Won’t you be my neighbor?

My Frontierville homestead
My homestead. That’s me, my honey, and our little girl (mini me!) near our cabin.

Let me just preempt your judgment, caveat the statement soon to follow, and add this proviso: I am not a gamer. I have played games in the past, but am easily bored of them and soon neglect whatever game on whatever platform I’ve ever played. Except for Frontierville: I am a Frontierville addict.

When I was in Japan the only thing I missed was Frontierville. Not my family, not my friends, but Frontierville. Please note that I did miss my family and my friends, but there wasn’t anything I could do about not seeing them while I was out of the country. On the other hand, I had access to internet! I could have played Frontierville! If I’d only bought a netbook instead of an iPad!

I started playing Zynga games a couple of months ago because friends and family work there. I started with Farmville and Mafia Wars. Games I’ve seen other FB friends post statuses about on their walls. I have always scoffed at these posts as wastes of space on my FB home page (I now post Frontierville updates…oh how low we have sunk).

Then Frontierville launched in early June. I started playing. Soon I stopped caring about Farmville or Mafia Wars. Frontierville was better than either of them.

What’s the crack? It’s easy to learn, easy to play, and every single time you play you feel like you’ve made progress. There are little tasks you have to complete and the more experience you have, the harder the tasks get (as in you have to collect harder to find things and/or more items to complete a task). But no matter how long a particular task might take to complete, there are other tasks you can complete faster, and whatever you do, you’re always moving forward on your homestead. It’s instant gratification.

The cows are hungry? Oh, let’s feed them! The crops are ready? Let’s harvest! Oh, we have free land? Let’s plant stuff! Let’s buy stuff from the market and make our homesteads prettier! Let’s clear this patch of land for a new building! Let’s buy baby animals! More baby animals! Moo!

The graphics are better than in Farmville and where I find my farm ugly and inhospitable, I find my homestead perfectly suited to me because I made it all my own. I can literally just stare at my homestead and genuinely enjoy looking at it (though it did take me some weeks to get it to that point).

I play every single day, and usually several times a day. When I wake up, it’s the thing that perks me up out of my morning funk. When I need a break, I go burn a couple of minutes on my homestead. Once a day I spend at least 30 minutes on it tending to my neighbors and sending them gifts. Every single thing I do earns more points and coins. I haven’t spent a single real dollar on the game (I’m not allowed to), but have bought an assload of things for my homestead.

This is probably the longest blog post I’ve written in forever and it’s about Frontierville! This is me — a non-gamer who used to pride myself on my aloofness to mass market games like Farmville…well, that used to be me. (Don’t forget to add me as a neighbor! :)

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