I have been writing for Co-Optimus for over three years now. In that time, I have played many, many games. Some I would have played anyway (Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2), some I picked up in order to play for community nights (Gears of War 2, though I ended up loving the series), and others I only played because I saw the need for a review (Watchmen: The End Is Nigh). Many games in this latter category simply are not very good, and I would have abandoned them had it not been my assignment to complete a review. Sometimes, I just slog through it, and take one for the team, in order to serve the needs of Co-Optimus readers.
When I heard that the ubiquitous Facebook pastime FarmVille added in a co-op mode, though, I drew the line. There are just some things even the most loyal of editors will not do. I am not a hardcore gamer by any means, but I certainly looked down my nose at FarmVille players. They spammed my Facebook feeds, clogged my inbox with requests for rare seeds, and no, I certainly did NOT want to adopt a chocolate cow, thank you very much.
For many months, my mother had been encouraging me to check the game out. "Oh come on, Mom, it's not really a game at all! It's just an annoying Flash clickfest," I would argue. After all, I was busy playing real games. Who had time for such a worthless time sink? Eventually, though, my resolve faded. I was curious about the co-op, naturally, and I did enjoy games like Viva Pinata... maybe FarmVille would be tolerable. The most compelling reason was I felt I could write great article from the experience. I speculated that this article would be extremely negative, making fun of the entire FarmVille scheme, naturally.
But it turns out, FarmVille isn't quite as bad as I thought. It shares many qualities with successful MMOs like World of Warcraft. Most surprising to me, though, was the fact that the cooperative elements were really quite strong. So here it is, dear reader, an account of my FarmVille experiences, as seen through the eyes of a veteran gamer.
Over lunch one day, my mother gave me the low down on tactics and strategies. She told me the best way to gain experience was to plant crops that could be harvested quickly. Strawberries were a good start, but only if I could harvest within eight hours before they withered. Yes, even from the starting line, you feel a strong compulsion to plan your day around your farm. It's a winning formula, reminiscient of Pokemon, where certain critters can only be caught at certain times of day.