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Hypertrophy 17 October 2009

Posted by cooperatoby in Uncategorized.
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I have joined the incredible 51 million people who are reputed to have started ploughing, seeding and harvesting virtual crops in Farmville. I have a small herd of pink cows that moo, chew and produce strawberry milk. I plant a biodiverse and photogenic range of crops, from pumpkins to red peppers, and I am not going for prairie-style monoculture just to get to the next level faster. Though it would be nice to have some more land, I have to wait 7 more levels for that.

Why and how has the game become so incredibly popular since its launch only 4 months ago? Because it combines a high number of attractive traits:
– cute graphics: you can look at your ‘farm’ as a sort of animated dolls’ house;
– the tamagochi effect: it’s something to care for. You have to harvest your crops befoere they wilt, and when you pet your animals they love you back. Sweet!
– the business model: there’s a trade-off between the cost of the seed, the time is takes to mature and there selling price off the crop that makes it more than just decorative;
– competition: your neighbours can see your wealth and the level you’ve reached, so if you like yoou can race them;
– social networking: the only reason I started was because my children-in-law invited me to (just so they can show off their flashy new crops all the time);
– identity: you can plant various national flags (indeed there was a minor diplomatic crisis after India’s flag was omitted);
– topical relevance: every so often special one-off items appear, like spooky trees to mark halloween.

Apparently 11 million virtual farmers go down to their fields every day. how long can it last?

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