One of Facebook’s most iconic, popular (and yes vexing) apps, Farmville, has finally been retired from the social networking platform, bringing an end to an 11 year old story of highs, lows, digital pigs and plenty of annoying Facebook invites.
There aren’t many people on Facebook who haven’t either played Farmville or been bombarded with incessant invites from friends to create their own virtual farm. Along with Mafia Wars, Farmville was one of Zynga’s flagship games, and for a number of years, the most used app on Facebook.
Its popularity was one of the reasons why the game became the subject of a plethora of online hoaxes, as well as perfect bait for Internet scammers, and why we had to [reluctantly] turn our attention to the game numerous times throughout its time on Facebook.
A search through our vault takes us back a decade, to 2010 and our post on an unverified rumor claiming that Zynga were banning users who operated an automated cheat to “snag” digital farming resources soon became our most viewed article that year (archived here.)
A year later another viral hoax warned users against accepting a “white box” on the game or risk having a virus installed on your device.
And throughout Farmville’s tenure on Facebook, there have been the scams. Online traps using the bait of Farmville “cheats” and “tricks” to lure unsuspecting cyber farmers into digging themselves a hole not used for planting crops but for installing malware.
The game truly has been a thorn in our side, but as with most apps of its ilk, its popularity soon climaxed and declined. Changes to Facebook’s third party app platform made it harder for its users to irritate their friends with the prospect of free roosters and tractors. And eventually its user base tired of the constant invitations to spend real money on virtual nothingness like loot boxes, a freemium model technique the game actually helped popularise to the mainstream.
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But the final nail in the coffin for Farmville’s presence on Facebook wasn’t solely down to its dwindling number of players. In arguably more important news, Adobe finally killed off the security nightmare that was Adobe Flash, which many games like Farmville required to operate. It’s likely there were simply too few players to justify rehashing the game to make it work independently of Adobe’s multimedia software.
But for those craving a digital agricultural adventure, worry not; you can still play Farmville, since the game also ventured off the Facebook landscape some time ago, morphing into its own standalone game. The Zynga developed phenomenon is currently on its third iteration – Farmvile 3: Animals – and can be downloaded through the Android or Apple app stores.
As for its time on Facebook, that finally came to an end on December 31st 2020. We here may look back at it with a hint of light nostalgia, but mostly we’re really just glad it’s gone.