I am about a week into playing my first online game on Facebook. It is a social game, and with only one friend also playing it I am not going to get rich quick, but it is fun.
FarmVille is a Flash-based game. You could call it a very simplified version of the Sim games that I never played, but my son grew up with. Stuff like Sim City and Roller Coaster Tycoon, for example, was part of his childhood. (Sadly, he's moved on to various Third Person Shooter games.)
In FarmVille, you build a farm. You start out with some crops the game planted for you, so you can immediately harvest for money. At that point you are on your own, unless you have friends. You start at level 1. You pay "coin" to plow your land, but get experience points. Then, you plant your crops. Then you harvest, but you have to time it because if you wait too long, the crops wither.
At the beginning it's easy to move up to higher levels The higher the level, more crops are unlocked, and you can start adding animals, trees (their crops don't spoil) buildings and so forth.
If you have "neighbors" (friends that are playing the game) you can "gift" each other, fertilize each others' plants, and gain points chasing away critters and other tasks the game assigns you. You can buy limited edition animals and decorations. You can buy barns, villas, and tractors.
There are achievement ribbons, the opportunities to put animals that have wandered onto your farm out for adoption, and so forth. You can even take a picture of your farm.
And, the animals make really cool sounds. If you have young kids, I think this would be a fun game to play with them. Maybe when I have grandchildren....
You would be surprised (I was, anyway) to find out how much is written on FarmVille. People really get into this, calculating with spreadsheets which crops are the most useful at various stages of the game to gain experience points or profit. People have written guides to the game.
I don't know how long I am going to keep with this, but soon, when I am online, it will help pass the time when that bitter Upstate NY winter finally hits.
(and who knows, one day they may give out ribbons for organic farming and sustainable farming practices....one can dream.)