Goodbye and good riddance to FarmVille

Virtual regrets the decision to visit my old FarmVille farm.

Virtual regrets the decision to visit my old FarmVille farm.
Screenshot: FarmVille / Zynga

While most of you probably quit playing the original FarmVille a long time ago, if you want one last shot of nostalgia, today is officially the last day you can play the game on Facebook.

Zynga ad the decision earlier in September, warning the seemingly non-zero number of FarmVille fans who still play the original game. It’s a bit confusing, considering the original FarmVille debuted 11 years ago in 2009, and has since spawned Farm town 2, FarmVille 2: Country getaway, and FarmVille 3. To be fair, FarmVille probably would have continued if it weren’t for the game finally running on Flash and Adobe. killed Flash this year.

Yet while the popularity of the original game has since waned, there was a time when FarmVille defined the Facebook experience. You were logging in and friends you hadn’t spoken to in years had left you with a landslide of notifications and punches, asking for help on their virtual farm. The wise among us have ignored the notifications. The rest of us were eventually sucked into a crazy game of planting virtual tomatoes and carrots, which were then harvested and traded for … crappy collectibles and buildings in the game. Some of them we may have even spent real money to speed up the unbearable wait times because who wants to stare at a patch of strawberries for four hours. Some of us – not this writer, no, no sir – may have forgotten to set off an alarm and log on a little too late, only to find that this strawberry crop had wilted and was dying.

If you’ve ever found yourself questioning your existence, wondering why you, an otherwise rational individual, would be tempted to spend real, hard-earned money on a trashy mobile game, you can thank FarmVille for that. Although FarmVille did not invent game mechanics like realtime loops or loot boxes, he played a major role in their popularization for the general public. Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds, and all those other free games with maddening in-app microtransactions have all taken a page out of the FarmVille playbook. That said, its success has also changed the gaming landscape, prompting developers to create casual mobile and browser games that appeal to a wider population.

At its peak, FarmVille had 32 million daily active users and a total of 85 million players, according to the New York Times. In 2013, he had amassed $ 1 billion in total player purchases. His death will not leave a huge hole in mobile gaming; there are, after all, countless knock-off games that resemble it (as well as several official FarmVille sequels and expansions). It is, however, an important part of modern gaming history, much like the questionable legacy it leaves behind.

Out of curiosity, I tried to log into my old FarmVille farm. I imagined everything would be withered and dead. I’ve been greeted by several notices stating that FarmVille is on the verge of dying, and that to get one last nostalgic ride, I should install a Zynga Flash plugin. I did the thing. I was barred from several notifications of competitions and in-game events that I had missed. Everything loaded so slowly. Somehow my fruit trees weren’t dead despite over 10 years of neglect. For reasons I can’t explain, I planted 10 strawberry plots that I absolutely will not check or harvest until this game died. I was then hit with several more pop-ups. After I closed my browser in frustration, I remembered why I had quit this game in the first place.

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