12 Most Interesting Things I Learned by Playing Cityville

12 Most Interesting Things I Learned by Playing Cityville

Over the Christmas holidays, I took a vacation to Cityville and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I knew that once I’d arrived at my destination I would immediately forget about work, bills, renovations and everything else. I knew it was the only way I could make the world stop spinning for a few days.

It had been about 18 months since I turned off all notifications for all Zynga games on Facebook. When I did that, I told myself I couldn’t actually delete the apps because my “friends” needed my city/farm/restaurant to be there.

Yeah. Right.

I knew I’d be back eventually.

1. Playing is all-engrossing

I definitely got off the hamster wheel for awhile. When you’re trying to expand your city to allow for the massive influx of development that’s been sidelined for 18 months, well, you’ve got no choice but to play Mayor for 18 hours, three days in a row. I can honestly say when I was playing I didn’t think about my plans for 2013, my clients, or anything else. I was truly, truly on vacation. And it felt great.

2. It’s a good way to meet new people online

If you’re willing to talk to all these strangers that you have to friend just so you can collect 200 rolls of toilet paper to build your outhouse, there are hundreds of groups set up for the sole purpose of helping each other succeed at these games. If you’re looking to make online friends, this will make it easy. I’m not. I just needed to get enough rolls to upgrade the stupid outhouse to level six.

3. Even Cityville has grifters

The first thing I did was join a few of those groups built for helping you along. Some of the members were offering to give me things I normally would have to pay for to be able to add to my city. When you direct message the person, they ask for your login info and password. Uh huh. Sure… it’s a GREAT idea to give a total stranger your login info when they are likely using a fake gaming account.

4. There is always a way to cheat

Because many people have fake gaming accounts and give access to the “grifters,” hackers are rampant. Yes, if you really, really want to have that gold statue of a penguin valued at 100 CV, some hacker has figured out how to do it for free. Even in a fake world, the big guys are being undercut.

5. Even Cityville has slackers

So you join these groups because you need help finishing your collections, building ice castles, and taming dragons. And you friend a few of the members because that’s the way the game is played… you need lots of neighbors to be successful. You do your civic duty by sending all the gifts and responding to all the requests for help. Chances are that half the people you’ve just friended will never visit your city or help you out… they’re just in it for themselves.

6. Product placement is everywhere

I think the first product placement in a Zynga game was Doritos about two years ago. As I visit other cities, I’ve noticed Twix buildings, McDonalds, Best Buy and even WalMart. The big guys know where their customers are.

7. The “restricted” list isn’t one I set up

Ooops… I thought this was a list I had previously set up to keep certain “friends” from constantly trying to chat with me on Facebook. WRONG. The Restricted List is one that Facebook gives you and the people on it can only see your public posts. Kind of defeats the purpose of inviting friends to play a game and then putting them on a list that won’t let them see the game’s posts. This was a good reminder for me.

8. You choose who sees your game posts

I think this is a new feature since I last played these games. Previously I had to explain to all my non-gaming friends how to stop seeing my game posts in their feed, but now you can actually set it up so that only the people on your gaming list see the gaming posts. Ingenious!

9. When you leave the city, your brain starts working again

As soon as I would lay down to sleep, my brain would start clicking and whirring with ideas — and lists of things to do — like writing this article. Vacationing to Cityville was the equivalent of stopping yourself from thinking about that thing you just can’t quite remember but it’s on the tip of your tongue, you know? As soon as you stop thinking about it, it comes to you, of course. The minute my head hit the pillow I was full of new ideas.

10. You can blog anything

Case in point: I turned my Cityville vacation into a blog post because of numbers eight and nine. I actually did learn (or maybe relearn) a couple of things about Facebook because of this vacation.

11. There’s always more to be done

Hoveywood continues to expand at an unprecedented rate. Developers are knocking at my door, just waiting to build bigger and better houses, community centers and amusement parks. Not to mention, my locally-owned and independent strawberry farm needs constant tending.

12. These games are truly addicting

When I opened Cityville up again, I said “I’m only going to play this for the weekend.” Then I said, oh… just a couple more days over the break. Then of course it was “I’m a grown woman. I should be able to play this for a little bit each day.” And there you have it. Completely addicted once again.

In the interest of honesty (and quite frankly you already know my deepest, darkest secret), I also dabbled in Chefville 2 and Bubble Safari. They didn’t take hold but were a means to an end. I was upsold. Play this to earn a new towel for your dormitory. Yeah. It’s lame. It’s all lame. I get that. But you know what? It WORKED. I had a true vacation from work for the first time in two years. So I think I’ll keep playing… just a little. I can stop any time I want.

Featured image courtesy of puuikibeach licensed via Creative Commons.

Anita Hovey


Anita is commonly referred to as the Head Twirp. By day she's a mild-mannered (NOT) social media consultant and trainer, at her own company Twirp Communications. By night she's a paper crafting super hero (PERHAPS). Addicted to all things pretty and frilly, lover of all colors, chewer of cinnamon gum, wearer of awesome boots, and not afraid to admit her friends live in her computer. She just wishes Dexter Morgan and Eric Northman would come OUT of her computer. Find Anita on Pinterest too!

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Ironically, I actually deleted Cityville two days before this was published...another lesson...addiction CAN be overcome!