America 2049 on Facebook: A dismal game about a dismal future
Professionals and supporters alike have clamored for social game developers to use the rallying powers of Facebook to create interesting interactive experiences that spur players to change the world around them. A noble cause, sure, but the struggle has always been the fun factor. Can you spur people's desire to change their abysmal environment without them knowing that they're doing it? After playing America 2049, a Facebook game by Breakthrough (a company that uses popular culture and media to raise awareness to severe social issues), it's beginning to seem as if that's impossible.
Don't worry, this isn't some bash session: America 2049 is a finely-designed game with a start-studded cast of characters like Harold Perrineau of Lost, Victor Garber from Alias, Cherry Jones of 24, Rent's Anthony Rapp, and comedian Margaret Cho. In other words, Breakthrough spent a lot of money to not only garner some notoriety for its game, but for its creation as well. America 2049 looks fantastic, and while it is just a series of menus and maps, those are damned beautiful menus and maps.
The game starts with an immense premise: You are a new member of the Council on American Heritage and the country has collapsed. It's up to you to find out what went wrong and reclaim the American culture for good use in the future. You must follow a series of clues by commanding "operatives" to uncover spots on a map. These spots may or may not hide clues to the puzzle squares, which normally amount to word puzzles or code cracking.
Of course, these actions all consume Energy, which will replenish over time or recharged with capsules you'll find in otherwise empty squares. Unfortunately, it's all as boring as it sounds. However, playing the game for longer than a few minutes will unlock some seriously intriguing stuff. Breakthrough has created an entire alternate reality through mock news websites, blogs and even a website representing "your organization," the Council on American Heritage. Eventually you must use this crafty little alternate-reality to find answers to the games more difficult puzzles.
While set almost half a century into the future, it's all a clever way to raise awareness to the scars on the face of America and other developed countries today. It most definitely is galvanizing to be reminded of societal plagues like violence, division and corruption with such a perspective albeit fictional. America 2049 is a success in its mission, but the lack of engaging gameplay might bring the excitement to change the face of America to lukewarm temperatures.
Click here to play America 2049 on Facebook Now>
Have you tried America 2049 yet? What do you think of social games built around the goal of social change? Share with us in the comments. Add Comment.