In November, my friend “Mary” invited me over and showed me her current outlet for fun–the Facebook application Farmville. She needed just a few more neighbors to be able to expand her farm, she explained. I empathized and said I’d log in for her sake, but wouldn’t do much beyond that.
I was wrong.
Over the past three months, I have done the following:
• Left home, only to panic five minutes later as I realized I hadn’t harvested my raspberries and they would die before my return. (No, I did not go back.)
• Left a delightfully warm bed for a freezing cold living room, to harvest my virtual soybeans.
• Experienced lengthy wrist pain, potentially from the repetitive motion of harvesting Farmville crops in a non-ergonomic way. (No, I’m not kidding.)
• Spent more time than I care to admit on Farmville, taking several breaks per day to check up on my or others’ farms.
This morning while reading a NY Times story about pre-teens being able to obtain actual credit through online games, I kept asking myself “Who would do such a thing? Who would even play these games?” Then I got to the mention of Farmville (10th paragraph), and my stomach sank.
Although I haven’t purchased anything, the truth remains that this game has become an addiction, making me just as sad as any teenybopper who would go to 7-11 to pay for a sack of monkey chow for her 21st century Tamagotchi.
The time I spend distracted by whether or not my crops are ready could be spent working on the New York Times Crossword, which expands my vocabulary and problem-solving skills. Or writing. Or simplifying. Or working on one of the many projects I otherwise seem to not have enough time for!
Farmville is barely even fun anymore–I used to find much amusement in the cacophony of barnyard animal sounds, but now I just mute my computer while I’m using the game. Ascending levels or developing crop mastery gets more difficult the further you go, deflating one’s motivation. The assumption is you’ll expand your farm size as often and early as possible–but what about those of us who prefer to keep a family farm rather than own an electronic version of a scary factory farm? (Eco-alert! This is the real-life product of such setup: an enormous dung pool that pollutes all nearby waterways! Funny how you never see that on Farmville, eh?)
Therefore, as soon as this blog post is posted, I am harvesting my last cranberries, scaring the crows away from my neighbors’ farms one more time, and then hanging up my overalls. I’ll miss “my cute little ass” (his name is Donkey-Hohtee)…but that’s about all.
See you on the other side!