Publisher's Clearing House -- that omnipresent direct marketing company that occasionally shows up at people's houses with oversized checks -- has launched a new game on Facebook called Bingo Charms.
The game, created in partnership with NYC-based developer Arkadium, is a far cry from the bingo played in retirement homes and church basements. Instead of the traditional number calling, numbers are unveiled by clicking fruit on a virtual tree that sits at the top of the game screen. Card-holders can increase their luck by purchasing special power-ups (or 'charms' as they're called in the game) using the two in-game currencies -- Ladybugs and Leprechaun Gold. As you progress through the game, you'll unlock different types of cards and more power-ups.
Since this is a social game, Bingo Charms has a few social components built in -- though it feels a little limited at the moment. You can visit friends who also play the game and pick up numbers that can be used when needed in your bingo games. There's a gifting area in the game that's marked as 'coming soon,' and that's about as social as it gets.
Of course, the genius of Bingo Charms has very little to do with the game mechanics. This game's hook is you can win real-world prizes simply by playing. Every day. It makes sense -- what kind of Publisher's Clearing House-branded game wouldn't give away prizes? Once a day, you'll have the chance to win in-game currency or up to $500. Winners are listed in the game, and it looks like most of them have been walking away with $5 or $10 Amazon gift codes. Not too shabby for a game usually favored by the gray-haired set. Maybe there's something to this whole 'bingo' thing after all...
Play Bingo Charms on Facebook >