The Popularity of ‘Mafia Wars’


The Popularity of Mafia Wars

Good evening. Please, don’t be alarmed. You may call me … Don Grossman. You might know me from such Facebook status updates as Don Grossman won a fight with your help! and Don Grossman sent you a gift in Mafia Wars. Yes, that’s right. I’m in the mafia. Uh, wars. I’m in Mafia Wars.

Mafia Wars is a game you can play on Facebook or MySpace or various other social networks. It’s insanely popular: Zynga, the company that makes it, claims that it has more than 25 million players. Part of the appeal is that it costs nothing to play Mafia Wars. That is, if nothing is how much your immortal soul is worth to you. When you sign up for Mafia Wars, you become a newly minted mafioso. You move up in the ranks by gaining experience, which you can get by doing jobs. For example, I gained experience by confronting a character named Giancarlo Morillo, who had apparently roughed up my uncle . I did this by clicking a button. Morillo and I “fought.” I hurt him more than he hurt me. Success: “You faced Giancarlo Morillo and forced him into seeing things your way.” This seemed like a good way to get experience, so I explained my point of view to Morillo five more times. I went up a level. Nothing personal, Giancarlo. Strictly business. You don’t play Mafia Wars alone. Your friends on Facebook

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