Virtual World Creator
The most successful virtual world creator online is (arguably)
– the company that created game sensations such as Farmville, Cityville, Mafia Wars and a long list of others.
At the peak of its popularity, Farmville was the top favorite of active Facebook visitors, and had almost 80 million monthly players. It was arguably the first social media game, and focused on activities such as giving gifts to friends and learning to barter in the farmer’s market. But like clothing and music styles, online gaming popularity can change, and the numbers for Farmville’s participants dropped. No need to feel too sorry for them, though. The game still has tens of millions of faithful fans, and its virtual world creator and parent company, Zynga, still keeps cranking out hit after hit. In fact, Cityville -- the game that claimed the top spot from Farmville -- is also owned by Zynga (not a big surprise).
In Cityville, also based on Facebook, players build their own cities complete with homes, franchise businesses and police departments. And like in any good city government, nepotism is encouraged: players can enlist their friend and family to run their shops and public service departments. Players with iPhones and iPads can use the mobile app version to build smaller communities that link to their Facebook cities.
In this game, players can carve out their own piece of the online frontier by travelling in a covered wagon and building a homestead. Frontierville was a pioneer of social gaming – the first Facebook game that empowered players to use multiple avatars on the same screen. Cooperative activities include raising a virtual family, planting seasonal crops with friends and feasting with them after the harvest.
Mafia Wars let players get a taste of the social aspects of crime families. Players cooperate with their criminal friends to buy weapons, manage illegal businesses and steal from other crime families. Players can choose from several different crime settings which are located in various countries around the world, from the United States to Moscow, to Cuba to Italy, Brazil and Thailand. Multilingual players have an advantage and could potentially dominate the world of crime, since the game can be played in 8 different languages.
Empires and Allies
This game involves navigating the social channels of war and conquest. Zynga, the social media’s premier virtual world creator, has put a new spin on social gaming. Players need to recruit friends and family to build their own armies, navies and air forces. Unlike Zynga’s more cooperative Facebook Farmville, Frontierville and Cityville games, with entire virtual empires at stake, players will need to make strategic alliances and betrayals. They will need to quickly learn who to loot or do battle with, and who to fight beside and sell their weapons to. Playing nice in this game only works if it leads to a conquest on the other side.
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