So with all the fuss about "FarmVille" being the big craze thing on Facebook, I decided to give it a try, partially out of morbid curiosity and partly because this blog has been languishing for a few months and an update might prevent Google deactivating it on the assumption that I'm legally dead.
So I decided to play Farmville. And review it.
Obviously, the first thing one needs for playing Farmville is a Facebook account, and as I value my privacy just a little bit more than the average lunkhead, I'm not on Facebook. I do, however, have several pseudonymous dummy accounts on Facebook that I use for various malevolent purposes, so I installed Farmville on one of them.
Before even installing, the app immediately demanded access to a truly inordinate number of privileges; before deeming me worthy of playing, it demanded to access my posts and track my current location, the right to extract my email address from my Facebook profile so it could spam me even after I delete the app (and Facebook account), and the right to post on my account whenever it jolly well wanted to. Obviously, no one who uses their real name and information on Facebook, and certainly no one who interacts on Facebook with people they know in real life would ever voluntarily hand over that sort of permission without a very good reason (such as at gunpoint), but I had no qualms about letting an app have access to a pseudonym, a throwaway hotmail address, and a fake birthday so I clicked "allow" and loaded the app.
Once the app was loaded, I had to click through about three or four screens soliciting money and one asking me to spam my friends with ads for Farmville before I could actually access the "game" part of the game, whereupon a helpful tutorial guided me through the process of harvesting crops, plowing fields, and planting new crops. Afterwards, I was left to my own devices where I quickly discovered that half of the clickable objects popped up solicitations for money when clicked. It took about five or six solicitations for money before I could figure out how to plow a new section of field and find some sort of slot machine thing to award items for planting or something. I also quickly discovered that attempting any action that I couldn't complete because the prerequisites had not been met would produce, you guessed it, a solicitation for money.
So my overall impression is that Farmville isn't so much a "game" as an aggressive panhandler. I'm not sure how anybody manages to withstand it long enough to develop the "addiction" it's supposedly known for.