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The Death of Facebook’s FarmVille Has Caused Outrage Among Die-Hard Fans

FarmVille is finished, and fans are upset about the deaths of the farms they put so much work in to.

Credit: GoodGame studios/Wikimedia

Papa’s Cupcakeria, Radioactive Teddy Bear Zombies, Super Meat Boy. What do these seemingly random string of adjectives and nouns have in common? They were all popular games on Adobe Flash Player, which was officially phased out on 31 December. With this, came the disappearance of a lot of popular online games. But the death of some games caused more mourning than others.

FarmVille, the Facebook game that allows you to create your own virtual ecosystem, complete with crops, cows, and “Farm Coins,” has caused outrage among die-hard fans. Though the game’s success only truly lasted from 2009, when it launched, to 2011, some people became addicted and just couldn’t let go.

But it wasn’t hard to get addicted to FarmVille. The game allowed for you to make friends online, who would become your farm neighbours. You could harvest and fertilise one another’s crops for Farm Coins. But you could also skip all the hassle of waiting to harvest your crops by spending your own cash and turning it to Farm Coins. The company behind FarmVille, Zynga, earned over £223 million through this tactic.

Though the game sank from Facebook’s most popular game in 2010 to its 116th most popular in 2016, a small community of fans remain addicted.

VICE did a series of interviews with prominent members of the FarmVille community.

Holland, 27, told VICE that he was so addicted to the game, his school principal, parents and teachers hosted an intervention for his digital addiction.

Credit:  dpa picture alliance archive / Alamy Stock Photo

Linda, 58, told VICE that she had been playing the game from the start. She uses it as an escape from everyday life. “I am a homebound disabled person,” she said. “FarmVille has been a way for me to ‘escape’ the pain I find myself consumed by, focus my mind on something that keeps me occupied and have something to be proud of.”

Linda also used the game to create art—everything from flowers and cats to Elvis. Zynga awarded her art as number one in many holiday competitions, and even liked a cake she designed so much that they began using it as an in-game reward players could win.

In some ways, FarmVille acts as a social network. Players initially could add only their Facebook friends as neighbours, but the platform soon upgraded to allow for anyone on Facebook to be neighbours. This ultimately resulted in a lot on full-time friendships.

Carol, 67, said the game provided her with a really strong support system. “I went through a really bad divorce and my daughter set me up on FarmVille,” she said. “Having to learn the ropes of being on a computer and playing this really dumb game I needed to concentrate on took my mind off 39 years of a shitty life. When you take evil out of the dark and expose it to the light, it shrivels up. And that’s a lot of what this game did for me. FarmVille literally saved my life.”

She told VICE that the people are more like family than an online gaming community. “I’ve laughed with them, celebrated the births of children and grandchildren with them and cried with them when someone we’ve come to know through FarmVille has passed on,” she says.

Some players have switched to the 2020 sequel FarmVille 2, or the two spin-offs, FarmVille 2: Country Escape and Farmville 2: Tropic Escape. All can be played on iOS and Android. FarmVille 3 is set to launch next year. Sadly, the hardcore FarmVille fans say the spin-off’s community features are poor, one of the biggest draws to the original.  

“I’ve been playing FarmVille Tropic Escape on my phone, but there’s no communication, no fellowship, no getting to know the other players,” explains Carol, adding: “A lot of us have talked on Facebook and said, what do we do now FarmVille is ending? How do we survive?”

Alex, a web developer, said he reached out to the Zynga CEO asking to swap Flash for a more sophisticated HTML5.

“We would just need four or five really talented developers,” he says. “There are enough people signing petitions, we could even do a GoFundMe sort of thing.”

But, for now, it looks like FarmVille is finished. A lot of fans are considering creating photo albums for their farms to immortalize them.

“I’ll always want to be able to go and look at her farm and show my daughter – this is the thing your granny built over the course of ten years,” Alex said.

So are you looking for new games to play now that FarmVille’s gone? Check out our list of 2020’s best video games here

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