Daily Archives: June 9, 2010

FrontierVille is Educational

Zynga has a new game out to complement it’s line of casual games on Facebook.  This one is called FrontierVille, in keeping with the “Ville” theme. (FishVille, PetVille, YoVille, FarmVille.)  I saw Beau was playing it, so I had to join in as well.

This game takes place out in the wild west and it is something akin to FarmVille meets My Tribe meets Oregon Trail.  It still has timers, and a few flavors of currency, and neighbors, and gifts, and notifications, and all the classic Facebook features.  It is just a little more dynamic than FarmVille.

And it will teach you things about frontier life… like if you clobber a rattlesnake with a shovel, pie comes out!

And stars and gold too! Wonder Snake!

Of course, I didn’t mention the Oregon Trail lightly.  Zynga is playing something of a nostalgia card I think, and including the Oregon Trail.

Warning: May not reflect childhood memories

Many of you will remember the educational video game Oregon Trail.

My own time in junior high school was at the cusp of the personal computer age, so we didn’t actually get to play the video game version.  We had to play a role-playing game version of it facilitated by one of our teachers.  So, as 7th graders, we had to try and hide the fact that we were rolling westward with the maximum amount of guns and ammo we could afford.

The teacher eventually called the game off in disgust at our bloodthirsty nature.  But I am pretty sure the whole thing would have ended up like this comic.

True History of the Oregon Trail

So I’m hoping we can somehow recreate this magic in FrontierVille.

And, if you don’t like Zynga, their games, or Facebook, the whole thing is brand new, so you can start in on hating it before there are millions of users.

The grim, phone kissing visage of Beau seems to follow me around Facebook.

139 monthly active users… that only puts it 66 million or so behind the latest FarmVille count.

Today's FarmVille report...

Of course, FarmVille is down a lot of users of late.  There were 82 million or so when it was the darling of GDC, which we talked about on SUWT #60.  Facebook’s minor crackdown on wall spam seems to have cut back the FarmVille numbers.  Not that Facebook and Zynga haven’t been close to blows on more pressing issues.

Still, 67 million people clicking on anything is a lot of clicks.  And losing 15 million players… that is more people than ever played EverQuest as a reference point… or more users than currently play World of Warcraft… probably isn’t that big of a blow to Zynga, since they were probably not the players into the game enough to have spent money on it.

Zynga and Facebook, they plan to own us all some day.