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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that FarmVille is one of the most popular and well-established games on the Facebook social network. The farming sim is technically free to play, though players won't get far unless they have a large network of neighbors to exchange goods with, or they're willing to pay real-world cash to unlock certain buildings, quests, and items. FarmVille lets players invite strangers to become neighbors without actually becoming their Facebook friend -- a great feature that cuts down on the privacy concerns associated with "friending" strangers on Facebook. However, those new neighbors can still send private messages within the game. Some kids find the game to be quite addicting.
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What's it about?
Since its launch, FarmVille has evolved beyond a simple crop-growing and animal-husbandry sim to offer hundreds of quests and diversions, collectibles, minigames, and exotic \"destination farms\" to ensure that players are never stuck with nothing to do. Players build a farm from the ground up and then continue to tend it and watch it grow, but the real prestige comes from acquiring coveted, limited-edition animals and decorations through quests or by spending real money on them, and earning ribbons for achieving in-game milestones.
Is it any good?
FarmVille has all the best and worst qualities of social games. It heavily encourages teamwork between friends, and has put privacy safeguards in place to let players seek out other FarmVille fans as neighbors without opening up their Facebook wall to the eyes of strangers. However, the game is relentlessly viral, with constant prompts to invite neighbors, share status updates, spend cash, and call on friends for help. The constant stream of new content helps to keep the game fresh and interesting, but some players might find it overwhelming as they struggle to keep up. Plus, FarmVille has quests that try to keep you in the game or returning often, such as crops that wither unless tended to, and quests with time limits. This is the kind of game that can easily become a time-sink (and money-sink, too), so players should always be careful to know their limits.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the differences between farming in FarmVille versus farming in the real world. How long would it take to grow real crops? How difficult is it really to take care of an animal?
Families can also talk about the importance of maintaining online privacy when playing social games. What are the dangers of adding friends through Facebook? What should kids do if they receive inappropriate chat messages in a game?
In what ways does FarmVille try to entice players to spend more time in the game? (i.e. quests with time limits, new content, rewards for days of consecutive play, crops that wither if not tended in time). Families can talk about how to best manage video game playing time limits.
- Platforms: Facebook
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, teamwork
Responsibility & Ethics: respect for others
- Price: Free with Microtransactions
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Zynga
- Release date: June 19, 2009
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Horses and Farm Animals, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: NR
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.