Fascinating and (sometimes) annoying:
By utilizing the simplest action-reward gameplay mechanic — borrowed from a Chinese game, which was itself inspired by a Japanese RPG — Facebook’s farm games have quietly turned millions of people into constant gardeners (and consistent gamers).
Cheri Van Hoover, 56, tends a real 11-acre farm in Washington state, but she’s glued to her virtual fields, too. “What these games give me is a sense of control over my life,” she says. “It is a neat, orderly place that I can escape to, and where things unfold in a relatively predictable fashion, and I can work out all of my needs for domination and power and control in a safe environment.”