March 12 2010
As I mocked early e-commerce websites as gimmicky and pointless, I am wary of poking fun at this clever but, er, gimmicky and possibly pointless new British site, which replicates in online computer game form a traditional farmers’ market – events at which you never actually see a farmer. There are plenty of good online delicatessens, but the ambition and technical virtuosity of this one is intriguing. Using your cursor keys, you can navigate around the 3D-look Virtual Farmers’ Market, set on a supposed village green, rather than the usual car park.
The VFM is rather spooky, as you never see other customers, so feel like someone who’s got there early – like the Queen or the only survivor of a nuclear apocalypse. Will all online shops look like this a few years from now? Unlikely. But I wouldn’t bet against it. It’s worth experiencing, and there is actually some decent non-virtual stuff for sale at the 45 stalls.