It's time something like this has been done. While Farmville is/was fun, it's largely a waste of time and electricity. Here is a social game that utilizes the concept of Farmville and pushes resources to children in need. The game is called WeTopia and while it may provide much of the same notification nightmare that Farmville burdens us with, the game is helping kids in Haiti live a better life. The game has been developed by Sojo Studios who believe that people are already playing socially and that activity can be used for social good.
Ellen's WeTopia village
You have to either buy or annoy. Or wait.
Furthermore, while virtually everything requires energy to do, you'll find yourself running out of energy soon and the only way to get around it is buy Facebook credits and/or wait around till you fill up again. You'll see many instances where the game will let you complete a quest with Facebook credits. This is because a part of the revenue from Facebook credits not only funds the game but is actually donated to the charities that the game supports. In addition to Facebook credits, the game also collects money from advertisers to donate. You will notice that as you collect 100 joy points, you'll be able to donate them to a charity of your choice. The time that it takes to collect that many joy points builds up a substantial coin pile for the game itself to donate. Donating joy through the game means donating food, clean water, medicines as well as resources for education and healthcare.The game allows you to see the impact you've made in the real world. 50% of Sojo's profits from WeTopia go to the various causes the game is supporting.
Donating joy. It's worth it.
In addition to the obvious reasons for donation of joy points (umm, humanity?), there is an added incentive of receiving coins and energy. You gain levels of joy points donations too, and every time you level up, a liter of clean water is donated to an area that needs it. Of course, in an ideal world, the water would just be donated anyway, but since we don't live in an ideal world, you have a way of helping out for free. You also get rewarded for helping out in friends' towns and while Abe is a friend the game already gives you, Ellen is a friend you earn and other friends have to be invited from your Facebook list. PS, for those of you playing the game (warning: there's a giveaway here), the secret Ellen word is Ellentopia.
The choice of charities and causes to donate to are a little limited right now. Certain charities can only be donated to once you level up in donation levels. While the idea is to give you an incentive to keep playing, it, in a way, defeats the purpose of the game. You should have a variety of causes to donate to and not have to be at specific levels to donate. For example, if you feel strongly about child education, your passion itself will bring you back to the game. The charities that you can currently support through the game are in the United States and in Haiti. Charities in Africa, in particular, Mali will be coming soon. Haiti has a huge presence because the game was conceptualized after the Haiti earthquake in 2010. As mentioned earlier, I really would like to see more regions you can contribute to, especially when the game is being played world over. I would like to choose to be able to help out kids on my very own home turf, India.
Quests in WeTopia help you advance and donate more
And finally, the game takes forever to load and seems to be designed for only first world speeds of internet. There are two levels of the game loading and the second one especially, takes at least four to five minutes on my onaverage 150 Kb/s download speed. Again, not something that will help the game, that hopefully, the creators want to have it played all over the world, not just in countries with very good internet speed. Also, there is no mobile version of this game yet. And even if we could play it on the Facebook applications for our respective smart devices, with how buggy those apps are, would we really bother?
It's not 'You'-topia, it's WeTopia
WeTopia - Social gaming for social good
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