A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that FrontierVille is a pioneer-themed simulation game played on the Facebook social network. Having neighbors -- other Facebook friends who are also playing the game -- is essential to advancing in FrontierVille. FrontierVille is free to play, and players can enjoy most of what it has to offer without ever having to pay real-world money, but the option to do so is a constant temptation since it allows players to speed up quests and purchase exclusive items. The gameplay can be quite addicting.
- Parents say
- Kids say
If you're okay with sexual innuendo, even though some kids may not "get it," then I suppose it would be okay.
What's it about?
FRONTIERVILLE is a simulation game from Zynga that takes the basic farming and animal husbandry elements of FarmVille and builds upon them significantly. The player's goal is to build a frontier town from the ground up by clearing away trees and debris, constructing buildings (like a barn, chicken coop, schoolhouse, general store, and barber shop), laying down roads, and eventually starting a family and welcoming other characters to the town.
Is it any good?
FrontierVille feels a lot like FarmVille 2.0. It's just as relentlessly viral as other top social games, with frequent prompts to invite friends, buy Horsehoes (the game's premium currency purchased with real money), and post updates to friends' walls. However, the gameplay feels much more like a traditional online role-playing game thanks to a greater focus on collectibles, badges, and quests that give the player specific goals to complete and introduce story arcs and new characters to the frontier.
The social features of FrontierVille are quite robust. Players can visit neighbors' homesteads to tend their animals and crops or clear debris, or hire neighbors to work on their own homesteads. The gifting of free items between friends is also essential in completing buildings and quests. FrontierVille can certainly be addictive; but the variety of things to do, coupled with frequent updates, gives players plenty of reason to keep logging in besides a simple compulsion to click on crops.
Online interaction: Neighbors are essential in FrontierVille, and players benefit from having as many neighbors as possible. Some items can only be unlocked by having a certain number of neighbors, and most of FrontierVille's quests have a gifting component that requires players to send items to each other. Although FrontierVille doesn't have a built-in way of adding strangers as Facebook friends like CityVille does, there is a temptation to ask for neighbors and items through online message boards, which can give strangers access to private info on your Facebook page.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role that neighbors play in the game. Why do you think it was so important in the pioneer days to be able to rely on your neighbors?
Do you think FrontierVille is an accurate portrayal of frontier life? Why or why not?
In what ways does FrontierVille try to entice players to spend more time in the game? (i.e. timed missions, badges that reward 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.
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