As an avid patroller of social networking sites, I’ve noticed the recent development of a disturbing trend befouling the Facebook realm. In the past several weeks, an alarming number of my internet acquaintances have taken it upon themselves to fashion virtual farms by way of a popular application entitled “Farmville.” With this interactive game, participants can create a unique farming character to plant and harvest a variety of crops, raise cutesy cartoon barnyard animals, erect farm-ish buildings, and purchase and send agricultural gifts to other players. My news feed is plagued with stories of lonely ducklings and lost sheep turning up on so-and-so’s property and an endless barrage of “photos” depicting these ridiculous (and completely imaginary) conglomerates. I like my news feed to give me straight-up gossip and stories of my friends’ misfortune. Not incessant updates on how your bogus strawberry patch is fairing. Let the record show that I hate Farmville.
To combat this agricultural phenomenon, while simultaneously satisfying the perverse joy I get from squashing others’ fun, I am trying to garner support for the development of a program to counter Farmville. I call this emerging application “Mallville.”
Similar to Farmville, Mallville will exist as a Facebook application designed to enhance social networking through various player interactions. Contrary to the innocence of Farmvillers, however, players of Mallville build virtual strip malls, parking lots, and elaborate multi-level parking garages to simulate suiting the realistic needs of our consumer-driven, contemporary economy. In Mallville, there is no room for the archaic pastoral community, and as such, players of Mallville are heartily encouraged to bulldoze, fill, and develop their friends’ virtual farms. “Expansion Points” will be earned by Mallville developers who successfully demolish Farmville properties and effectively supervise the construction of readily accessible shopping centers in their stead. When accumulated in bulk, these points can be used to purchase landfill by the ton, excavation machinery, concrete, asphalt, and other items necessary to aid in all destruction and construction efforts.
Anticipating the immediate popularity of Mallville, my hope is that all Farmville operations will be squelched within several days of the initial Mallville launch. Farmville participants will be encouraged to continue involvement by applying for entry-level positions within Mallville operations, including (but not limited to) demolition, construction, and management of the various slaughterhouses that will be necessarily and immediately assembled to process the elimination of millions of cutesy cartoonish farm animals.
So, please keep checking your Facebook applications for the advent of Mallville. And for all you cyber-farmers out there, don’t be surprised if you wake up early one morning to harvest your imaginary crop and find a virtual Walgreen’s where your fake corn field used to be. Agrarianism is so last season. Pave or be paved!