this is my final harvest at farm town. chuck stopped by to lend a hand.
thank you so much for your gifts of mango trees, donkeys, and rabbits. especially thanks for watering my farm when i was not available. unfortunately, i have decided to leave farm town.
farm town, for the uninitiated, is a facebook game. it is an extra layer of social networking within social networking. it is the bib overalls layer. farm town is a bit like "oregon trail 2: after the fords and dysentary." a farmer is given a plot of land and 500 coins and access to various seedlings. the farmer plows, plants, waits a few days, harvests, sells the harvest, replows, replants, waits a few days and harvests again. all the while, farm town neighbors are diligently bestowing gifts of trees and animals.
"redneck princess has sent a request using farm town," reads the stilted and elementary gift tag, which shows up in my facebook notifications. "here is a peach tree for your farm in farm town. could you help me by sending a gift back?"
and in return, i send 8-12 chickens, one by one, to various farm town friends. the cycle continues, cash flows, and the available loot increases. then at level 15, the farmer can finally buy a house, a path and a barbed wire fence. a few more levels and the farmer can increase his/her plot of land. until that farmer is living on something that looks like a scene from "gone with the wind."
and if all that waiting is too exhausting, farm town accepts credit cards. for just $39.99 in real money, a farmer in need of instant gratification (read: farm town swag) can purchase 80,000 in fake money. just enough for a small house and a field of sunflowers.
it was the young rockstar amy abts who introduced me to this plot of facebook realty.
"ugh. farmtown is slow loading today," she sighed into the phone.
"what's farmtown?" i asked, naive to the ways of coins and the marketplace and work gloves. "WHAT'S FARMTOWN?!" she said, incredulously.
like it was a great band, or a fancy cheese, or a TV show starring dylan moran. within minutes, the rock star had invited me to be her neighbor and had sent me my first farm town gift -- a cow or a plum tree or whatever. just a little something to get me growing. (in turn, i accepted her neighbor request, and responded with an orange tree).
soon chuck was playing, too. but he was playing differently. he read the rules, the charts and the message boards. when i went to bed, he was a novice farmer. when i woke up, he was damn near picking up day laborers in a rusty old pickup.
chuck quickly ascended the ranks. he learned that helping strangers harvest resulted in fast-cash. and that if he hired workers, he ultimately made more money on his coffee fields. he bought a house, a path, more land. his gifts grew more extravagant (horses! coconut trees!)
one night we laid in bed watching a rabbit run around chuck's fields. hopping, ears flapping, stopping, twitching. we laughed and laughed and laughed.
"farm town," i said. "it's my favorite show."
we were sharing a table with friends at luce, and spent much of brunch talking about farm town. "have you seen carrott dick's place," we asked our friend richnam. "he has so many chickens that it takes, like, 10 minutes to load!"
and we all laughed.
chuck described his ultimate blue print. "an orchard!" he said.
richnam talked about harvesting.
farm town, farm town, farm town -- half hour, at least, and it was a pretty good conversation. funny and engaging.
hours later em, the only one at the table who hadn't yet moved to farm town, sent me a lemon tree.
so why am i quitting farm town. why now, with trees ready for harvest and 30,000 coins in the bank?
i think it's because, as far as i can tell, you cannot lose at farm town. it's not like the sims, where your happiness depletes, and you end up soiling yourself in a self-made door-less den of death and despair.
with farm town, you can just keep on landscaping. keep on adding fences and selling cows and watching those hilarious rabbits bop through the fields. picking apples. selling apples. collecting chickens and building orchards and sending donkeys to friends.
it could go on forever.
and that's the problem. that's why i'm leaving farm town.