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Social network games
Everyone with a modem and a mouse has found them self on a social network site such as Facebook. The boom of social networking has led to the growth of social network games such as Zynga’s new Fishville. That’s right, the casual gamer is back.
Social networking has given casual gamers a way to easily find and play games with their friends. Developers like Zynga have taken advantage of this and produced several games playable straight from Facebook.
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Fishville on Facebook
Fishville is pretty simple, even by the standards of Zynga’s other games (Mafia Wars and Farmville for example). But this is exactly what Casual gamers are looking for in a game. You start with an aquarium. You buy fish eggs, hatch and feed fish then sell the fish. In the meantime you decorate your tank and have a limited interaction with friend’s tanks.
Varying your choice of fish eggs changes their feeding requirements and value. Whether you can play every hour of the day or for a few minutes every few days you’ll find a fish to suit you. If you don’t make the feeding times, your fish die and you have to purchase new eggs. You can easily get a few coins from cleaning a friend’s tank, so you are never completely stuck.
As you play you can expand your aquarium and buy a few items to brighten it up; they grant experience but do not affect the fish. You unlock different levels of fish as your progress each with their own value and feeding requirements. You can also unlock additional tanks, which allow you to neglect and kill even more fish.
The game is currently in beta but seems to be stable enough. Future updates promise upgradable backgrounds for your tanks and an achievement system similar to... well almost every game being released now.
Other fish simulator games exist on Facebook, such as the highly popular Happy Aquarium from Crowdstar. It’s terribly similar and it wouldn’t be entirely unfair to say Zynga ripped them off but Zynga own the market for social networking games and can use their other games to promote new ones. I wouldn’t be that surprised if Fishville became the popular choice.
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Fishville released on Facebook
Fishville was released in early November 2009. It was displayed through other Zynga games which caught attention early on and spread at a pretty impressive rate. The nature of these games allows for easy, and free, advertising. A player can send friends invitations to play and is, in fact, incentivised to do so.
Not even a month into existence and the game has almost seventeen million users (source: http://www.appdata.com). It was not exactly a smooth start however. Three days after launch, Facebook took Fishville offline for Zynga’s violation of advertising rules.
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Facebook takes Fishville offline
Similar to Zynga’s other games; in-game currency was made available for completing offers such as free trails or questionnaires. Facebook had recently banned mobile offers for putting users at too much risk but the game continued to show them.
Technically the fault lies with the advertising agent and not Zynga, but Zynga should have been monitoring the adverts being placed on their game.
“Until Facebook is satisfied that Zynga demonstrates compliance with Facebook restrictions — as well as Zynga’s own restrictions — on the ads it offers users." Source: Facebook
The offending advertising has been removed and Fishville is now available again on Facebook. There have been accusations over Zynga’s advertising agent filtering IP’s to avoid displaying questionable adverts to journalists, bloggers and Facebook staff. It looks like they have removed it entirely now, but that doesn’t look good for Zynga who should be careful who they work with.
Facebook and Zynga must have some love – hate relationship going on over there. They both profit from Zynga games being on Facebook but Facebook made is clear this month they get the same treatment as everyone else.
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Is Fishville worth playing on Facebook?
Despite the setback, Fishville is growing quickly and is well on the path to becoming the watery version of Farmville (The most popular social networking game, Zynga’s creation of course.)
If you enjoy Zynga’s other games, you might want to login to Facebook and try Fishville. I wouldn’t be too surprised if you found a few of your friends already playing it. To answer the question you actually have on the game? Yes, there is a fish which looks like Nemo.