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Games

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BulletproofA new MySpace game has recently surfaced that is poised to give Mafia Wars some stiff competition.  Named Bulletproof, the game offers players a number of advantages over Mafia Wars, especially considering the recent frustration Zynga has caused for many of its players. 

With Mafia Wars, you must endlessly get other MySpace game players to become friends with you on MySpace and then request approval to become family members inside the game.  Your player’s strength is greatly affected by the number of family members you have.  Bulletproof does not require this, which gives you a lot more time to actually play as well as preventing all the hassle of working to get all the family members (500).

Since your character in Mafia Wars should have so many family members, you also have to equip each with weapons, defense, and vehicles.  Bulletproof only requires that you look out for yourself and build your own character.

Ability points are more challenging to come by in Bulletproof, which makes them very precious.  This also makes the game more of a challenge, and thus more entertaining. 

One of the best aspects of Bulletproof is how interactive it is.  While Mafia Wars will offer you a special item every once in a while (that is not really beneficial since they are never used when you already have the napalm), that’s about it.  On the other hand, Bulletproof is highly interactive with several special items, competitions with other players to get items better than those you can obtain normally in the game, and more.

Bulletproof offers a comprehensive selection of jobs, investments, and inventory, with more on the way.  In fact, new content will be added on an ongoing basis.

The fight list is structured in such a way that only players within the same level range are able to fight during normal game-play.  This is especially useful for new players, but also high-level players since higher level opponents can typically withstand more hits, and therefore yield more experience.  In Mafia Wars, there are ongoing problems with the fight list that prevent you from facing comparable opponents.

Additional extras not present in Mafia Wars include an armory (which requires a special badge obtained by defeating an enforcer for access), junkyard for obtaining rare items not available elsewhere that are available occasionally by random, ranking system details, and more player information.  Being sent to jail is actually implemented in Bulletproof also.  While you can see a jailed count in the Mafia Wars stats, it doesn’t seem to be used at all during game-play.

Bulletproof is also being actively developed.  Therefore, suggestions and new ideas are being considered, and the game is being improved continuously.  Bulletproof seems to be a better game than Mafia Wars in virtually every aspect.  All it needs is more players.  Join in on the fun!  A support and community chat is also available for the game here.

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Basics of the Game

For those not familiar with the game, Mafia Wars is a Myspace game, produced by Zynga, that has garnered massive popularity since its inception.  In Mafia Wars, you are the leader of your family.  You build up your family, equip them with attack and defense items as well as vehicles, and fight with other families in the game, building your character up as you go with stronger attack, defense, health, energy, and stamina.

A players level, attack, and defense stats determine if they win a given fight compared to their opponent.  With each fight, your health is lowered, and if you run out of health, your character dies, which then requires a visit to the hospital or waiting for health to build up little by little.  Each time a player instigates a fight, stamina is used.  When stamina runs out, the player can no longer initiate a fight until either the next level is reached or the player waits long enough for more stamina to build up.

Energy is used for performing jobs.  At present, there are five categories of jobs, ranging from Street Thug Jobs to Underboss Jobs.  Higher level categories require more energy to perform, but yield more experience and money.

 

Recent Change Causes Massive Disappointment and Hostility

The hitlist has developed into an important part of the game.  Players can add any other player to the hitlist, which typically results in the target being taken out.  When a player is taken out from the hitlist, experience is lost, and the character is left weak.  However, for stronger players, being on the hitlist offered an advantage.  Until recently, fights won on the hitlist resulted in experience being gained.  Therefore, even though you took damage while being on the hitlist and stood the possibility of dying, you still could at least advance in experience.  However, Zynga has now changed the system in such a way that players no longer gain experience from fights won through the hitlist.

This widely unpopular change has resulted in several things:

  1.  Players are added to the hitlist and constantly attacked with no benefit whatsoever.  If the player is strong, hitlist placement could be maintained for days, with constant attacks, requiring continual attention and limiting what else can be done in the game.
  2. Many players enjoy fighting from the hitlist.  It does not possess some of the inconveniences that the fight section does, and makes for a fun way to build your character.  However, since this change, the hitlist is quite bare since no one wants to be on the hitlist or added to the hitlist in retaliation.
  3. It takes much longer for a character to advance to the next level.  Previously, if your character was almost to the next level, but you were out of stamina and energy, you could count of being on the hit list to help get you to the next level.  Since this change, massive time is required to advance to the next level, which is very discouraging to many players.

In fact, since many players have invested considerable money into the game to build their character via Godfather Points, the level of action from players ranges from petitions and names being gathered for those who support changing the hitlist experience gathering back all the way to individuals considering a class action suit against Zynga, since the game is no longer what they invested money into.  Needless to say, the majority of players, especially those that play the game the most, are not happy with this change, and in fact, a large number of players have even abandoned the game due to this change.

Whether or not Zynga takes action to reverse the charge could well determine if the game remains popular at all, and the future of the game itself.

 

Update

Zynga responded to the dissatisfaction of players by changing the hitlist back to generating experience. However, they also introduced several new limitations and restrictions both to the hitlist and other aspects of the game.  In the meantime, we have done an extensive evaluation of the new Bulletproof MySpace game and the Mafia MoFo game, and feel that they are superior games to Mafia Wars, even before the hitlist change. We highly recommend that you check them out!

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Nintendo has officially announced an upgrade to the DS portable gaming console.  It is called the DSi, maintaining the trademark double-screen (DS).  The new unit features a larger 3.5" display, while becoming 12% thinner than the previous DS model.  The DSi does not include a GBA cartridge port, which means the console can no longer play GameBoy and GameBoy Advance games.  Otherwise, the DSi is extremely feature-packed, including cameras, paint software, advanced web browser, music playback, SD slot, internal storage, and more.

The DSi will launch on November 1st (Japan) with a cost of ¥189,000 (about $178 USD), which is in-line with the current DS model.  Dates for International releases have not yet been announced.

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