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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Whacking mobsters

I have never been so popular. I am getting daily friend requests on Facebook. And the reason? A game called Mafia Wars that has really taken off and has a FB site with 13 million members.

It's a game that attracts both sexes and all ages. It really is beautifully thought out. Your friends become "your" mafia if they play the game; you give away "gifts" such as paintings for their vault, extra energy or weapons; you seek help when you're in a gang fight, and those who help get extra points.

My top mafia includes Karen who was my penfriend when we were 15 - we recently found each other via Friends Reunited (and she's very good, over level 200 whereas I am a lowly 23); Fred in Sweden who was a colleague 10 years ago and Taj,a colleague in Munich. My bodyguard is a stranger from the US, a level 233.

The basic premise of the game is to earn money from doing jobs (heists, robberies etc) which you spend on weapons, vehicles and properties. You accumulate loot and art works and fight rival mafia. As you progress, your character "improves" as you award yourself more points for energy, stamina and health. When you get really good you go off to Cuba but that is denied me at present.

J is not happy about this development of me becoming "a gamer" and has started timing my stints on the upstairs PC. He's actually relieved now if I'm using the PC to buy shoes. "Are you playing that game?" he asks suspiciously.

I have tried to explain some of the addictive features of the game which include unprovoked attacks and robberies by other mafia.

I quite often find that my mafia of 36 was attacked in NY by a mafia using a Really Bloody Mop, a sawn-off shotgun, three hand grenades and a lucky shamrock. And it's quite gutting if you lose. You're tempted to put the offender on the hit list rightaway but as Fred rightly said, "the hit list is for losers". Instead I must concentrate on the big ticket items like assassinating a political figure or invading a Tong-controlled neighbourhood. Why don't you join me?

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