Farmville is a casual browser and mobile game developed by Zynga. The game is a casual farming simulation game involving planting and cultivating crops and managing farm life. After its 2009 release, it grew infamous on social media due to its prevalence on Facebook, as the game would send notifications to users whenever a person’s friend on the app invited them to play, resulting in unwanted notification spam.
Farmville, a casual farming simulation game developed by Zynga, launched on June 19th, 2009. The game was played on Facebook, where players were given an empty farm to cultivate through the development of experience and the acquiring of in-game currency. The game used a “Freemium” model, meaning that while the game was free to play, in-game currency and experience could be purchased with actual money.
By March of 2010, the game had over 83 million monthly users, peaking at 34.5 million daily users. The game’s success led to the development of Farmville 2, which launched in September of 2012. However, Starting in 2012, after its peak in popularity, the game experienced a sharp decline in players, falling to the 110th most popular app on Facebook by April of 2016.
On September 27th, 2020, Zynga announced it would discontinue Farmville at the end of the year, citing Adobe Flash Player no longer supporting the game. “We’re aware that many of you have been with us since the very beginning, helping to build an incredible global community of players over the years who’ve enjoyed this game just as much as we have,” the post read. “For that we say thank you.”
While the game was hugely popular at its peak, it was negatively reviewed by critics, with most criticizing how it encourages addictive gameplay and encourages players to spend money. TIME called it one of the worst inventions of all time. Common Sense Media wrote, “the game is relentlessly viral, with constant prompts to invite neighbors, share status updates, spend cash, and call on friends for help… This is the kind of game that can easily become a time-sink (and money-sink, too), so players should always be careful to know their limits.”
Though the game was hugely popular on Facebook, it was often the subject of mockery in image macros and advice animals from the time of the game’s popularity (examples shown below).