Saturday, November 21, 2009

Organic FarmVille?

I have become one of the many FarmVille addicts on Facebook.  I am writing this blog entry in while waiting for raspberries and strawberries to ripen.

I've read that FarmVille is now one of the most popular online games ever.  It is a Sim-type game where you build a farm and gain "coins" and "experience points" by plowing, planting and harvesting crops.  (If you don't come back in time?  Well your crops wilt and you lose that harvest.)

You can also buy and "harvest" animals and trees.  You can purchase buildings, tractors, and decorations.  And, if you have friends playing as your "neighbors", you can help them and they help you in turn, which gains you more coins and experience.  In fact, the way the game is structured, you really need to have friends in order to progress.  You send each other gifts (animals, trees, decorations and more), many of which are obtainable only as gifts.  You periodically have the opportunity to "fertilize" each others crops with "super gro".  The game gives you periodic opportunities to do "work" on their farms, too.

Like any good game, you progress through levels.  As you level up, more features of the game are unlocked.

All of your actions are recorded and you can earn "ribbons" for certain things.  The game then gifts you even more coins, experience points and gifts.

So, what's there not to like?  Not much really but I could wish for a more organic/substainable agricultural experience.  It would be really nice if we could, on FarmVille....

1.  Buy various breeds of chickens, pigs, ducks, cows, turkeys and geese- not just a "generic" animal.  I'd love my chicken coop to contain Redcaps, Silver Spangled Hamburg, and Dominique chickens.   Or how about being able to buy or gift Pilgrim Geese?  or Bourbon Red turkeys?  How colorful would that be? (I did own some of these breeds. Scary to see how endangered some of them are now, and I am not in a position to own them any more. )
2.  Buy heritage apple trees, not just an apple tree.  Imagine growing Black Arkansas, Pippin, Banana, Ten Ounce or Quince apples.  Ditto for other type trees;
3.  Fertilize our friends' farms, if we choose, with compost;
4.  Be able to purchase windmills, waterwheels, solar panels, and other alternate energy equipment to run our barns, wells, and equipment; and
5. Be able to purchase and grow "wild trees and fruits":  pawpaws, elderberries, quince, wild persimmons (I had wild persimmons on my land in Arkansas), wild strawberries, lowbush blueberries.

No, I don't want FarmVille to preach.  So maybe just offer some of these as special, limited time things to buy (as they do with other "seasonal" items.)  So then, if people become curious, they can do the research.

The developers of FarmVille know just what they are doing.  I think these ideas would increase the fun.  So, how about it?

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