A Better World Facebook game helps real kids walk again

A Better World Facebook game
A Better World Facebook game

Last month, ToonUps, the company behind the Facebook game, A Better World, promised $10,000 USD to children's charity CURE International, if its players can generate one million good deeds in one month's time. ToonUps will personally be donating the money, which will go towards life-altering surgeries that will allow ten kids the chance to walk again.

Within two days of the announcement, players had racked up 250K good deeds. December 29th brought the goal to the halfway mark, and Jan. 11th brought in 750K. Yesterday, players reached the one million goal (and then some) ahead of schedule. So what exactly does it mean to generate a million good deeds? Well, the novelty of A Better World is that it's a game heavily centered around positivity and goodwill. Major locales in the game have names like Gratitude Grotto, Department of Do-Good, Sanctuary of Hope, Better Pets, and Heart Cart. Many of the Facebook game's activities involve expressing thankfulness and sharing one's hopes and dreams.

Gratitude Grotto, for instance, is a pond where players have a 140-letter space (à la Twitter) to type about something they're grateful about. Other players do the same. These expressions of gratitude randomly appear in the pond and you can anonymously rate them with happy or sad faces. Department of Do-Good works on the same idea, but involves telling stories of your good deeds. Each of these instances of sharing counted towards the one million goal.

ToonUps co-founder, Mary Sue Hansell, says that 90% of the game's players are female and that it's popular among American women, many of them grandmothers and mothers who play with their children. (True, as many mother-focused parenting blogs were giving it positive word-of-mouth. Christian blogs also promoted it, partly for the family-friendliness of the game, but also because CURE International is a faith-based organization devoted to the "Kingdom of God".) Currently, CURE International is ToonUps' first example of using a Facebook game to promote a charity, but it hopes to put out another "Reach for the Stars Community Goal" in the future at the rate of once every four months.

And they might need it too, because AppData shows that growth has dropped once the charity promotion was over.

Click here to play A Better World on Facebook now >

[Hat-Tip: ABC News]

Have you tried playing A Better World? Do you prefer a Facebook game that focuses entirely on altruism, or a game that lets you escape and still donate from time to time? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment

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