Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Colouring Eggs for Easter

N.B. The Sheep Pen in the screenshots is not mine. I do not own any 'flasher sheep' yet. There is one Ewe in the centre of the bottom row that changes colour. Each screenshot shows it in a different instant as it changes colour rapidly from moment to moment!

An extremely popular online game known as Farmville recently introduced an 'English Countryside' option as a method of giving players the opportunity to own a second farm and one that specialised in crops grown in England. Some of my favourite flowers are included and the entire theme of the farm is 'British', albeit rather stereotypical in nature. In Harvest Moon fashion, one is asked to restore vitality to a small village by assuming management of a dilapidated farm as well as a failing Pub. One therefore can craft both drinks and pastries, using Crops harvested from the 'English farm'.

A very interesting new twist to the game is the ability to breed sheep, but these are not ordinary Sheep. There are sheep in fantastical colours, ornamented with dots and stars. As with the 'fantasy trees' in Farmville, I initially was put off by the blue sheep with red dots. In the same manner in which I gradually came to appreciate the fantasy trees to the point where I wished to cultivate and produce MORE of them, I became seduced by the fantasy Sheep.

Breeding is not an instantaneous act. It requires special Potions and the presence both of a Ram and an Ewe. When a lamb is born, it must be fed 10 bottles of milk before it will grow into its adult form. One must ask Neighbours both for Love Potions and Bottles. Lambs can become ordinary or extraordinary Rams or Ewes, depending on their bloodlines and chance.

One can become quite obsessed with sheep-breeding. At first, I laughed at my Neighbours who constantly begged for more Bottles but now I have become quite as needy as any of them.

'Easter Egg' is an old gaming term that refers to special, hidden objects or events that can occur or manifest when triggered. The special Sheep that can be raised in Farmville could be considered 'Easter Eggs' in the gaming sense but, beyond that, breeding Sheep is very much like colouring Eggs for Easter. The brightly coloured, decorated Rams and Ewes that emerge when they become adults are very appropriate to the season and actually resemble coloured Eggs. I expect this was deliberate on the part of the developers and it is both clever and appealing.

Although virtual coloured Sheep, however fantastical and extraordinary, cannot take the place of real Easter eggs, the sheep breeding option in Farmville as well as the Crops of traditional Springtide flowers, gladden the heart and spirit.


Davoh said...

This fascinates me (you've probably noticed that i have your link in the "interesting" category on my sidebar).

However, what is reaaaly fascinating me at the moment is that there are six sheep in the paddock next door.
Well, one ram and five ewes. The progeny are, in fact, multicoloured .. um well, mostly mottles of black and white. Fascinating.

Freyashawk said...

Well, you've always been an interesting guy, Davoh. I must say I consider you fortunate to have REAL sheep in your neighbourhood. I am an animal lover and still often dream of living on a small farm, although any real hope of doing so becomes less and less probable.

What is alluring about the virtual world is the ability to have freedom and abilities that one does not possess in the 'real world' and especially when one hasn't much financial independence!