A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that CityVille is a fun building simulation game that is played exclusively through the Facebook social network. It's free to play, but also allows players to buy in-game coins to advance faster. The more Facebook friends that a player has playing the game, the faster he/she can advance through the mutual rewards of interaction with neighboring cities. The game also allows you to "friend" strangers and chat with them.
What's it about?
CITYVILLE by Zynga is a simple building simulation game in which you to build a city from the ground up, by placing streets, sidewalks, houses, community buildings, businesses, and parks. You also interact with other cities yielding rewards for yourself and the city you interact with. The goal is to grow your city and increase its population. Franchising businesses also yields rewards for both parties, so the social aspect of this game can be rather far reaching. Friends who play CityVille do not automatically become a neighbor but must be invited and must accept to be included in the social circle.
The social aspect of CityVille is also seen in the sending of free gifts to one another. Players can send gifts to their friends, whether they play Cityville or not. Some gifts are decorative, while others are essential for the completion of buildings. Some gifts, such as Energy and Building Permits, assist in advancing in the game.
Is it any good?
CityVille by Zynga is built off its success with FarmVille, FrontierVille, and CafeWorld. As a building simulation game, it can be used as a tool to teach decision-making and simple economics -- which trade route or crop brings you the best yield, or which business is the most profitable if franchised, for example. However, the game can be very addictive as it provides very simple action/reaction type rewards. Interaction with another city can reward the player with coins, experience points, reputation points, energy, and resources. Energy is the most important item in the game as most click actions require energy, including building anything, collecting rents, and even harvesting crops.
You gain energy over time and can earn it by visiting neighbors, having it be gifted, or buying it (with real money). In the early stages of the game, where a player might have only 10 buildings and farm plots to interact with, this is hardly an issue, but as the player's city grows, the need for energy becomes more urgent. Players will either have to create a large circle of neighbors or purchase energy in order to advance in the game -- the former can create privacy problems if players "friend" strangers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about online privacy and staying safe while online. Why do you want to add so many friends when you don't know these people? Can the game be played without 50 other friends?
Families can also talk about the privacy features on Facebook that can be used to prevent strangers from reading their posts and seeing their photographs. Player might want to create a separate list, adding people onto it that are barred from seeing photographs, and setting the chat function to offline to prevent unwanted contact.
Families can also discuss actual city planning. Is it a good idea to build a Tavern and Pool Hall next to the elementary school and playground? Why is it a good idea to have greenspace in a city?
- Platforms: Facebook
- Subjects: Social Studies: citizenship, the economy
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, teamwork
Communication: friendship building
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Zynga
- Release date: December 1, 2010
- Genre: Simulation
- ESRB rating: NR for Not Rated
For kids who love simulation games
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