Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mafia Wars Are Addictive on Facebook

A simple concept game, Mafia Wars courtesy of Zynga encourages mafia families to form. With a strong mafia family, fights are easier to win. With an energy meter, the players accomplish jobs to work their way up. Both earn money, before long property ownership comes to play to earn even more money. And that is Mafia Wars on a basic level.

Addiction comes from wanting to beat anyone deemed weaker to gain experience points, level up or simply get more money.

The catch about Mafia Wars is everything is based on a timer. Whether it's the energy, health or stamina meter, time is of the essence. A key characteristic to the game is patience. To monetize the game, developers offer a way to buy points to refill meters but it'll cost at a minimum $5. Gotcha! It also encourages interaction with strangers which is the point of social networks.

For some the game may have gone stagnant. Leveling up and mafia domination can get old. To spice up the game, developers recently started to beta test a change in setting: Cuba. While it isn't available to everyone, select few have been racking up more jobs and exploring the new aspect of the game.

Personally, the fun of the game is finishing jobs with fun names like: Run a Biker Gang Out of Town, Flip a Snitch or Recruit a Rival Crew Member. The other upside is seeking revenge on other mafia dons who attack me. Revenge can be done as an attack, sucker punch or adding them to the hit list.

While the jobs can sound gruesome and exploit the mystery of mafia life, it's all text. Unlike console video games there are no moving parts to the game. Stealing an Air Freight Delivery is simply a click. There is no video that comes with it. The game relies on imagination to fill in the action.

Thanks to Tracy Yen

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