Following the success of such now-famous Facebook applications as FarmVille and FrontierVille, software developer Zynga has unveiled its latest effort to merge social networking and online gaming: Insurance Claims AdjusterVille. In exclusive sneak previews, Zynga has emphasized that Insurance Claims AdjusterVille is a "grittier, more challenging, but ultimately more rewarding" Facebook gaming experience.
Those who were lucky enough to attend these sneak previews had mixed reactions to the game's increased realism. While FarmVille simply required users to click on a patch of grass to grow corn, Insurance Claims AdjusterVille requires players to compare conflicting reports about meth lab fires, grisly motorcycle crashes, or trip cancellations due to death before writing off all damages as acts of God and filling out an accurately reproduced C-14.a Claim Certification.
Said one person in attendance, "I liked the 'ClaimBar,' where my character could drink silently with other Adjusters in dim lighting and listen to Johnny Cash until he forgot who he was, but I felt like the five-minute cut scenes of families crying over irrevocably water-damaged mementos as my Adjuster tried to trick them into claiming responsibility for the flood were a bit gratuitous."
Though certain aspects of Insurance Claims AdjusterVille are a departure from FarmVille and its other successors, Insurance Claims AdjusterVille has certainly retained FarmVille's basic structure.
One of FarmVille's most notorious gameplay mechanisms is the wilting of crops, and Zynga said, "we're happy to let players know that Insurance Claims AdjusterVille will be just as addicting. Just because you don't have crops, don't think that you won't have to pay close attention to your Adjuster."
While there was considerable speculation about this gameplay feature in the weeks before the sneak preview, the hype has only increased since Insurance Claims AdjusterVille's official unveiling. Players have reported that leaving one's Adjuster unattended did not, as in Farmville, simply destroy the player's previous work the same way each time.
Reported one player, "After I left my computer for fifteen minutes, I returned to find that my adjuster had 'become disillusioned and decided to move to a cabin in the woods.' And he was just one C-14.a Claim Certification away from retirement! My friend's Adjuster was fired for showing up drunk on the job to investigate a burnt-out mobile home. And I hear that if you get to a high enough level and then leave your Adjuster unattended, he writes a cautionary memoir, a tale of lost love and namelessness. All I know is, I'll never get sick of this game."
Reactions to this feature have not been entirely positive, though. Many have written it off as a cheap ploy to keep players playing Insurance Claims AdjusterVille long after the game has ceased to be fun.
Zynga has fired back at these criticisms, pointing out that "if claims adjusters stopped their work after it ceased to be fun, there would be a hell of a lot fewer claims adjusters out there right now."
Zynga then proceeded to light another cigarette, pour itself a couple fingers of cheap whiskey, and hunch back over another C-14.a Claim Certification. Two years until retirement.