So far, in the land of Facebook, we've got an Old Testament game (which is as close to Judaism as we can get right now), a Christian game and a Catholic game. I guess we were due for a game that celebrates the youngest of the Abrahamic faiths: Islam.
This story begins a little over a year ago when Telekom Malaysia, a major Malaysian telecommunications provider, funded a youth-oriented advertising campaign called Everyone Connects with the tagline of "Getting people to communicate & collaborate because when everyone is connected, anything is possible." This was a very high profile and well-polished campaign. I mean, check out the music video that came out of it.
Last week, Everyone Connects expanded its outreach with a Facebook game called Everyone Connects Open House, which pays respect to the last three days of Ramadan, an Islamic holiday known as Eid ul-Fitr. In Malayisa, they host "Hari Raya", or open houses where people are invited to break their fast by hanging out for meals in each other's homes.
EC Open House lets players decorate a room and serve traditional foods and drinks consumed during the holiday, such as Ketupat (a packed rice dumpling), Lontong (like the Ketupat, but with a creamy soup), Lemang (glutinous rice and coconut milk), and a generic brand of Coca-Cola (you can thank globalization for that one).
Just like in Zynga's Cafe World, players earn coins and experience points when they cook foods and buy furniture. Unlike Cafe World, however, EC Open House is a temporary endeavor with quite limited play. Seriously, if you play any restaurant management games on Facebook, you might be frustrated by how limited the options are in this one. This game will also only be running until September 11th, 2011.
Another thing that's different from Cafe World is that you can win real world prizes for playing well. Nabbing a ton of XP can help you rise in rank and make you eligible for the following prizes: a 16GB iPad, a Sony digicam, an iPod Shuffle and a Team Malaysia Jersey with a prepaid iTalk phone card (with 30 ringgi t-- Malaysian currency -- on it). Unfortunately, you'll also have to be a Malaysian citizen to qualify to win.
I guess for a game with such big prizes, most of the people playing aren't looking for much a challenge. But if Everyone Connects puts a bit more thought into it, they can attract international players and overseas Muslims. Personally, I feel we need more games like this on Facebook. I learned a ton about Malaysian foods and Ramadan eating habits just by playing EC Open House for an hour. There's no easier way for cultural engagement than through games.
[Hat-tip: Campaign Singapore]
Click here to play Everyone Connects Open House on Facebook >>