Today in class we played a series of games pertaining to our discussion of games and the environmental exposure they encourage. Naturally I dove headfirst into Big Farm.
As I figured out how to register and began my journey on my newfound farm, I couldn’t pull myself from my computer screen. The game was super engaging in that it always had new tasks and things for you to accomplish or finish. Very quickly I learned to juggle multiple projects at once while taking on new, and more complicated, tasks in order to level up.
While playing I found myself saying “I miss Farmville”. I remember the Facebook phase that catered to Farmville. Everyone played; people constantly idled by their computers adamant about not missing a harvest. I loved Farmville and the success I found playing, expanding, and developing my own farm. Sadly though I stopped playing, as did many others. The Farmville fad faded out without a second thought.
While playing Big Farm I realized it was slightly demanding in that it had a never-ending column of tasks to accomplish on the left side of the screen. The more I tried to satisfy the tasks, the more tasks popped up more demanding in nature than the previous. I very quickly discovered the reason I wouldn’t continue playing this game, and why I had abandoned Farmville; it required too much time and commitment. The game was fun, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my time to progress in a game.
The game promotes an understanding of farming with the gradual introduction of several responsibilities that farmers face every day. While harvesting corn, destroying overgrown brush, and fertilizing other crops your patience is tested. As a player you are limited to what you can do based off your level and encouraged to accomplish more and more to gain status to accomplish even more.
While the game does a great job introducing a basic knowledge of the mechanics and responsibilities associated with farming, it makes it all too easy to walk away. As a farmer you have to balance all these responsibilities with regards to time and money restrictions, but in the game you do it at your own leisure with the luxury of knowing you can walk away without any consequence. What players don’t understand is that the farm represented in the game is essentially representational of an individual’s livelihood. This dissonance and carelessness we treat the environment with, as seen with today’s countless natural and environmental issues, is showcased in the usability of games like Farmville and Big Farm.