December 26, 2010

The Miraculous Fruits and Vegetables of Online Farming Games

Whether it's Farmville, Frontierville, Farmtown, or any of the many other permutation of the farming-themed online game, these highly popular games are giving people the wrong ideas about how food is produced.

I cringe when I see how the maturity rates, morphology, and developmental stages of certain plants are portrayed. Yes, I realize these are just games and not real life, but sometimes I wonder if the game developers even consulted a farmer or gardener before making their cucumbers as big as a horse and making fruit trees that are harvestable several times in the same amount of time it takes to grow a single crop of carrots.

For example, according to many of these “Farmgames”, potatoes grow on top of or just partially submerged in the soil. Actual farmers and gardeners know that potatoes grow underground, and you usually avoid eating the ones that pop up to the surface and start photosynthesizing (they are likely to contain poisonous compounds, so don't eat green potatoes).

The harvestable size of pattypan squash in “Farmgame” is about dinner plate or frisbee-sized. In reality these squashes are prized as baby vegetables. Similarly, bell peppers are the size of watermelons. The watermelons, by the way, are the size of a sheep!

“Farmgame” apple trees are harvestable every single “farm day”, yet corn takes three “farm days” to grow. In real life, an apple tree takes a full year to produce a crop, so according to “Farmgame” corn would take about three years!

Twelve crops of “Farmgame” strawberries can be grown back-to-back in the same amount of time it takes to collect milk once from a dairy cow. In real life cows are milked once or twice a day, so that means strawberries would grow from seed to fruit in an hour or two!

I also don't appreciate how the actual growing cycle is portrayed. In “Farmgame” you simply plow a plot, sow the seed, and wait until harvest. Watering, weeding, pruning, fertilizing, and pest management doesn't seem to exist.

I guess I wouldn't mind being able to grow crop after crop of fifteen-minute giant mutant blueberries, but it just doesn't work that way.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...