Sunday, February 28, 2010
Much Ado about Farmvlle
You can’t please everyone, but Zynga’s “Farmville” has managed to make an estimated 75 million people happy; and that is despite the fact it can be as buggy as I’m supposed to be when I get old (according to a recent Facebook quiz, “What kind of demented old lady will you be?”)
Just like all popular things, Zynga games have drawn fire from other Facebook users in the form of groups like “I don’t care about your farm, your mafia family or your fish-tank,” even though there are blocks people can set on their accounts so they don’t have to see what are apparently unsightly posts asking for fertilizer or announcing free Mystery Eggs. I wouldn’t know how to activate those blocks; I like watching people’s walls for what they’re really like. I don’t need to pretend that humanity is smarter or uses their time more efficiently than they do.
In my first days on Facebook, I drew fire myself for playing too many of the silly quizzes. I work a job that has a lot of waiting until I have to do the next thing. Anything, from books to DVDs or Netflix to Farmville or quizzes on Facebook, that fills that empty, “I’m stuck here, but I have to wait until I can do something” time is much appreciated. My posts, however, weren’t appreciated by everyone and I was cut by at least one “friend” because he felt I wasn’t doing the work I was supposed to be doing.
Truthfully, I avoided Farmville myself for quite awhile. I had been stung by a Mafia Wars “invite list” phish on Twitter - not once, but twice. After feeling foolish and having to tell hundreds of people that I didn’t actually have a mafia crime family, I was hesitant to click on almost anything. But friends who were playing Farmville kept sending me chickens, goats and cows, and it has often been pointed out to me that, at heart at least, I am quintessentially a people pleaser. So I just had to send apple trees, picket fences, and rabbits back to them.
Now a level 34, with the largest plantation currently available, I must admit I find (and found) Farmville posts on walls far less disturbing than all of the remarks of “insomnia,” “societal rage,” (the equivalent to road rage, but aimed at anything else from that annoying co-worker to the unhelpful salesclerk,) or a generalized depression that is evident daily at Facebook. I also have to admit that I find Farmville a delightful, adult equivalent to finger-painting or coloring books; and I wonder, if more people played Farmville, would all that depression subside?
Certainly there would be fewer bumper stickers begging, “Don’t be a hater.”
And yet, alas, there will always be haters. For anything you enjoy doing, do it with extra zeal, because for each and every one of you, there are at least three people who hate it and another one who hates you for doing it. It is simply what the haters enjoy the most; just like all those Farmville players seem to love those Mystery Eggs.
As for me, I like to watch. The haters, the players, the poor depressed souls - it is all part of the human ant-farm that we know as the internet. No one part is less “human” than another; although whether or not they are “humane” is another story.
And as for Zynga? If you happen to decide to go public, I’d like to see you release at least 100 shares in one of those wonderful Gold Mystery Eggs.
That would be something to watch.
And play for. . .