What makes me uneasy about FarmVille is not that it's eaten the Nazgul's brain at the moment; worse brain-eatages have occurred, for example when I first discovered the old Discworld RPG back in 2004. The crack that is RPing (in contrast to the more sedate and ponderous nose-powder that is fanfic) so totally took me in for a while, I even did set alarms for it, and that seems to be an alarm sign
It's not that Zynga
, the company that makes it, is probably quite evil, and Facebook definitely is.
It's that there are no seasons
You can plant whatever whenever you want to. There is no lambing season, no sowing in spring, no asparagus that stops on June 24th latest, no cabbage for winter, no St. Martin's geese, no blackberries belonging to the devil after October 31st...
Okay, making people wait for a result for a year would be counter-productive. But why not set random shorter season? Why not allow sheep tupping only on a Friday, and the sowing of certain crops only during the first week of the month, and so on? What makes real farming in real life what it is is seasons, and FarmVille totally eliminated that.
We first world people are used to having strawberries and tomatoes in the supermarket all the time, to mushrooms all year round, to green beans flown in from Egypt in winter, and to fresh flowers from Nigeria at Christmas. The globalised world is ignoring the seasons, so why should FarmVille reintroduce them? FarmVille farmers don't really want to keep up all night in the lambing shed at the dead of winter; they don't want to harvest a surfeit of cherries that they don't know what to do with, or do nothing between waking and sleeping but pluck apples and make cider in autumn. They don't want to race a thunderstorm for the wheat harvest, or pull a calf out by the feet. It's sanitised agriculture with purple cows.
There would be nothing wrong with it -- it is a game! -- except that it suggests to million of city dwellers that farming is a sanitary, fun business that brings forth bounty without season, without dirt, without suffering.
And that's demeaning to everything mankind did since the neolithic revolution.-