Cityville. A long time ago, I gave into the fad that was Farmville. Maybe because it reminded me of home. Well, like my real life self, it’s time to move on to the big city.
Now, I had no idea so many of my friends played this game, so that made jumping to level 18 in less than a week pretty easy. I assume when I get to lesser known games I might hit a bit of a wall.
So… what is Cityville?
You are given a city with a few streets, a barn, a few houses, and maybe a business. You have to plant crops to get “goods” which translate to being able to run all of these businesses you’ll eventually place. But you need to build houses, to increase the amount of people, to increase the amount of business that your stores receive.
Here is what you start with:
Like almost every Facebook game ever, Cityville works on an energy model, where you can only take so many actions in a given time (of course, you can trade real money for fake energy easily enough though, if you’re impatient and a baller).
After a week with the game, I can understand why people like it. It is addicting because the game gives you challenges galore and I know personally, that I hate having unfinished business. When the little icon pops up that says “Hey, why don’t you build a hospital?” and then the little marker stays on the side of the screen, I have to build a hospital. It’s all I can think about.
But here’s where Zynga (the brand behind games like Cityville, Farmville, Mafia Wars, and more) gets you. To build said hospital, you need your friends to send you materials. Maybe it’s 3 smocks, 2 lab coats, some hospital beds, and a bedpan. I have to send out those annoying spam messages to all my friends that play Cityville and ask them for lab coats or whatever. It means that to succeed at the game, you’re constantly sending messages and putting statuses out (Adam needs smocks, can you help him?). Cityville is now dominating my friends’ newsfeeds and subtly pressuring them to either 1.) start playing Cityville or 2.) block Cityville. It’s a 50/50 chance. These reminders pop up all the time and they make me constantly keep going back to the application. When the little red notification sign pops up and says “Hey would you like to work at Jim’s factory?” I have to click on it because I’ve never wanted anything more than to work at that factory. Sad, but true.
Zynga is full of geniuses (except for the guy who bought my favorite Facebook app of 2006 “My Heroes Ability” and destroyed it).
So eventually, after thousands of clicks and items exchanged, you end up with a gigantic city, something like this:
I’ve seen some crazy ones.
Now, is this Cityville anything like a real city?
Kind of. Here’s the evolution of my city:
It starts out I have to farm a lot, to get “goods.” I have minimal residents and they’re fairly happy. They’re totally content with having a burger place (in Shady Cove, we had Phil’s Frosties). But eventually… these farms cannot produce the amount of goods I need. So I build a factory. And my city isn’t populated enough to warrant me building anything else, so I have to start demolishing small cottages to make room for condos and apartments. The farmland falls by the wayside because I now have factories that are much quicker and much more efficient. I have all the money I need, so I start bulldozing just to fit the “next big thing.” And now, I look at myself in the mirror and realize the monster I’ve become.
I have singlehandedly destroyed the American dream.
Unless your dream is to live in a house with 19 other people, which apparently is do-able and encouraged in this sick game. We’re talking hundreds of people living in impoverished conditions right across the street from two coffee shops (yes, true story). They spend their hard-earned money on coffee while I use that money to bulldoze their home and build a third coffeeshop.
This would be a horrible city to actually live in. And there’s no way to really “succeed” at the game without resorting to factories and high-population residences. There’s no reward for having a small town that is completely happy.
So… I may continue playing Cityville, because part of me enjoys the addictive nature of buying, selling, destroying, and building. It does everything right, because it makes you play it often and makes you spread “the good word” like it was contagious. It’s addictive and fun but when you look back at all the energy and time you’ve spent, you’ll likely shed a tear of disgust.
You’ve won this round, Cityville. You’ve won this round.