Game Development Reference
Additionally, in contrast to some games that require hours of focused atten-
tion just to get up to speed, FarmVille is designed to be easy to grasp almost
immediately. Of course, every game has experts who make it to higher levels
than some, and FarmVille is no different, but anyone — including you! — can
become a farming veteran if he or she just keeps playing.
The challenge of self-improvement and competition
How do you beat FarmVille? Easy answer: You don't. Rather than display a
final challenge and a “Congratulations, you win!” screen signaling the end of
the game, FarmVille features a never-ending cycle of farm-tending for its own
That doesn't mean the game doesn't have any goals, though. The possibilities
for self-improvement are nearly endless, depending on what aspects of the
game are most important to you. Some farmers might want to gain experi-
ence points and reach higher levels as quickly as possible. Others may focus
on amassing as many items as they can. Still others may focus on growing
and mastering all the crops, or amassing a fortune in Farm Coins, or earning
every possible ribbon. What you do with your FarmVille experience is largely
up to you. Improving your statistics for their own sake is all well and good,
but many farmers also turn FarmVille into a competition with their friends,
battling to reach ever-higher accomplishments before their neighbors do.
Keeping up with the Joneses applies just as much in the virtual realm as the
real world, and many FarmVille players take beating their neighbors to that
next goal incredibly seriously.
Social gaming and FarmVille
Although FarmVille can technically be played
as a single-player game, it takes advantage
of Facebook's social networking framework
to encourage interaction with other players.
Socializing with other players by visiting their
farms, sharing gifts, and participating in cooper-
ative jobs is one of the keys to getting the most
out of the game. This focus on social interaction
puts FarmVille at the forefront of a new trend
called social gaming.
Simply defined, a social game is any game with
social interaction. Although social gaming isn't
an entirely new concept, it has recently become
one of the hottest sectors of the video game
industry. Because of the success of games such
as FarmVille, many game developers are eager
to get a piece of the social gaming pie. And it's
not a small pie by any means. Whereas tens of
millions of people play traditional video games
on consoles and personal computers, simple
social games have attracted hundreds of mil-
lions of players, many of whom never bothered
to keep up with the reflex-heavy and technically
complex world of traditional video games.