Two of the biggest reasons people play social games are distraction and relaxation, but a new Facebook game hopes to add another reason -- to do good in real life.
Food Force, a game created by Konami and the World Food Programme, puts players at the head of a virtual humanitarian aid agency with the goal of getting rid of hunger in different parts of the world. To complete this monumental task, players will need to grow crops a la FarmVille, turn them into expendable goods and ship them off to countries in need. As per most social games, friends are required to get the job done, and you'll be able to visit neighbors' agencies for bonuses.
The game itself isn't exactly groundbreaking (and a tad confusing), but the main selling point is that you can use Facebook Credits to buy power-ups in the in-game store and the proceeds go to the World Food Programme school meal initiative (which helps feed 20 million children every year). So, basically, if you use Facebook Credits to buy a tractor or some kind of fertilizer, you'll help feed a certain number of children. A 'real-life impact" tracker in the game lets you know how many kids you've helped.
It's worth noting that this is the second debut for Food Force. The first was back in 2005 when Konami released another game with the same name, in which players executed emergency operations on a fictional island. The new Food Force on Facebook game is a little broader in scope than the original and takes advantage of Facebook's social features.
"Through this title, we hope that people in Japan and across the globe not only strengthen their understanding of WFP's work but also support their worldwide efforts against hunger while enjoying an accessible social game," says Konami Senior Vice President Kazuhiko Uehara.
We've seen this trend of doing good in other social games, like the popular FarmVille's Sweet Seeds for Haiti promotions, but this is one of the few games entirely devoted to building awareness and raising money for a cause. While the idea behind the game is, well, admirable, one can't help but wonder -- is the game going to get enough people to play to really make a difference? An existing game like FarmVille, with 20-some-odd millions of engaged players, might be a better vehicle for organizations that want to make a difference.
> Food Force on Facebook