Crop-stealing on Happy Farm: an addiction to affiliation

By Maverick Chen
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, December 10, 2009
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Once at work, Zhang feels obliged to solidify her achievements on the farm before commencing her job. She logs in, checks all of her friends' farms yet again, and collects any remaining fruit she didn't notice earlier. Sometimes she'll try to tidy her friends' gardens to raise her score. During the day, she goes as far as to carefully plan-out her spare time, so as to visit the farms as often as possible. "I even use Excel sometimes to plan my work and farm tours. It does distract me, a lot," Zhang said.

As many as 40 government officials in Zhejiang province have been reprimanded for wasting work hours surfing the Internet. 


Zhang has reached level 48, so she's quite advanced at playing the game. The "assets" she has amassed in the game include an online Garden Villa and cash – she is a multimillionaire when it comes to Happy Farm currency. "It's very gratifying," Zhang says with elation.

Like Zhang, numerous urban white-collar workers have become engrossed in online farming. Much like Zhang's Excel schedule, other farmers also go to extreme measures, such as doing midnight harvests, having their parents help play the game when they can't, using automatic software programs to harvest for them, and even hiring professional "online farm workers."

Zhang admits that the game not only occupies her time, but is also a sort of accomplishment when compared with her previous, boring life. The game "reignited the passion in my life," she says.

Diversified online farmers

The game is appealing to various age groups. One online farmer, nicknamed Kenshi, is a 49-year-old accountant and mother of a son in college. Kenshi has only been playing the game for three months, but has already become a seasoned farm manager.

Half a year ago, Kenshi barely used the Internet. Then a friend suggested she get involved in the online farming game to make her job less boring. Once on board, she found it difficult to stop playing.

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