ORHS in a Hay Daze

Lately, the app Hay Day has been in the midst of its heyday at Oyster River High School (ORHS).  

The game that many students played during their childhood has resurfaced and the ‘Hay Day craze’ has been sweeping through ORHS. Hay Day is a farming simulator game where the player grows crops, tends to animals, produces goods, and completes tasks. Students enjoy the sense of control, stress-relieving qualities, and overall fun that the game provides. Some have gotten so invested that they find it becoming a procrastination method or even addiction. Many redownloaded the game and picked up right where they left off when they were younger.  

Colin Klein (‘24) (Level 31) said, “I think a lot of people play Clash of Clans and all those games. People played them in middle school and they were really popular. Now, within the past year, everyone has been redownloading stuff that we used to play for nostalgia.” Klein redownloaded the game about six months ago and has been playing along with some of his friends.  

Emily Liu (‘23) (Level 47) shared that she has been playing since she was five on her mom’s account. “It’s been on and off over the course of my life. Pretty recently I’ve gotten back into it, and I think I’ve been playing for the majority of the school year.” She has noticed the popularity of the game increasing throughout ORHS: “it’s always funny when you go up to someone, see their phone tilted sideways, and you’re like ‘oh what are you playing’ and they say Hay Day,” she said.  

The game is geared for any and all ages, Klein said. “I think it’s more targeted at younger kids, but I think it’s not so childish that someone our age can’t play it. High schoolers still have interest in the game’s strategy and complex thinking.” When players are younger, they may choose to focus more on the animals or decorating their farm, but as they get older, they may enjoy the more economic elements of the game like producing and selling goods.  

A lot of ORHS students enjoy the sense of control that the game provides them. Ella Boyd (‘25) (Level 55) shared, “you control the looks of your farm and running everything so you’re basically in charge of this whole app.” She continued to explain how the different levels of the game and items that get unlocked provide a sense of accomplishment for her.  

Liu shared the sentiment and said, “I think it’s just really relaxing and all you do is farm. There’s a really nice feeling of being in control, working things out, and having everything planned.” She finds that the game is a good way to relax, but “I think the game is also very addictive because it sets time limits and deadlines for the players and you feel like you have to meet them, so you get hooked into it,” she said.  

Like Liu and many other players, Boyd has also experienced the feeling of addiction. “Since there’s timed stuff and things you want to go back to, you can put it down but have the little inkling in the back of your mind that you’re going to pick it up later and keep going. I’ll play even for just five minutes before the bell rings to feed my cows, make some butter, and get myself prepared for when I come back to it after class.”  

Although it can easily become a distraction, Holden Bell (‘23) (Level 38) finds that “Hay Day takes too much brain power so I can’t listen to a teacher and try to play Hay Day.” This means he doesn’t tend to play it during class but does during other times. Most students play the game during slow parts of class, flex, or free time at home that might have normally been spent doing homework.  

Even though playing Hay Day can become a distraction, it’s usually only for a few months. Many players go through phases. Boyd said, “I’ll be in a phase where I want to play Hay Day every day all the time, and then all of a sudden I’ll drop it for months.” She reflected on the future of the popularity around Hay Day at ORHS and shared, “I think there was a point in the school year this year when it was really popular with everybody, but now the phase is hitting where it gets put down. I bet you it will come back at some point, and everybody will be obsessed with it again.”

-Libby Davidson (Level 62)