Users of Facebook application FarmVille have been forced into selling their imaginary crops, often using poorly thought-out, barely plausible business ideas in order to support their spiralling online habits, it was claimed last night.
Digital guru Simon Fellows has been leading an awareness campaign against the application and said last night: “FarmVille is a supposed to be a social game, which is available on Facebook…but by asking people for real money it is damaging people’s lives.
“As a result, I’ve got people on my street corner trying to sell me ‘FarmVille Flakes’ cereal – essentially, they’ve printed out a load of screenshots of their ‘crops’, cut them up and stuffed them into a load of empty Corn Flakes boxes in the hope that nobody will notice. All they’ve done is cross ‘Corn Flakes’ out and scrawled ‘FarmVille Flakes – £10’ in using red crayon – it’s pretty sad.”
FarmVille’s principle objective is to ask users to plant crops, and harvest them, while users are encourage to compete with one another through the size of each other’s farm, which they can expand by purchasing a virtual currency, using real life money.
“For about £30, you can purchase 70,000 ‘farm coins’ or 240 notes of ‘farm cash’,” an anonymous FarmVille user commented. “For around £100, you can also purchase your own Combine Harvester, and if you are really willing to pay over the odds, you can have a passionate affair with one of the sheep in your field, then pay everyone hush money never to mention it. It’s just so authentic to the whole farming experience.”
This authenticity may be one of the reasons why many users on the game’s Facebook page claim to find the process both satisfying and addictive. Mr. Fellows tells the story of one user who spent an entire fortnight constantly logged onto Facebook just so that he could accessorise his farm.
“He kept phoning his friends at all hours in the morning, begging them to join so that his farm would expand in size,” Fellows recounts. “It was his one motivating goal in life until eventually he wasted away. As I recall, his last words were something to do with hoping that he finds a black cat on the big farm in the sky or something.”
In the meantime, the police have urged consumers not to purchase any product with FarmVille branding scrawled on in crayon, sold on a street corner.
“These people have an illness,” said a police spokesperson, “and the only way you can make them better is to ignore them. Besides, I always preferred Mafia Wars anyway – it’s much better.”