I’ve always avoided Facebook games such as Farmville, now Cityville, and other “Virtual Worlds” that seem to suck up your time while annoying your friends via your news feed. The fact is that’s all they do – they fake a sense of accomplishment, suck up all your time, and annoy your friends, depleting your wallet as you go. I just don’t see the productive use of them. Networking? Hardly.
I just came across a new game, still in Alpha, that may change my mind on the subject. The game is called “Family Village“, and it aims to turn a thing that can often sound boring to the typical Farmville player, genealogy, all of the sudden sound fun and exciting. It’s something your Mom, and your kids, can be proud of. The game is quite addicting!
Family Village rests on the goals and integrates with Utah-based FamilyLink, previously number one application in the Facebook Application directory, which aims to introduce you to your ancestors by helping you get to know and interact with the living individuals around you. Family Village turns this premise into a game, pitting you against your friends and family on Facebook, where accomplishing simple genealogy tasks such as filling out your family tree earns you points and money in the game. You’re given a character, which represents you, and you can slowly build your family as you’re able to handle by accomplishing tasks such as “street sweeping”, “stacking books”, and even “catching dreams”. Each task earns you money and you can build houses and “build your increase” by accomplishing them.
One of the first tasks the game had me do was add myself and my wife. As I added my wife, a new character was created for her, and I could assign a job and house for her as well. Immediately, I was presented with a Newspaper front page of the day my wife was born, taken from FamilyLink’s archive of documents. (Paul Allen, founder of FamilyLink, and also one of the founders (I think) of Family Village, was also one of the founders of Ancestry.com)
At the center of your Village is a “Heritage Tree”, which grows as you add more people to your family tree. Being new to the game, I’m still unclear if there are ways of importing other trees from services such as FamilySearch.org or Ancestry.com, but at a minimum, it forces you to go into your tree and collect information about each of your ancestors and family members, learning about each along the way. I added my Mom and Dad, and it gave me the opportunity, using money I earned in the game, to “immigrate” them into the game. Again, it found a Newspaper from the day my dad was born – pretty cool!
As more data is provided and more individuals are “immigrated”, you can visit your library and access documents FamilyLink has discovered for you. You can create new homes for new families and individuals. I assigned my dad a cardboard box and moved him as far away from my own home as possible, but still far enough to visit every so often with the kids. (Love you dad!) He started out with a “Street Sweeper” job.
For those struggling to learn their heritage, Family Village may just make this process possible for the first time through a fun, enjoyable atmosphere. Family Village reunites you with your lost and deceased relatives in ways you never discovered, and it happens as you’re having fun! I can see countless hours spent in this game in my family. I normally don’t subscribe to virtual world type games, but Family Village is one I can feel proud I’m addicted to. I welcome any Family Village posts in my News Feed.
The game is currently in Alpha, and they make it clear when you start that there will be bugs, which there are. Be patient and you’ll get through though. This one’s worth any growing pains you have to go through with it.
If you’d like to try it out, give it a try at http://apps.facebook.com/myfamilyvillage?partnerid=staynalive. This is one company, and one game I’m proud to share and promote.
Disclaimer: I was not approached to promote this, but Family Village is a Utah startup I’m impressed with and thought my readers should try. FamilyLink is a former client of mine.