Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm a virtual farmer - farmville

Farmville, an online game where you "grow" crops and "manage" a farm is turning out to be hugely popular, with an estimated 70 million users.   I'm guessing that it sort-of taps into the urge that a lot of people have to get back to the farm.   It requires attention, so there's millions of man hours being spent watching soybeans grow (in two days) and so on.  I have enough chores, thanks. 

Having had my hands in the dirt (and blood) for the last few years, I think that blogs offer people the same sort of experience that farmville does.  a feel for the life and the work.  A farm serial drama, of sorts. 

Farmville, the facebook application, showed up both in the capital press and in various stories, one of which you'll find here. 

I'd like them to offer a level of difficulty that is comparable with real farming.  Lets talk about some of the variations: 

Pandemic disease (swine flu):   prices paid for your crop go down 50%
Tariff war -- exports drop 50%
Biofuel:  Feed and input costs rise 50%
Regulatory burden:  20% of your gross goes to the government
Middleman Snack:  Prices paid for your crop go down, but prices paid by consumers stay the same
Predators:  Loss of 10% of your herd
Weather:  Drought.  production per acre drops 20%
Weather:  Flood.  Have to replant a portion of your crop/late to market
Equipment failure:  Loss of harvest due to mechanical difficulties. 
Injury or death:   Health insurance?  what?

Can you think of other variations?


Erin said...

Political Change: Price support system that farmers had grown dependent on and had created artificial surpluses is suddenly radically cut or ended without warning. Causes chaos for farmers who had come to rely on this revenue stream.

Tim said...

I have to say that I've never looked at Farmville, although every time I log on to FB, I see that one of our friends has found a rabbit or something. Or, another friend has hit a new level in Mafia Wars, whatever that game is.

We constantly get questions about how we do as much as we do on the farm, and given how hard you work too Bruce, I'm sure you know what the work is like. But when I see the time others have for...uh..."virtual" work (like virtual farming), I don't really think we work that much harder than everyone else. It's just that, regrettably, none of our work is "virtual".

Now, excuse me while I go milk the VERY real cows.

Nature's Harmony Farm

Anonymous said...

Your version sounds like The Farming Game:
Ever played it? As excrutiatingly long as Monopoly to finish a game, it has more realistic financial numbers and odds... I know what you mean about the Facebook version.