorporates the social networking aspect of Facebook into many areas of gameplay. Recently FarmVille has allowed players to add neighbors that are not Facebook friends, thus allowing the player to have many neighbors at hand. Players invite friends or other players that are not Facebook friends to be their neighbors, allowing them to perform five actions on each other's farms per day by "visiting" it. Neighbors may also send gifts and supplies to each other, complete specialized tasks together for rewards, and join "co-ops" - joint efforts to grow a certain amount of certain crops. Gifts are sent as mystery gifts with expensive, but random items, special deliveries with building supplies, or by choosing a particular item to send. They cost the sending user nothing. For FarmVille's 2nd birthday, a series of different mystery gifts were added to the Gifts Page.
Decorations can be purchased in the market for coins or cash or can be sent in the form of free gifts. Decorations include many items like buildings, hay bales, fences, nutcrackers, gnomes, flags, topiaries, etc. There are sometimes limited edition items depending on the theme such as a Valentine's Day theme, Halloween theme, winter theme, etc. Decorations also give experience points (XP) depending on the cost. During the summer, Zynga releases an event called "The 7 Days Of Summer", where they re-release a different theme every 24 hours.
FarmVille has added several expansions over the game's lifetime, where players farm in new locales that include English Countryside, Lighthouse Cove, Winter Wonderland, Hawaiian Paradise, Jade Falls, Haunted Hollow, Mistletoe Lane, Enchanted Glen, Atlantis, and most recently, Hanging Gardens, Australia, Celestial Pastures, Sweet Acres, and Mystical Groves
FarmVille was named one of the "The 50 Worst Inventions" in recent decades by Time magazine due to it being "the most addictive of Facebook games", yet also simply a "series of mindless chores on a digital farm".
In a December 2010 interview with Gamasutra, game designer Jonathan Blow criticized FarmVille for being designed to create an atmosphere of negativity, requiring an unprecedented commitment to the game, and encouraging users to exploit their friends.
Martha Stewart criticized the game on several episodes of her TV program Martha, chastizing fans of the game among her staff and audience for preferring to waste their time on virtual farming instead of actual gardening.
FarmVille runs in-game partnerships where users can visit another company's farm and/or buy or receive items with their logo and colors. For example, as of June 9, 2011, users could get free McDonald's hot air balloons, McCafe products, and the ability to visit McDonalds' farm. Other brand partnerships have included  Discover Card, Cascadian Farm, Megamind, Farmers Insurance, Bing, and 7-Eleven. FarmVille also offers engagement advertising where users can interact with a brand in exchange for free farm cash through an ad platform called SVnetwork
FarmVille released an animated short titled A Very FarmVille Christmas in December 2011.
On June 26, 2012, FarmVille 2 was unveiled, and was subsequently released in September 2012. It differs from the original FarmVille in a number of ways:
- Graphics are more animated and in perspective projection, rather than the isometric projection of the original.
- The crop-growing cycle is plant–water–wait–harvest – there is no need to plow previously-used plots before using them again. In order to water, the player must have adequate water available. Water is automatically credited to the player at intervals up to a maximum capacity, and can also be harvested from wells or received from friends. Trees must also be watered before they will produce fruit.
- Harvested crops and other resources no longer immediately credit the player with coins; rather, they go to the player's inventory. These stored resources can then be sold for coins or used to craft goods. Most crops (but not crafted goods or animal resources) can also be used to make animal feed, which must be given to animals in order that they will produce resources.
In 2012, Zynga, in conjunction with Hasbro, released several kids' "Animal Games" based on FarmVille under the "Hasbro Gaming" imprint. These include versions of Memory (in a "Disco Dancing Sheep" pouch), Go Fish (in a "Groovy Chicken" pouch), Old Maid (in a "Rockstar Cow" pouch), and Hungry Hungry Herd (a redux of Hungry Hungry Hippos with the characters Gobbling Horse, Munching Pig, Snacking Sheep and Chomping Cow replacing the Hippos in the original game).
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