Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Don't Have Time to do That...I'm Tending My Homestead!

"Glorious time-wasting fun for our modern times."

That's how my friend Tiffany describes her newest addiction, Frontierville. In fact, sometimes it seems I'm the only one on Facebook who isn't working on my homestead in my spare time.

I keep getting Facebook requests from friends to become their "neighbor" but I've been resisting the temptation. I am the world's worst procrastinator and I know if I get sucked in, it'll be the beginning of the end. As it is, I haven't written more than a handful of pages since my daughter was December!

But even though I haven't joined the madness, probably close to 50% of my friends' status updates on Facebook talk about their crops or livestock. As a result, I get sucked in whether I want to or not.

So what exactly IS Frontierville? Wikipedia says:

"Frontierville is a simulation, role-playing video game available for play on social networking sites such as Facebook. It is developed by Zynga.

The player creates an avatar which resembles a pioneer. The player then may complete a total of 46 collections which can be traded for coins, experience points (xp), decorations, livestock, trees, craftable items, energy and horseshoes (rare money). The player can also finish goals which include tasks such as gathering money, buying energy, clearing land, chopping down trees, raising livestock and trees, creating items such as beds, furniture, and clobbering unwanted pests like bears, snakes, foxes and groundhogs. Eventually the player may acquire a spouse and produce children. The player can also have them perform tasks.

Other tasks include collecting from buildings, building inns, wagons, general stores, cabins, schools, chicken coops, barns and sawmills and seeding, growing and harvesting crops. Completing goals yields rewards."

So now you see why I refuse to get sucked in. The whole concept really appeals to the old-skool Oregon Trail lover in me.

Tiffany, a fellow Oregon Trail fanatic describes Frontierville as "Oregon Trail on steroids...But FV is just has more stuff to keep me entertained. I probably do spend more time at work on my homestead that I should, but I can still get my job done. Maybe that's more telling of my job than my "addiction", though. I avoid playing it on the weeknights when I'm home with my daughter, because I want to spend as much time with her as I can."

Jeanette says: "I play these games when I'm at work as well, but can get my job done too. It's a nice little bonus of having my own office and working for a small company. I also play when I'm at home on the weeknights, but only after my daughter goes to bed. And, usually when I'm playing we are watching our shows on the DVR or my husband is playing his PS3, so it works out nicely for me."

Joanna says "I probably play a total of 2 hrs a day. It's very sad. I could be working out or reading. It's addictive because of all the different missions. Once you complete one, you get another task. It's fun because you can have your neighbors help you. I had no idea that collecting poop from animals and harvesting crops could be so much fun! I really need to stop playing though and get my ass off the couch. Oh, and feel free to quote me. Please mention that Tiffany was my drug pusher and it's all her fault that I'm a pathetic loser."

Laura says: "I have never been into games, but this game has gotten to me. I am so ashamed of it, that I do not tell people that I play. But I love how it is task-oriented, and you have to think about your next moves. I'm sure that some people are very strategic about how they play, and it probably advances them faster, but it's just a bit of fun for me that's not reading."

But not everyone is loving it. Angie says, "Frontierville is a life-sucking addiction that clutters up my friends' Facebook pages and makes my babycenter addiction less exciting."

Now, my friends are responsible adults who just use this time-sucker to blow off some steam, but unfortunately not all simulation gamers know how to draw limits and their escapism can have some very serious consequences.

In March, a 3-month-old South Korean baby girl starved to death after her parents repeatedly left her home alone for 12-hour stretches while they went to an internet cafe to play a simulation game called Prius Online, where you raised a virtual baby. And Google abounds with sad tales of shattered marriages as a result of World of Warcraft (WoW) or Second Life obsession.

Now that the Fictionistas are focusing on goals and being Accountabilibuddies, I know that there's no way I can join in Frontierville.

So if you see me tending crops, yell at me, OK? Or better yet, sabotage them and burn my homestead.


  1. I have the potential to become massively addicted to games like these - I know because I have. My current schedule doesn't allow for any such shenanigans tho, so I'm backing away slowly...

  2. So, I used to ignore facebook for the most part ---- until I discovered some of these addicting games. Frontiersville is probably the most involving one I play right now. When I first discovered them I played like TEN of them and it literally sucked up my whole weekend and nights. So I was like okay.. seriously.. pick one and stick with it. For a while that was Treasure Isle and now Frontiersville.

    I really only spend about 2 hours a day playing it and I stagger it with blogging, reading and running around time. My husband also has his long addicting hobbies - like computer and xbox gaming and certain sci-fi shows.. so it works out. He watches a show, I nab the computer to complete some quests. Although some days I wish I hadn't spent THAT much time doing it.

    It's also mindless enough that you can listen to an audiobook as long as not chat stuff pops up on facebook. That makes me feel slightly better... somedays...

  3. I had sworn off the FB games until I got a gift request. I am like Kristen P. I am addicted so avoided them when possible. But I got started and now, can't stop. Well I can. But I love it.

    I imagine that is about to change. Under deadlines

  4. Oh, I block all that shizzle. I know myself far too well. Plus when you don't play, it's annoying when all that stuff is on your page.

  5. Oh dude...I'm hooked on Petville. le sigh