What is Petville on Facebook

Petville is one of the recently launched online social games available as a Facebook application.  It was created by Zynga, who also created Farmville, Fishville, and Yoville, among others.  This is a simulation game where the user creates a pet.  Unlike real life, this pet does not have to conform to reality.  Therefore, the user has an abundance of options in "designing" their virtual pet.  The user also designs the home in which their pet lives.

Starting the Game

At first, the game will prompt the user to create their pet.  Using a set of menus, users will choose the shape of the head, the color of the fur, the gender of the pet, and the style of the nose, ears, eyes, hair, and mouth.  Don't worry, the pet's appearance can be changed later in the game.  Once the appearance is complete, the user is prompted to type a name into an entry box on the screen and the pet arrives in the starter house.  The starter house has one "unlocked" room and a small selection of items, including the food dish.  Appropriately named "Nosie" the neighbor arrives to "talk" the user through some of the game layout.  There is a brief explanation of the stuff in the game and where to find the icons to access them and then Nosie invites the user to visit her at her house.  As the user advances levels in the game, additional rooms will unlock.

The points in the game are referred to as "love" and the currency is coins.  Unlike the popular phrase, in this game one can "buy" love.  Each time money is "spent", love points are awarded.  Love points are also earned through activities.  Coins are earned through activities and are used to buy food and items for the pet.  The pet is semi-humanoid, stands on two feet and wears clothing.  A small wardrobe is available at the start of the game and is accessed by clicking on the shirt icon in the lower left corner of the game window.

Getting Love and Coins

Love is earned through activities and through the purchase of items for the pet.  Arriving in a friend's home will generate a prompt to play with a selection of icons.  Mousing over the icons will generate an identifying pop-up.  Each of the available activities will generate 50 love and 50 coins on the first visit of each day, with lesser amounts on subsequent visits within one day.  The user can only visit friends who are Petville neighbors.  The more neighbors a user has, the greater the opportunity for coins and love in a given day.  Neighbor invites can be sent by clicking on the "My neighbors" tab just above the game window and then clicking the appropriate buttons on the resulting screen.

The user can also go shopping for the pet at one of several stores.  As the user advances levels in the game, more purchasable options will open up.  There are two ways to access the stores: through the storage box or via the world.  The storage box is an icon in the lower left of the game window that appears like a treasure chest.  Clicking this opens a menu below the game window in the same space that neighbors previously appeared.  To the right are a variety of items including treats, clothes, and furniture items that are owned and can be used in game play.  To the left in the storage box is a set of three icons labeled furniture, wardrobe, and hardware to access the associated stores.  The world icon is also in the lower left corner of the game window and appears like a globe.  Clicking this opens a menu in the game window that allows several options, including shopping.

At the stores the user will purchase any clothing, furniture, or redecorating options desired.  The prices for the items are listed in tags that point to the objects.  Clicking the object brings up a pop-up window that shows the item in a little more detail with a descriptive title and allows the user to select the number of that item to purchase.  Upon completing the purchase, the coins are deducted, love is awarded (at a rate of approximately 1 love point per 10 coins spent) and the item is added to the storage box to be used back at the pet's home.  One additional way to earn a little love is by changing the flowers in the vase.  Clicking on the vase will bring up a menu with the available selection of flowers.   

Coins are earned by playing with neighbors, cleaning up around the house, collecting food rewards, and playing games in the world.  As mentioned above, the first activity per day per neighbor earns 50 coins and replacing flowers in vases also earns coins (variable by type of flower).  Around the pet's home will be various items to be cleaned by clicking on the objects.  Each item is worth a different amount of coins and there is a bonus when all items have been cleaned.  The user selects food for the pet.  Different types of food last for different lengths of time.  When the food is gone, the pet finds a gem and leaves it next to the bowl.  Clicking the gem allows the user to collect coins and love.  Be careful, if the pet goes unfed for too long it will run away and then the user must pay a fine to the pound to get it back.   

The game allows the user to customize the virtual pet, and the virtual house.  Purchasing items gains love points, but nothing is earned for using them.  Using items is simply a matter of providing users with a game appearance that they enjoy.  Early in the game, the longest lasting food option will last for 48 hours (2 days) and the user will need to visit the game to replace food within about a day after this runs out.

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