Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Carole Stewart McDonnell

Computer Platform: PC, MAC
Produced by: Maxis
Price Range: $9-29
Learning curve time: 2 hrs.
Age level: 12+
ESRB Rating: Kids to Adults

Genre: Simulation
Christian Rating: 5 of 5
   (nothing offensive)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
Violence: 5 of 5
Adult Content: 5 of 5

"SimFarm", a simulation world from Maxis, the makers of “SimCity”, teaches you more than you would want to know about farming. After playing with this game, I felt as if I had been through a year of farming research. I knew why our nation's small farms are dwindling and felt a great deal of compassion for them… but I also knew the typical non-farming teenager would only play this game as a class project or if forced into it. The world of “SimFarm” is much too specialized. No one --except farmers—cares that much about oats, barley, corn and farming equipment.

“SimFarm” presents you land, some money, and tons of options. Can you make a successful farm out of it? Especially as time rolls relentlessly on. Like most Simgames, it's best to read the help section before you start “digging in.” Once you understand the laws of sowing and reaping, regarding the clouds and winds, and being a good shepherd to your flock, you can amass a lot of wealth. Many things are against you: the loan officers, your own inexperience, time, and the many devourers that can destroy your tender plants.

In the end your child's enjoyment of this game depends on how interested they are in farms. Most nomadic and agricultural countries have stories of good and bad shepherds. For urban and suburban Christians in North America, the game brings to life many Biblical stories and many of Jesus's parables: the good sower and the good shepherd become more comprehensible to us. So too does the idea of sowing and reaping, sowing in tears and reaping in joy, the 23rd Psalm and stories of crop-destroying entities. It's a game that teaches us about seed-sowing and the care involved in protecting and bringing seeds to fruition and turning small mustard seeds into large trees that the birds of the air rest in.

Positive—I picked this game up for my girlfriend since she is very much a “country girl” and ended up addicted to it myself. (Yes, she did end up getting the game as a gift… eventually.) Great fun, even if it is not as graphically advanced as SimCity 3K. i>My Ratings: [5/4]
   —Matthew Beech, age 20

Positive—Being a “farmer's daughter” I really enjoy playing SimFarm. It made me appreciate more how hard my father works to support our family. This game can be really fun and addicting, but only if you're interested in raising crops and livestock year after year. There's nothing really objectional in SimFarm but if you don't feed your animals they will break the fences and escape. If your farm is close to a highway then your livestock quickly turns into roadkill. Feed your animals and this won't happen. SimFarm is fun, I would suggest it for anyone who thinks they would enjoy it. My Ratings: [5/4]
   —Lori Stanley, age 21

Positive—“SimFarm”, while never quite as popular as it's big “SimCity” brother, does not fail to provide hours of entertainment. I guess it's just the whole idea of running your own farms, keeping livestock, growing crops, etc. that makes this game so appealing. It is relaxing, I've found. This game, like almost every one of the Sim games, has a very good “goof factor.” That is a term my brothers and I coined. It is a scale by which we measure how a player could goof off and destroy himself or his farm. There is nothing morally wrong with the game. It is just simply running a farm. Don't worry, parents. I don't think it's possible to find anything objectionable about this game. By the way, if you are interested in buying this game you might find it in the bargain bin in the electronics department of many stores. My Ratings: [5/4]
   —Mark Arndt, age 16

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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