FarmVille 2: Escaping the City to Be On the Farm
Looking out over the farm; you can see cows, chickens, and vegetables a plenty. So much work to be done, so little time, yet in Farmville you can simply walk away and return when you want to escape the busy life. Welcome to FarmVille2.
I have had the opportunity to learn about Agriculture in literature this semester. To experience the romanticism of the farm, and how popular culture reflects the view of life on the farm, I decided to play the hit Facebook game from Zynga, FarmVille2. The farm is iconized from the start with a postcard welcoming you back to the farm after living in the city. Many people romanticize leaving the city for the farm; finding a “desire for a meaningful life out of the corporate rat race (p. 314).” This postcard epitomizes that desire; even the existence of a game that mimics life on a farm is an example of the glorification of life on the farm. People get home from a busy day at the office and can’t wait to escape to the more pleasant farm life.
I decided to play until I “proved up” my land. To prove up you need to “clear your land, sell 8 eggs, and harvest 16 bundles of wheat.” This would be a time when popular culture mimics life, since to “prove up” land during the homestead acts you needed to “make capital improvements, clear and cultivate the land, and pay a modest fee (Homestead act, archives.gov).” At the starting point of the game you do not need to make the capital improvements, but you do need to clear and cultivate the land, and you need to pay 1000 coins. Obtaining the eggs and clearing the land were rather easy, and I completed these tasks in less than 15 minutes. Cultivating the land- growing wheat- has a real life time delay of 5 hours. When the plants grow in this game there are time delays, and growing plants requires things like watering. Though this only takes a few real life hours, not the months or years that have to pass for real plants. It does give a hint of the sense of waiting for harvest.
In the few short hours I played this game I found it to fit the picturesque idea of life on the farm. Iconic adventures for those brave enough to leave the doldrums of the city to face an easier life on the farm. Growing plants, obtaining animal products like eggs, milk, and cheese to sell at your little roadside stand, is a quant view of what most urbanites and city dwellers think of farmers. Overall the traditions of a farmer and his wife, standing with a pitchfork in front of a farm house are not very different from that of a digital farm. Both have a stereotypical view, and both make the life seem simpler on the farm.
Larson, Kirby. Hattie Big Sky. New York: Delacorte Press, 2006. Print.
"The Homestead Act of 1862." National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014. <http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/homestead-act/>.
*I took all the Screen Shots
**Farmville2 is a registered trademark of Zynga Games