FarmVille on Facebook

Website review by
Carla Thornton, Common Sense Media
FarmVille on Facebook Website Poster Image

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Facebook farm game requires real cash to bear fruit.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 40 reviews

A lot or a little?

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Positive Messages

By rewarding diligent "farmers" with the opportunity to amass ever more wealth and bigger spreads, the game teaches a work ethic, albeit an accelerated virtual one, in which farming empires can be built in a week or two. Zynga, the maker of FarmVille, encourages players to share their real-world wealth by buying virtual goods for charity, a growing trend in social networking games. In October 2009 the company gave half its proceeds from virtual sweet potato sales -- over $300,000 -- to charities in Haiti. 

Violence
Sex
Language

Some salty language and mildly racy comments about farm animals in forum posts.

Consumerism

Google text ads, some of them a little sleazy, run down the right side of some pages, and the online store sells FarmVille T shirts, coffee cups, key chains, and other cheap items.  But kids are more likely to obsess with the game's virtual economy. Visiting the market to buy seeds, animals, and other farm equipment is addictive. Some items, such as gas for the tractor, require Farm Cash, which is hard to earn by simply playing the game. It's easier to just buy Cash with real money, $1 for six virtual dollars, or earn it filling out forms on partner sites that offer auto insurance and credit cards.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that FarmVille is available only to members of the popular -- but not always child-friendly -- Facebook, and that's why we rate it iffy for young teens. The game itself is clean, safe, and loads of fun, if not especially educational. In FarmVille players plow, plant, and harvest crops to earn virtual coins, raise animals and improve their farmsteads with fences, windmills, and other objects. The more Facebook friends a player can convince to become FarmVille neighbors, the bigger and more successful the farm will be. There's just one catch: FarmVille starts out free, but players eventually have to spend real money -- or shop third-party sponsors like insurance companies -- to acquire all the virtual pieces of the game.

 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byCooldee June 11, 2011

Farmville is great!

I love Farmville because I can harvest crops, plan ahead and see what crops I need to work on, and it is so much fun!
Adult Written byhoobs February 23, 2011
this is only a 14+ 'cos Facebook is 13+
Kid, 10 years old December 2, 2011

Its okey, if you have lots of money.

I've played it before, its a good game. Do you want to know why I suggest its a ' Don't Bother ' Star? You need to pay. Pay. Pay. Pay!! Kids... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 6, 2011

I don't do Facebook, I knew someone that did though.

If this game wasn't on Facebook 10 yr olds could play it. Farm-ville will teach you about math and responsibility This game is fairly easy, but can get bor... Continue reading

Is it any good?

This viral Facebook game has millions of monthly users, and for good reason. It's really, really fun. Players start out small with a few plots tended by an overalled avatar that walks down the rows and uses a hoe. Harvesting crops, which take from two hours to four days to grow, earn experience points, which in turn unlock more farm objects for purchase. Bit by bit, players create sprawling properties studded with mooing cows, blossoming fruit trees, quaint farmhouses and acres of thriving crops such as juicy strawberries and golden wheat fields. FarmVille's semi-automatic (you can cancel them) Facebook updates will annoy friends who aren’t farmers. And the game's not really free; the special points needed to fully outfit a farm are so hard to earn you almost have to pull out a credit card. But the game is mesmerizing and hard to abandon.

Online interaction: Fellow players are Facebook friends. Players can visit each other's farms and leave short messages, which are indicated onscreen as cute signposts. Offensive messages can be reported to moderators. Players can also ask each other to help out, such as raking leaves or shooing away foxes, but these are canned messages generated by the system. The game has a message board, which we found to be a mostly helpful and civil exchange of tips.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Discuss how some online games can appear to be free but actually cost something if you want to keep playing. How does FarmVille hook players? (Hint: the tractors can be purchased with the game's virtual coins but require gas bought with "cash", special points the game urges players to buy with real-world money.)

  • In a welcome if calculated trend, social networking games are donating part of their income from virtual goods to charities. Does this make kids want to play the game more? Is this a good or bad thing?

  • How is virtual farming in FarmVille different from the real thing? How much time and care does it really take to grow a crop and how do the fruits and vegetables reach our dinner plates? Would a real farm have such fanciful items as a baby elephant and a hot air balloon?

Website details

For kids who love doing good

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