Why Has My Relationship With FarmVille Exceeded Any One With a Man?
At 22 years old, I am not ashamed to admit that I have not been unable to tie a man down for an extended period of time. I have tried, but with the lack of consistency, snakey behaviour and the trust issues that come along with that, I am left asking, “why am I putting myself through this?” I would rather have a relaxing, steady paced, consistent lifestyle – like I have on my 8 year old farm in FarmVille.
It might strike you odd as a comparison to make, but FarmVille never lets me down. The worst thing that can happen is that I don’t sell enough crops at the market. Comparing that to a relationship, where so many different things can go wrong; lack of chemistry, nothing in common, having a wondering eye, being dishonest and even being unfaithful.
The stress of it all is enough to put anyone off. I have pretty much been single for the entirety of my 20’s, and I just keep going back to my farm.
I started building my farm in around 2012 on my fathers iPad. It was the first iPad we had in the family, and it gave me great excitement that I could begin to grow a prosperous life from within it. I started building the foundations of a lasting, working life living off the land, tending to my cattle and even making pies from the produce that I grew. Everything is on my time, my conditions and up to me to decide on. How many people can say that about their relationships?
“Have gamers had it right all along? Is life better in a screen?”
There is the inevitable ending of the ‘honeymoon phase’ and you begin to see your partners true colours and how they interact with others in certain situations, and this can often be the make or break in some relationships. With my farm, it is just pure, untampered, bliss.
Of course we can all laugh about the comparison, but is there something deeper going on here? Do we have a better chance of happiness if it is digitally enhanced? Is the life in the screen actually giving me more happiness than any man ever could?
In 2020, there was an estimated 2.7 billion gamers around the globe, each taking an active part in creating a digital fantasy world which has no resemblance to the world we live in. This feeling of the ethereal, magical beings and environments do case an appeal – especially during the pandemic to act as escapism from the everyday. Have gamers had it right all along? Is life better in a screen?
In November 2020, A study conducted by Oxford University set to find out if video games can actually enhance your happiness, and the results were staggering. The Oxford researchers studied the data collected from 3274 gamers, who played Nintendo’s Animal Crossing and EA’s Plants VS Zombies. The game developers gave the researchers information telling them how long each gamer had played for, and then game the gamers questions about their mental wellness. This study is the first of its kind, with actual game time being linked to psychological questionnaires. Professor Andrew Przybylski led the study, and commented that he was surprised by the results.
“If you play Animal Crossing for four hours a day, every single day, you’re likely to say you feel significantly happier than someone who doesn’t,” Przybylski explained.
Previous studies of a similar nature have discovered that with continuers play time, players mental state decreased, which is why these results came at quite a surprise..
Professor Przybylski explained that the in-game social features which connect other gamers, and make it more of a social experience could be why the gamers felt so much happier after playing. He described online gaming as a “digital water cooler” meaning it gives gamers a new way to socialise online. I am an avid player of Animal Crossing, and find it utterly soothing for the soul.
My farm isn’t sounding so silly now…