Thu, Sep 24, 2009 - Page 15 News List

Online farm game is the cream of the crop 開心農場爆紅 網友不睡忙偷菜


The popularity of social networking Web site Facebook is growing. It has spawned hundreds of games, among those the game Happy Harvest, which has become the favorite of Taiwanese users. In the six months of the game’s existence, a farming wave has swept the Internet as users get up in the morning to steal crops and fruit from their friends’ farms and become the kings of virtual farming.

Facebook users in Taiwan broke through one million in July, by far surpassing Plurk, another community Web site. Online farming, restaurants, pet shops, and fishing games have received an overwhelming welcome among Taiwanese users. Among the games, Happy Harvest has the most user-friendly interface which accounts for much of its popularity.

Happy Harvest is designed in a cartoon style. Users can plant crops, and raise chickens and dogs, and the harvest can be sold and exchanged for points to increase the attraction. Players can log on and sneak into their friends’ farms and steal vegetables and eggs. The more practiced a user gets in planting crops, the more virtual money they can make.

The Chinese version of the game often hangs, and Hsiao Li, who has used Facebook for more than two years, suggests that newbies consider running the game in English. “The interface is the same and the game is played in the same way,” he says. The system also often offers virtual farm money, “That makes it much more fun than just fooling around on the Internet,” says Hsiao Li.

Beginner A-tzu has only been immersed in the game for a month, but he is serious to the point that he sets the alarm for 6am every day, when he boots up the computer and goes farming. “If I sleep too late, my fields turn into a tourist farm where anyone takes whatever they want.” he says. He says he can use a virtual network to plant, water crops, exterminate vermin, harvest and sell his crop, and he can raise chickens and cows, and buy dogs to guard the farm. The whole process is much more interesting than electronic chickens, and seeing the results of his own hard work accumulate in the storage offers some kind of satisfaction in an otherwise boring daily life.(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY PERRY SVENSSON)








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