Farewell, FarmVille.

FarmVille is coming to an end.

Be honest with me. When’s the last time you even thought about it?

Well, you’re thinking about it now, and you’ve got a few more months to ponder its peculiar existence before it vanishes into the ether along with your abandoned garden plot.

But why are we talking about it here?

Yes, although this is not a puzzle game, there’s no denying a connection between FarmVille and the puzzle community. (And not just how puzzling it is that FarmVille ever became as popular as it did.)

There’s no refuting the metrics. In the Venn diagram of crossword/puzzle solvers and FarmVille users, there’s plenty of overlap. They scratch very different itches in terms of what someone gets out of engaging with them, but both did become a daily part of many people’s routines.

Of course with FarmVille, that was by design. Except for keeping track of your solving stats through puzzle apps, there’s no penalty for not solving crosswords every day the way there was with FarmVille. The puzzle crops will not wither and die in your absence. Though I have it on good authority that the puzzles will miss you.

Anyway, I can’t NOT write about the end of FarmVille. We cover games as well as puzzles here, and FarmVille was one of the biggest games in the world at one time. And it did so by engaging plenty of users that weren’t typical gamers.

FarmVille launched in 2009 as part of Facebook’s social gaming platform, and that year alone, Adweek reported that there were 73 MILLION monthly active users. (For comparison, that was a fifth of Facebook’s entire user base at the time.)

The company behind FarmVille, Zynga, has never published FarmVille-specific user stats. I haven’t been able to verify peak usership or where the usership stands now. The best I could find was a 2013 claim that the sequel, FarmVille 2, had 40 million active monthly users.

Now, to be fair, it’s only going away as a Facebook-accessible program. You can still play it as a mobile app, along with FarmVille 2, FarmVille 2: Country Escape, FarmVille 2: Tropic Escape, and FarmVille 2: Revenge of the Neglected Turnips. (Okay, I made that last one up.)

There is also a FarmVille 3 on the horizon. For some reason.

Although the game officially closes by December 31, in-app purchases for the Facebook version of the game close November 17th, so if you’re feeling nostalgic and want one last chance to blow real-world money there (or to spend credits you still have in the game), better get to it.

So what do you think, fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers? Are you sad to see it go? How many hours did you leave behind in that farm? How many people did you consider unfriending just to stop their requests for FarmVille-related nonsense? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.


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100 Games to Know!

PAX East is one of several conventions under the PAX brand, all of which are dedicated to gaming. Created by the folks behind the popular webcomic Penny Arcade, PAX East has become a premier destination for video games, board game creators, and gaming enthusiasts from all walks of life.

One of the panels this year featured prolific puzzler and game creator Mike Selinker, author of The Maze of Games and creator of numerous popular board games and card games, including Unspeakable Words, Pathfinder, and many others.

He hosted a panel entitled 100 Games You Absolutely, Positively Must Know How to Play, and over the course of the hour-long event he ran down 100 board games, card games, and video games that he considers to be essential knowledge for every game fan and game designer.

He stressed that this was not a list of the 100 best, the 100 most important, or the 100 most fun games, and that virtually every person’s opinion would vary.

And then he laid out a fantastic list of games in many styles and formats:

  • Tabletop RPGs (Dungeons & Dragons, Fiasco)
  • Electronic RPGs (The Legend of Zelda, The Secret of Monkey Island)
  • Deduction Games (Clue, Mafia)
  • Tile Games (Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Settlers of Catan)
  • Tabletop puzzle games (Scrabble, Boggle)
  • Electronic puzzle games (Myst, Bejeweled, Portal, You Don’t Know Jack)
  • Platformers (Super Mario Bros. 3, Katamari Damacy, Limbo, Braid)
  • Simulators (Madden NFL, Starcraft, FarmVille, Minecraft)
  • Traditional card games (Fluxx, Gloom, Uno)
  • Deck-construction games (Magic: The Gathering)
  • Electronic action games (Mario Kart 64, Halo, Plants vs. Zombies)
  • Rhythm games (Dance Dance Revolution, Rock Band)
  • Strategy board games (Ticket to Ride, Pandemic)
  • Tabletop war games (Stratego, Axis & Allies)
  • Open world video games (Grand Theft Auto, World of Warcraft)
  • Creative tabletop games (Cards Against Humanity)

Several favorites of mine made the cut — like Mafia, a brilliantly simple murder mystery card game requiring nothing more than a deck of cards — and he had excellent reasons for including every game and excluding others.

Although plenty of worthy games didn’t get mentioned, I can’t come up with any game styles that Selinker missed, nor can I come up with any particular games that were egregiously excluded. I love Qwirkle, Timeline, and Castellan, for instance, but I feel like each of those gaming styles were well represented.

[He was careful to cover his bases.]

Can you think of any that the keen eye of Selinker missed, my fellow puzzlers? Let me know!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!