“Why do you have to set an alarm even when we’re here at work?” I asked a colleague. “Sorry,” he replied, “I have to harvest my crops within the next few minutes; otherwise they will wither and die.” What crazy game in cyber world is this guy referring to, I asked myself. A quick glance on his LCD monitor would seem like He (as in Noah in Noah’s Ark) is gathering his animals towards his Ark. Perfectly lined animals stood motionless while waiting for rain. But wait, that’s not an Ark on far side! It is more of a barn. As I delved deeper, I discovered that several people on my friends list have been dedicating a lot of their time and effort on a game called Farmville. A quick trip to its wiki explains why 80 Million users on Facebook are currently hooked up on this virtual farming game. Facebook, as a pure social networking site with no add-ons or games can already take a lot of a user’s time. Throw in some fancy apps and some simple yet graphically amusing games and the result is how one famous magazine described Facebook last 2009: “The thing that ate up the whole Internet.”
I have nothing against the 80 million people who succumbed to Farmville, even if the game has a lot of peculiarities; it has gained a lot of following over a wide spectrum of people. Whoever thought that Farming could be this fun? Because of Farmville, more and more people I know would like to spend their retiring years as a farmer. They think that being a real farmer is as fun as it is in Farmville, if only that is the case I wouldn’t be writing about this now. I grew up and was raised in a real farm, much like the one in Farmville minus the pink cows, baby elephants and crazy sightings of imaginary animals. And I could only hope, for anyone who grew up in real farm like me, that it was as much fun and easy living in Farmville. Apparently this game is nowhere near the real farming experience, albeit it provides some insight on farming. It follows the basic makeup of a real farm and it poses time based objectives such as harvesting crops on just the right time. Unfortunately, it only bares the thrills and not the hardships of being a farmer. A few clicks on the mouse and you have already plowed arable land. A few more clicks and you already have a batch of crops neatly planted. Miles away from the real thing, and more than anything, it takes effort on another level to be a successful farmer. As a farm boy, (with deadly farm boy charm and looks*) I feel uneasy about Farmville and how it projects virtual farming. Is it just me? I hope some farmers could share their views about their take on this virtual farming game.
Have you felt the rhythm of a clunky tractor slicing through moistened soil? The rise and fall of earthworms is a sight to see. Have you ever stacked hay 12 feet tall? And afterwards call your friends to do all sorts of ”tambling” till it itches the hell out of you. Play again after a few weeks and there is big chance you’ll be playing with some random snake.
Have you ever experienced milking a cow or carabao? Ever been chased by a bull? Its horns inches away as you leave your slippers running for dear life. Have you ever felt the back breaking process of planting rice? I’ll bet you’d never want to go near any a rice field again. It is harder that it looks.
Have you ever helped a sow (pig) do labor? Waiting patiently in the middle of the night and watching the next visible sign of labor. In certain occasions, you have to insert your sterile hand all the way through her uterus to pluck her kids one by one, in sticky fashion. And yes, you have to go through her bloody vagina. Have you ever felt that life couldn’t get any simpler than this? Feeling the gentle breeze charge your exhausted body while watching the sunset over the horizon? To be continued…
*needs more citations