Zynga, the company that ended all your meaningful social interactions via FarmVille, is about to go public, and that means it's time for the company to step it up a notch in order to lure potential investors.
The number of FarmVille users has dropped to 44 million. This time last year, they had twice as many. Unsatisfied with holding a measly sixth of the population of the United States in their grasp, Zynga has decided that now they will pursue a new game called Allies and Empires, a war strategy game that will allow you to form alliances to fend off attackers bent on pillaging your island nation.
To sum up: Zynga built an empire on a game centered on peaceful agriculture and community cooperation, and now feels that the next logical step is to teach people to use whatever means possible to prepare for ever-present war. We could quip on that, but we'll let a Terry Pratchett quote handle it for us.
"This explains everything you need to know about human nature... or at least the bits of it that are still smouldering."
All jesting aside, Art Attack is always on the look out for a way to escape the prose mines, so we'd like to offer up Zynga some more suggestions for games to feed the public's hunger for new product.
People set up religions for all kinds of reasons. They do it because God told them to, to get laid, to control a populace, to get laid, to attain personal salvation, and sometimes to get laid. The average American just doesn't have time to sit in the desert and convince people they have the one true answer. Well, they do have the time but they won't do it.
That's where GodVille comes in. Users are encouraged to build churches, and have the ability to institute whatever wacky orthodoxy they wish. No umbrellas on Tuesdays? Let's do it. All cows are named Davey McSuavel? Why the hell not?
You'd be tasked with expanding your religion through conversion, maybe in a battle system with other players similar to Pokemon. Pastafarianism, I choose you. If coming up with your own religion sounds like too much work, you could always just join one of the already established ones and try to expand it. Absolutely nothing could possibly go wrong with that.
Healthcare is very much in the public mind right now, but nobody seems to be looking at it from the disease's perspective. They remain a disenfranchised group. Well, they can at least get their time in the sun with GermVille.
The game is simple, you start off small as just a humble little virus, bacteria, or tumor, and you steadily grow and conquer cells in a human body until you win... death. Maybe years of dealing with the medical industry has given us a little Stockholm Syndrome and we're finally ready to proclaim allegiance to Athlete's Foot and nausea, but it still might be fun to be the invader rather than the invadee for once.
Hey, you could name your host body after people you don't like. Wouldn't that be therapeutic? It would be like a high tech voodoo doll with the added bonus of watching the curse work inside out.
You know what else is big right now? Screaming about illegal immigration and building a giant fence along the Southern border. Lost of yelling, and nobody has a good plan. Well, how about you come up with a plan in BorderVille.
In the game you set up a small town on the Texas border, and begin building ways to stop any clandestine entry from Mexico. Fences, guard dogs, recruiting friends to patrol, even lobbying to state and federal legislatures could all be involved.
Every month Zynga could forward information about the highest scoring border town to Rick Perry's office in an effort to contribute ideas to the ongoing debate. We bet he'd go for it, too. After all, wasn't he the governor who thought that hooking up webcams all over the border and letting people watching them over the internet report illegal entry was a viable plan?
After many years as a musician, Art Attack has more or less opted out of the game. No more trying to make money selling CDs or playing live shows. Everything is free, and if something doesn't come off then it's not like there will be a price to pay.
However, being in a working band is kind of like a fun nightmare, and if video games are good for anything it's for living out fun nightmares. In BandVille you form a band, recruiting friends to play, distribute flyers, or come to shows. You gain in popularity through a polling process. Don't worry; you don't have to actually write any music. You just have to come up with song names and other players vote on which one sounds better.
The game will follow musical trends in the self-contained universe. If country is popular, and you're in a metal band, it will be harder to climb the charts. Don't worry, though, tastes change all the time, and if for a brief moment Albanian folk music is popular and you're the only band jamming it out then you might end up rocketing to the top.
Of course, you'll have to be on the lookout for inept clubs, drugs, vehicle breakdowns, backstabbing record executives, and worst of all drummers.
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