FarmVille Game Poster Image

FarmVille

(i)

 

Popular farming sim needs Facebook friends or cash to grow.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn about collaboration and teamwork by playing this extremely well-developed social game that emphasizes reciprocity among neighbors. It's important to send gifts as well as receive them, and to help out neighbors that help you. FarmVille will appeal to kids who enjoy collecting things; the farming sim is bursting with hundreds of animals and crops to acquire, and fully customizable homesteads to display them on. However, completing means investing huge amounts of time or spending real-world cash. There’s no denying that FarmVille is socially fun, but its inaccurate portrayal of farming hinders its learning.

Positive messages

Many of FarmVille's quests involve helping out, whether it's tending friends' farms, gifting items, or rescuing lost animals.

Positive role models

There aren't as many characters to interact with in FarmVille compared to other sims like FrontierVille, but what characters there are all seem to be friendly and supportive. The game's publisher, Zynga, periodically runs charity drives through FarmVille that encourage players to donate money to real-world charities. In a Valentine's Day promotion, for example, players could buy exclusive virtual flowers and candies with the proceeds benefitting Save the Children.

Ease of play

Gameplay is simple to pick up, with everything explained in tutorials, and quests to guide the player along. That said, the sheer number of things to do and buy -- many of which are time-sensitive -- might feel overwhelming.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Animals can be bred to produce babies by dragging them into special nursery buildings. There's nothing graphic.

Language

Players can send and receive chat messages from neighbors, including strangers that they have added. Such messages may contain offensive language, but they can be reported.

Consumerism

Many exclusive items can only be purchased with a premium currency called Farm Cash, which costs real world money. Farm Cash can also be used to speed up the game, and play instant win minigames like slots and sweepstakes. The game frequently advertises limited-time sales, cross-promotions with other Zynga games, and promotional tie-ins with real-world companies like McDonald's and 7-Eleven. FarmVille is also relentless about prompting players to invite neighbors and share status updates on their Facebook walls.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

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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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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.

Game details

Platforms:Facebook
Subjects:Language & Reading: following directions
Science: animals
Hobbies: collecting
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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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old April 28, 2013

Terrible Scam

Horrible waste of your time and money. Once a guy left a party to check his crops. Really. A PARTY, just to play a stupid game!!!! I'm not against video games, but really. Why would you even bother with this piece of garbage??!!
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Teen, 17 years old Written byTheTrillonaire July 5, 2013

OK for kids 12+

Fun Facebook Game.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns

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