is a flash-based game
by Zynga Inc., available through Facebook
. You play a farmer, with a single farm (at first) consisting of isometric tiles
. You plow land, plant crops and trees, buy animals, and harvest them at regular intervals. You may also buy buildings, decorations, vehicles, and various other items, many of which are cosmetic rather than functional. The primary currency is "coins", which are earned through harvesting, completing achievements ("ribbons"), and assisting your neighbors. There is also a secondary currency called "Farm Cash" which is primarily purchased with real money, and is necessary to buy most of the really good stuff
. Through working on your farm and buying items, you earn experience, which in turn unlocks better items as you gain levels.
The game promotes socializing and sharing. Your ability to expand your farm is dependent on how many neighbors you have, so if you have Facebook friends who play FarmVille you will probably be getting a lot of neighbor requests from them. Other than that, there are many items that can only be obtained by having someone send them to you as a gift, and you can earn extra coins, experience, and items by visiting other farms and fertilizing their crops, feeding their chickens, and whatnot.
The game supports many playstyles; you can go for maximum coin earnings, maximum experience gain, become a collector, design your farm around any theme you can imagine, and/or compete in the weekly contests for best looking farm; and allows play in any desired intervals, mainly through having a variety of crops that harvest at different rates, from 2 hours to 5 days.
Updates to FarmVille have added additional minigames, including "co-op" quests to farm large quantities of crops in a limited time with help from your neighbors, and the Farmer's Market, which allows trading of "bushels" that can be used for a variety of temporary buffs or combined to manufacture consumable goods. New functional buildings are constantly being introduced, including the chicken coop, dairy farm, horse stable, nursery barn, beehive, garage, pigpen, orchard, duck pond, and sheep pen, which generally let you save space and simplify harvesting while also conferring a special bonusnote
Farmville is basically the Trope Codifier
and Genre Launch
for games in a social-networking environment: insane customization and collectability
, and progress requiring A Little Help from My Friends
. (Just a little
.) The formula works: Farmville has become so insanely popular that Blizzard Entertainment
has begun to consider it a competitor
to World of Warcraft
. And various other competitors
, such as an announced The Sims
It is a sister game to PetVille
, Fish Ville
, and City Ville
. It's not a well known fact, but Farmville is actually inspired by Happy Farm
, developed in China (which itself was inspired by Harvest Moon
). You would think it's usually the other way around.
This game provides examples of:
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife
- Anti-Poop Socking : You can sit there and obsessively farm berries all day for quick experience, but most crops ripen and most events occur in daily intervals - and the longer it takes, usually the more it's worth. (Although the game has added some vehicles recently to make poopsocking more possible.)
- Arcadia: Considering the only places you see in the entire game are farms, pastures and orchards, and everyone is an adorable little farmer in overalls...
- Bow Chicka Wow Wow: When sheep breeding was introduced; the sheep and the ram being bred are placed in a separate private part of the pen, and replaced with signs that say Baa Chicka Baa Baa.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: The game may be played entirely for free and is fully functional, but there are a whole host of cool items, shortcuts, and time savers available for those who shell out real money for Farm Cash, as opposed to the standard currency of Farm Coins. Farm Cash normally trickles in at the rate of one per level earnednote .
- Canine Companion
- Carnivore Confusion: None of the animals in the game are kept for slaughter. Somewhat understandable for some animals (cows are kept for milk, chickens are kept for eggs), but downright strange in other places. There is apparently no pork in this universe, as all pigs are used to gather truffles. Horses are not meant to be ridden: they are only there for collecting horsehair. Cats don't catch mice: they're only good at generating yarn, somehow.
- Cosmetic Award: Nearly every building and decoration, save a handful of functional ones, is there simply to make your farm look pretty.
- Cute Kitten: Cats and kittens can be obtained. They are absurdly cute.
- Dueling Games: With Farm Town, which FarmVille won. Both of these also bear strong similarities to the Harvest Moon series.
- Experience Points: Earned by doing just about everything[[note]plowing, planting most seeds (usually one or two points per plot), harvesting fertilized crops, finishing collections, fertilizing neighbors' crops, crafting goods, and even buying most decorations (generally 1 exp. per 100 coins spent, or 5-30 exp. per 1 cash spent)[[/note]], each level you gain unlocks new crops and items, and gives you 1 farm cash.
- Everythings Better With Llamas: Oh, it is.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: Yes, you can get penguins, direct from the North Pole.
- Follow the Leader: The modern "casual" / Facebook game started here: pop-up collectibles as both currency and crafting reagents; projects that go faster with (or even require) the help of your Facebook friends... Zynga may not have started this, but they are the ones who made it a billion dollar industry.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Take a shot whenever you log on and see that your on-farm Winery has started selling "Sweet Energy Drink" instead of Sake.
- Averted (for now) by the co-op missions you can start. They refer to the goods as, for example, "Bloody Mary Mix" rather than "Spicy Tomato Juice".
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The 2010 Christmas specials include a donkey with a mistletoe hat.
- Gotta Catch Them All: All the different types of trees, animals, buildings that you can construct and expand, miscellaneous decorations, collectibles, mastery signs for crops and goods and trees, and the 160 (and counting) ribbons...
- Holiday Mode: Many of the decorations (as well as some animals and crops) are limited edition, meaning they can only be bought for a few weeks after they're introduced, and then they become virtually impossible to get your hands on. Limited edition content is usually based around themes, with holidays being especially popular.
- In-Universe Game Clock: The game uses real world time. Make sure you harvest your crops on schedule, because they'll wither if you leave them alone twice as long as you're supposed to. Some daily activities (like buying goods and bushels) reset at midnight, while most daily activities (like harvesting your chicken coop) use a 23-hour timer that starts counting from the last time you used it.
- Isometric Projection
- It's Always Spring: Unless you buy the winter theme, which has no effect on gameplay.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: Sheep, cows, horses, ducks... nearly every animal has variations distinguished by color, and the color often determines the value of whatever you harvest from them. For example, brown cows give chocolate milk, which is worth 12 coins, compared to the 6 coins you get for the milk from ordinary white cows, but pink cows give strawberry milk, which is worth 18 coins, and certain cows obtained through breeding can have milk worth as much as 80 coins. Similarly, Rainbow chickens > Rhode Island Red > Scots Grey > Cornish > golden > black > brown > white.
- Messy Pig: Although the slop feeding part was removed from the game.
- Precious Puppies: Feed the dog with kibble to get him to stay and follow you around.
- Pretty Butterflies: There is a collection series of butterflies, and butterfly decorations.
- Randomly Drops: Mystery eggs and boxes give you random rewards, including some things you'd otherwise have to pay cash for. Never mind how that Pink Cottage got inside that egg...
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Normal farm animals, mostly (penguins?). But they are all ridiculously cute.
- Somewhere, a Palaeontologist Is Crying: There's a Brontosaurus in the market. Brontosaurus never existed, it should be Apatosaurus.
- The Movie: It seems impossible, but apparently they're making a movie adaptation.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Some players gush about the cuteness of the foals, lambs, etc. Many get so devoted to their farms that they'll drop everything and rush to the computer if they realize they're due to harvest some lovingly-planted crops. Then there are puppies, which have to be fed regularly for a couple weeks, and once they grow up, you can teach them tricks.