My Geek Farm is built around a fun idea, but the general experience is a barren one.
Today’s video games tell their stories with photorealistic graphics, fully orchestrated soundtracks, and crews of professional voice actors. Is there still a place for the genre that started it all—the humble text adventure? Absolutely. There will always be that niche of game fans that enjoy imagining their own visuals and voice-overs. My Geek Farm is a text-based game that strives to attract that niche, but it works better as a ten-minute joke than as a full experience.
My Geek Farm is yet another farming sim parked on Facebook, but it offers a major twist over its brethren: everything you do and everything you see is relayed through text. There are no graphics, no sound. There isn’t even an auto-save feature. If you close your window without typing “SAVE,” you’re going to lose progress.
In other ways, My Geek Farm plays like a typical farm game. You need to buy plots of land, plow them, and visit a store to buy seeds and plant them. When it’s time to harvest, there’s no point-and-click. Instead, you type “collect 1” to gather what’s in your first plot, “collect 2” to gather what’s in your second plot, and so on.
My Geek Farm is a cute parody of Facebook sims in general. It’s the kind of game that you might show to a friend and laugh over for a bit. Once you’ve experienced that initial jolt of nostalgia, however, you’re probably not going to return to the game. There’s not a lot to do, and what you can do isn’t very much fun to stick to for long.
My Geek Farm‘s main problem is that it lacks a trait that makes text adventure games appealing in the first place: colorful descriptions of your actions and surroundings. You can look around your farm to see what’s growing, and you can visit the shop to see what’s on sale, but nothing accompanies you—no humor, no dialogue, no descriptions of cows, crops, or grizzled shopkeepers and their tortoiseshell cats. There’s no exploration, either. All you can really do is glance at your crops, some of which are admittedly weird. Ever try planting a “burger chicken?”
Another problem is that crops take hours—sometimes even days—to grow. You gain coins and experience when it’s finally time to reap, but big deal. The money just goes back into growing more bland food. It’s a cycle that gets old real quick. You can visit your buddies’ farms, but there’s not a lot to do there, either.
However you may feel about the likes of FarmVille, there’s a reason why it’s a success: The graphics, sound, and primal satisfaction of clicking buttons makes Facebook gaming in general a strong draw. That said, with the aid of some creative descriptions and exploration, My Geek Farm could have worked wonderfully as a retro parody of a farming game. As it stands, it’s little more than a moderately funny ironic joke.