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Gaga FarmVille : Cheats for Farmville

The overarching appeal of FarmVille is that the game is not actually a game at all. Zynga has created a social network within a social network. Strangers can become "virtual neighbours" while enjoying a greater degree of anonymity than accepting someone's "friendship" on the main Facebook site.

"I started off with a handful of farmers - friends known to me," says Magnus Nystedt, group editor of GameWorld Middle East. "After three months I had about 300 from all over the world.

"You can play the game alone but if you choose to meet your neighbours you can take part in 'quests'. Plus, helping them out and chasing away crows from their land makes you feel good! The gamer feels socially responsible and wins farm cash too, which keeps them logging on," he says.

The other characteristic of FarmVille that set it apart from traditional computer games is that it's not wildly competitive and plods along at a very sedate pace. The game is awash with colourful cartoon characters and there are certainly no monsters to shoot, not least because Farmer Giles doesn't own a rifle.

"It's not intimidating at all - nobody really wins so everyone wins," says Nystedt. "Sure, you can be strategic and buy your way up the farming ranking system but there's no loser."

The game is not without its critics, who say it forces players to exploit their friends and that the level of commitment required is far too high: Farmer Giles's dog is liable to run away if not fed regularly; worse still, his crop will wither if not harvested in time. But frankly, this still sounds pretty tame compared with the World of Warcraft or the entirely immersive experience of Second Life, the original lifestyle game, which was launched in 2003 independent of any other web entity and on a much broader conceptual canvas, and now has around 20 million users.

Facebook's other social network games, such as Puppy Nation and Atomic Strike, are following in the wake of FarmVille, but so far have failed to attract the same following.

However, the long-term success of the genre is guaranteed, says Nystedt, because online games are not only cheaper for developers to produce but also free for the players. Lady Gaga, pop supremo, wearer of meat dresses, the star who has sold more than 15-million albums worldwide, announced earlier this month that she had partnered with games company Zynga to release exclusive songs through its Facebook game, FarmVille.

The singer's fans will be able to visit GagaVille, a specially designed farm inside the virtual farming simulation game, which will contain unicorns and crystals. It's hard to think of a clearer sign that games are now entirely mainstream.

Lady Gaga's choice of FarmVille makes sense: it's an enormous market. The game has about 60-million players worldwide. And FarmVille's demographic appeal is broad. The game is inoffensive to the point of being anodyne and unchallenging to the point that some commentators say it barely deserves the title "game" at all.

But the lack of challenge is part of what's made it successful: it can be played on any internet-connected computer, doesn't need special equipment or particular skill, or an expensive phone or data-download plan.

In FarmVille players plant virtual crops -- strawberries, bell peppers and leeks are just some of the choices -- wait a few hours and then harvest them to receive coins that allow them to buy more farming supplies.

Of course, the best farming goods can't be bought with in-game coins, but need real money. As the New York Times pointed out in a profile of FarmVille's founder, Mark Pincus, last year, "the sums are small, but add up quickly when multiplied by millions of users". The recent Lady GaGa promotion with FarmVille drove traffic to the online game up by over 30% at its peak - but its impact was short-lived.

AllThingsDigital monitored the impact on the Zynga-owned game by drawing on traffic information from AppData. It found uptake was initially slow and only gathered momentum when free track streaming was made available.

The special GaGa area within FarmVille opened on May 17 - six days ahead of the release of her Born This Way album. Average daily visitors were actually slightly down at that point - totalling 11m visitors compared to 11.5m visitors the preceding week.

Traffic, however, began to leap when users were allowed to unlock exclusive GaGa tracks before the album release. By May 19, daily traffic had spiked to 13.5m visits.

Traffic after this point, however, began to steadily fall.

Ultimately this shows that online presence is only validated when incentives are offered and a reason to visit are made clear to users. Holding their attention after this point is another trick entirely.

With the huge marketing push around the album, flashpoints of web activity around specific sites were inevitable and this GaGa/FarmVille case shows how quickly they can ignite and burn out.
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Is your second FarmVille  farm in the English Countryside growing a bit too small? Do you have more decorations, animals, and crop plots than you can hold? If you said yes, you now have the option to expand your English farm to the 26x26 English Expanse by purchasing the expansion in the market. Don't get too excited though - this expansion is currently only available for Farm Cash. Oh, that's 100 Farm Cash by the way (because we know every farmer just has that lying around).

If you'd like to splurge, there's no time limit for how long this expansion will be available. If you'd rather not run out and purchase a Game Card or eCard just for the Farm Cash to expand (I don't blame you), you might be waiting a long time for a coin option, as it's not even listed on the screen as "coming soon" or "locked." That's a scary thought, thinking that Zynga may never release a coin option, but I wouldn't go that far just yet. Check back in a few weeks and I'm sure the (very expensive) expansion will eventually become available.

Will you spend a whopping 100 Farm Cash to expand your English Countryside farm? How many coins do you hope this expansion releases for? How many would you be willing to pay? Let us know in the comments. Did you miss out on any of the prizes released by 102.7 KIIS FM in honor of the GagaVille theme in FarmVille? You're in luck, as the team at Zynga has graciously re-released these once-exclusive prizes to the in-game market. Better yet, they're all available for a relatively low amount of coins.

Even if you already earned each of these items for free via the cross-promotion, you can feel free to purchase duplicates if you'd really like to help set the Lady Gaga theme on your farm apart from other farmers. The Electric Rose Arch costs 10,000 coins, the Electric Rose Bed costs 4,000 coins, the Gaga Garden Patch goes for 7,000 coins, and finally, the Gaga Gem costs the most at 50,000 coins. Still, it's very surprising that these items don't cost Farm Cash, so make sure to take advantage of these bargains while we still can. Lady Gaga is known everywhere, and no where is this more evident than in Zynga's FarmVille. The sheer scope of this media cross-promotion is driving some players bonkers, but for the most part, FarmVillers are excited and gobbling up Gaga goods from the Market. Currently, the best-selling GagaVille specials are the Gem Tree, Purple Ponytail (a horse), Giant Gem Tree, and Crystal Sheep and there's even more to come......

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