A 40-year-old acquaintance is seeking your skills to tend the crops on his farm and a 14-year-old nephew is looking for a partner to solve a gruesome murder. These are genuine requests by social-network gamers, who spend several hours - all while uploading photos and updating their status on Facebook - managing elaborate virtual farms and cafes, stacking up candy and jewels to unlock levels and making the best letter move on word board games. And serious participants are willing to pay for digital products to gain an edge over the competition, with Facebook raking in about US$213 million (Dh782m) through them in the first half of the year, according to reports. Afshan Ahmed looks atthe five most popular Facebook games that have UAE social networkers hooked
This game of cat and mouse is one of the fastest growing on Facebook this year with more than nine million daily players. Appealing to scores, who possibly hold on to a childhood dream of being a cop, the virtual play launched by the European-based social gaming company Pretty Simple in 2012 has players connecting the dots at a crime scene. Participants are part of an investigation team that interrogates suspects, analyses clues, finds items associated with the crime and nabs the culprit to progress to the next level. Social networkers can get the help of Facebook friends to solve mysteries, while virtual money can be used to develop an avatar. Gamers can also pay hard cash to reduce wait time in levels and purchase energy-boosting products to enhance their experience.
Candy Crush Saga
This candy is not for taste but the reward of matching similar ones in this puzzle is a sweet one for users, nevertheless. Those who have played classic Tetris will see similarities with social games such as Candy Crush and Bejeweled Blitz but there are added twists and challenges. Candy Crush is part of a long list of "Saga" games (Bubble Witch Saga and Pet Rescue Saga) developed by King.com. A different goal awaits players at each of the more than 440 levels of this match-three game. Players have to meticulously match irregular shaped candy to clear them off the board before they run out of lives, which can be restored by involving Facebook friends. Tiffi, the girl with pigtails, and Mr Toffee are characters who take the saga forward and help players progress.
More than 26 million users are surfing the world daily with a few clicks of their mouse and taps on their keyboard in this game developed by the Danish mobile-game companies Kiloo and SYBO Games. Billed as an "endless runner game", a player's avatar goes in and out of various countries, dodging obstacles and law enforcers, weaving between railway tracks and picking up objects and coins along the way. Revolving around the theme "World Tour", developers release a simulated environment every month, the current one being set in Paris. Players can bring on other avatars as companions by giving up collected coins or unlocking mystery boxes.
A 3-D successor of the original game launched by the social game creator Zynga in 2009, Farmville 2 has players growing a variety of produce and care for livestock. Players slip into a farmer avatar and have to turn around an unkempt farm and earn points and coins as they harvest crops and domesticate animals. Facebook friends can be employed as farmhands and assist the player in daily activities around the land. When the first game was launched it managed to attract 10 million daily active users within six weeks of its launch. The second edition, which was released in 2012, has not enjoyed similar success, with its popularity dipping this year. That did not stop the game company Hasbro from creating a Farmville-based board game. It will soon be turned into a television show produced by Brett Ratner and Six Eleven Media.
Online Scrabble and similar word games attract both social network gamers who like a little brain training as well as wordplay aficionados who have been honing their skills on the traditional board game for years. The Hasbro version of the Scrabble app for people in North America and the Mattel version for players in the rest of the world are constantly improved and the dictionary expanded. This month, Mattel came under fire when it updated the app, introducing new rules and deleting game histories. The game now pairs players randomly, not allowing them to pick opponents based on friendships and level of skill. A 24-hour Scrabblethon was organised by disgruntled players around the world to protest against the changes on July 12, which has not resulted in any change yet. Some of the add-ons to the new app include more languages in the dictionary and players can now compete against those in the US.