FarmVille Hype

FarmVille: 81 Million Users Online?
www.farmville.com
by Gregory West

Over 81 million active users flock to FarmVille to perform virtual farming daily. These people do chores they would have never dreamed of doing a year ago. Some are saying that this game is the largest and fastest growing game in history. Just think, this game started online June 19, 2009. The developer, Zynga, states that FarmVille “is bigger than Twitter and [was] valued at $1 billion last month (mashable.com)”.

FarmVille’s popularity is exploding online and won the most prestigious award this year: The 13th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards ceremony declared last month in Los Vegas that “the top honor in the ‘Social Networking Game of the Year’ category went to Zynga’s massively popular Facebook game FarmVille”.

Since this game is connected with Facebook, the developer Zynga, believes while people check in on their Facebook sites, they will also check into FarmVille and tend to their crops and help their neighbours with their farm work as well.

In the virtual farmland of FarmVille, farmers must first create their own avatar (a virtual image representing themselves). According to the rules there are “six plots of land, four of which are in the process of growing, and two (eggplant and strawberries) which are fully grown”. As in real life farming, the market calls the shots where items can be purchased such as “seeds, trees, animals, buildings, decorations, vehicles and more using “farm coins”.

The game comes with a few hooks as well and thus there is some controversy (depending on your viewpoint) in that you can buy virtual goods. “Zynga the game-makers encourage you to buy game things with real money. Some people (Techcrunch, Guardian) say that’s an exploitation of users who are swapping real money for fake things,” reports Leach. However, this is nothing new on the Internet and people can spend money virtually anywhere online if they so choose.

Upon beginning a farm, the player first creates a customizable avatar.[8] There are six plots of land, four of which are in the process of growing, and two (eggplant and strawberries) which are fully grown.
The game is based around the market, where items can be purchased: seeds, trees, animals, buildings, decorations, vehicles, and more land using “farm coins,” the generic money of FarmVille (which is earned by selling crops) or “farm cash”. (which the player earns at a rate of one dollar per experience level).

So, all of this begs the question: Why are people so drawn to FarmVille each day to milk their cows and chase chickens into coups and to “sow, grow and harvest crops (Anna Leach of shinyshiny.tv)”?

My wife is also working hard in FarmVille. She says that “you can play along, online, with all your friends” from across the globe. “You get a sense of guilt when you find your crops in desperate need of water and fertilizing,” she said.

“To me, Farmville works the same dynamic of calling on your nourishing instinct and then guilt-tripping you. The Tamagotchi effect, reported Leach. Tamagotchi is “a handheld digital pet [online] created in 1996. Over 70 million Tamagotchis have been sold as of 2008 (wikipedia)”. Remember the “pet rock” several years back? Even my mother bought one of those little pets.

For me, FarmVille is not an attraction. For those of you who are not into FarmVille you can go here to learn how to stop FarmVille posts on your Facebook site: http://tinyurl.com/ydk3ew2

Happy hoeing out there folks…

[bi-line]
Gregory West is a basic home computer consultant for MAC and PC and software
reviewer for major computer companies. Also come and join in on his free Basic
Computer Training sessions, held weekly at Central United Church this Fall. For info: http://www.centralunitedsarnia.ca/free_computer_lessons.html
Gregory can be reached at gregorywest@bell.net
Also, check out his Blog: Computer & Internet Tips:
http://tips4computers.wordpress.com

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by Gregory West
prospector16(at)gmail.com

The title of this article is true. Just ask members of the Sarnia Computer Group: SCUG (www.scug.ca), as they know first-hand how fast and efficient this free service works.

All too often we find ourselves sinking in the mystery sea called Windows. We know what we would like to do but just can’t figure out the “how”. The further we click through our computers the worse our adventure becomes. We end up at a DEAD END and completely frustrated to the point of never wanting to turn the computer on ever again.

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When I was the editor for the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group (scug.ca) I met Pamela somewhere in Cyberspace as she was writing a monthly article in another computer group’s newsletter. The one thing that struck me strange was that this person was offering a free computer-help service, not only for free, but offered answers back within 24 hours. Of course, it wasn’t long until we had The Computer Tutor column on the Sarnia computer group’s team as a columnist. Many SCUG members who began using this free service quickly began raving how simple and fast the answers back came.

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Simply go to this site: http://computertutorinc.net/survey/questions_2008.htm and fill out the form with the details of your problem/question. One thing to keep in mind is that you must fill out the entire form, not forgetting to enter your email address so Pamela can reply to your issue.

After many suggestions and requests Pamela made the decision to publish a book that demonstrates the main questions others have queried via email. Pamela’s new book comes with the “most frequently asked questions” by seniors using computers. It overflows with excellent “how to” computer tips.  Check it out her website at: http://www.computertutorinc.net and see how she is helping others. Oh yes, Pamela is also a certified Ebay instructor so if you have questions on Ebay fire away!

TIP OF THE WEEK: BUTTERSCOTCH

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As well, Butterscotch has a downloads section where you can get some free software, shareware and demo programs for every computer system. (www.butterscotch.com/tutorials.html)

Thanks to Gerry Timm of Sarnia, Ontario for Emailing me this excellent find.

Gregory West is a Mac Computer Instructor for Lambton College.  He also holds free “Basic PC Computer and Internet Training” seminars at Central United Church: 
http://central-united-church.org – (Click on “Groups).
Gregory can be reached at prospector16@gmail.com
More TIPS on Greg’s Blog: http://tips4computers.wordpress.com

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TIP OF THE WEEK: BUTTERSCOTCH

www.butterscotch.com/tutorials.html

Almost everyone likes butterscotch, right? Well if you do you will like it even better now. Butterscotch is now online, you cannot taste it, however you can use this website to get free video training on hordes of subjects, programs and more.

How about free tutorials on MS Word 2007, Blackberry Basics, Finer Points of FACEBOOK, Buying and Selling on Ebay, adding your Photos to Flickr, using gmail and Google Earth and so much more.

As well, Butterscotch has a downloads section where you can get some free software, shareware and demo programs for every computer system.

TRY THIS EXAMPLE VIDEO ON Ebay Shopping

Thanks to Gerry Timm of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada for this great tip.

Windows 7 Upgrade or Stay With VISTA?

A recent report in the Globe and Mail warns: Stay with VISTA unless…

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After upgrading, users will have to reinstall all their programs and find their files in the folder where Windows 7 tucks them away.

However, if you bought a Vista-based computer after June 25, you should be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 7 from the manufacturer, and I suggest taking advantage of it.” SEE GLOBE AND MAIL REPORT

NEW: YouTube – How to Use It

YouTube has made a major change in that you can now have your own channel and watch what you pick without all the other junk.

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