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By Stacy Lee / Staff Writer

By Stacy Lee / Staff Writer

Cows. Pigs. Apple Trees. Barns.
     All items that are not typically associated with a popular computer game. However, these are all items that belong to FarmTown, a popular game on Facebook.
     FarmTown is just that – a farm. When players sign up for the game, they are given an empty field and 500 coins. It is then up to the farmers to decide what they are going to do. Some people make little villages while others make large farms with different crops everywhere. There is no right or wrong way to build a farm. 
     Users work their way up in rankings through earning experience points (XP) by plowing and harvesting a variety of crops including pineapples, raspberries and watermelons. They can also purchase farm-related items with the coins earned through the sale of the crops, including houses, trees, flowers, paths, rivers, barns and more.
     There are several unique features which keep users coming back to the game. One of the best features of the game is that players can gift farm items or exclusive items that are not available to purchase in the store to their “neighbors,” which are real Facebook friends that also play the game.
     Another unique feature is that it is essentially a live game. For example, some crops take longer than others to harvest. If crops are left unattended for too long, they can actually die and farmers will lose their money.
     “I don’t want my crops to die,” said Marilyn Scheffers, an avid user of the game. “I feel responsible.”
     The live aspect is also cool because you can hire your neighbors to harvest and plow your farm to earn more money. When they come to your farm it becomes a chat room and you can talk while playing the game.
     No game is perfect, and despite the many positive aspects of the game, there are definitely some flaws.
     One of the major problems is also one of the best features of the game – the aspect that players can add as much stuff to their farms as they wish. Unfortunately for users with older computers, it slows them down.
     An other problem with the game is that it is still in development. Every once and awhile there will be kinks in the game. For example, crops will reappear after they’ve been harvested or users in the community will “follow” you back to your farm, even though they’re not actually on the farm. Occasionally users will have to refresh the page to get rid of the kinks.
     Despite the problems, Farmtown has become a daily habit for most of its users, which leaves people to wonder “Why?”
     “It’s relaxing and it’s serene. I don’t want anybody to bug me when I’m doing it,” Scheffers said.
     In addition, the makers of FarmTown, Slashkey, are constantly adding new things. For Halloween they added a jack-o-lantern, pumpkins and black cats. It’s always exciting to log on and see something new to purchase or give as a gift.
     “I like to buy things and figure out where to put them. I want one of everything. I think it’s because it has all this fun stuff and I want to use it,” Scheffers said.
     So next time you log onto Facebook and see a “You Have a FarmTown Request!” on your homepage – click it. You might actually enjoy the game.

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