Mafia Wars is a multiplayer web-browser based game created by Zynga. In 2009 it won the Webby Award People’s Voice Winner in the Games category. It is available on Facebook, MySpace, Tagged, Sonico as well as Apple’s iPhone as an App.
Mafia Wars is set in Little Italy in New York City. There are now advanced options where players’ characters can travel between New York, Cuba (once they are level 35), Moscow (once they are level 70) and Bangkok (once they are level 18 and have unlocked certain items in New York). In 2010, Paris, London and South Africa were added as additional missions available only for a limited time. Las Vegas was also released in July 28 of 2010 as a fifth city to play in.
The main aim of the game is to establish and maintain a criminal empire. Characters are advanced and improved by undertaking and mastering jobs to earn cash and experience. Players can create organised mafias by recruiting fellow players or using some of their reward points to hire extra computer controlled members. The game fully leverages the power of Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Friendster to allow players to grow their mafia from amongst their friends. Players can also improve their stats by visiting the “Godfather” which is a paid (real cash) purchasing system.
Characters have limited energy (for doing jobs) as well as health and stamina meters (for fighting). It is loosely based on the style of online Roleplaying Games but in a more systematic and linear way. Mafia gangs can also attack other gangs and players and steal their cash, put some hurt on them or even kill them. There are also ‘special tasks’ such as winning fights against superior mafias or winning a certain number of fights in a row. Completing these ‘special tasks’ earns the player achievement bonuses. As a character gets more experienced and “levels up”, more jobs and features become available including the ability to journey to other cities.