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FarmVille Fits in the Weekend
Summer is here, and it is a great time for farming. This week, I find myself on the road, traveling between my children’s households as we make summer vacation connections that are not possible during the winter. Which brings up some great things that are happening at Farmville: there are three new places to go to create a farm!
Farmville is growing up some new areas for cyber-farmers to enjoy. I described my initial adventures in Lighthouse Cove and Hawaiian Paradise in my last writing. Both are eclipsed by Jade Falls. Reminiscent of the lovely illustrations for Japanese fairy tales, the farm is arranged on a mountainside. Like Hawaiian Paradise, Jade Falls does not share coins with regular Farmville. Instead, farmers earn Jade coins. They have a choice of growing things on terraces, in regular farm plots, or in water. There is a tea house, a Bamboo Fortune and a Stone Fortune, and a palace.
Out at sea, the Imperial Fleet displays the number of days until completion. Although you can see a lot of terrace room, the beginning Jade Falls player can only place a few squares of farm space. Many spaces, when clicked on, say that they are reserved for decoration or invite the player to purchase more area. Some things can be harvested right away at start up: the palace, the bamboo, trees, and some sticky rice in the terraced plots. The immediate goals are to harvest rice, plant rice and to make some milky tea. The first four levels go by really quick, using the little goals guide. It can be reached by clicking the top left icon on row of icons at the left of the game board.
I cultivated all my allowable patches and planted Sticky Rice, Azuki, and Nori. Inside the tea garden, I started some milk tea brewing. I finished off my arable land with Sichuan peppers. Since I am not as familiar with oriental cuisine as I am with American and Mexican, I then wondered if these foods have real world applications. Sticky rice I already knew about; it is used in making rice balls. Azuki, also called Adzuki is a bean. The scientific name is Paseolus angularis and it is almost as much a staple of oriental cooking as rice. It even gets sweetened. Nori is edible seaweed, which makes a lot of sense since it can only be planted in water in the Jade Falls farm. Sichuan peppers or Szechuan is an Asian spice that gets used in a lot of different things.
Refreshed by that little bit of armchair traveling, I returned my eyes to My Jade Falls. It has a tranquil, refreshing feel and I am almost tempted to replace my desktop picture with a screen print of it. I sip meditatively at my cup of garden mint tea, and reflect on the ways that electronic farming and real farming is similar to and different from each other. Then I hear the grandkids getting into their swim suits, so I think it is time to check that little box that says “Pause my farm”, and get ready for a real world afternoon of fun at the lake. I love the fact that my farms will be waiting for me when everyone has returned to their everyday lives and will be too busy to play with Grandma.
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