Archive for April, 2010

Happy Aquarium Brings Back Pearl Idol

Back in late March, Happy Aquarium developer Crowdstar introduced a one-day-only Pearl Idol. The idol cost about $14, but it gave players one free pearl a day, forever. As we noted at the time, this means the idol would actually pay for itself after about five and a half months, making it a pretty good deal for players committed to Happy Aquarium long term.

Today, the Pearl Idol has come back “by popular demand,” with two twists:

1) The price is now significantly higher. The new Pearl idol is 198 FB$ ($19.80), while the old one was 138 FB$ ($13.80).

2) This new Pearl Idol is available in a limited quantity, instead of for a limited time. As of this moment, there are about 1950 remaining.

One interesting observation – the availability of the Pearl Idol appears to be updating in real time. We came back to the game after seven minutes, and 10 more Pearl Idols ($198 worth) had been sold.

Players can also purchase more than one Pearl Idol, this time around. So if you’re a Happy Aquarium player with deep enough pockets, you could buy several and essentially give yourself unlimited Pearls.

Happy Aquarium Adds Frog Loyalty Gift

Just like the free pet in Happy Pets, Happy Aquarium developer Crowdstar has introduced a loyalty reward to encourage players to check in on their aquarium every day. Players that log in daily for 14 days straight (ie two weeks) will be awarded a free frog. It’s that simple. Miss just one day and the 14 day timer starts over again, however.

In addition to these Crowdstar loyalty rewards, Zynga has also gotten into the act, in their restaurant title Cafe World. SGC believes that more and more big social games will begin implementing similar bonuses – they are a win/win, and a good way to keep players engaged on a regular basis.

Happy Aquarium Adds Zen Garden Props

Happy Aquarium developer Crowdstar added another small collection of props to their flagship fish-raising title, over the weekend. Players can now give their aquariums a Zen Garden theme.

New decorations include: Japanese Maple Tree, Mountain Pagoda, and Zen Stones. A Shimmering Rainbow was also added to the Happy Aquarium store, although we aren’t positive it is intended to be part of the zen garden item set.

Three varieties of bamboo are available in the Coral section of the shop, as well – straight, swirly, and crooked.

Treasure Isle Adds More Free Gifts

Following the barrels added last week, Treasure Isle developer Zynga has added another couple free gifts to the game’s gift tab. These two gifts seem designed to further spice up the ocean space around a player’s Home Island.

Players can now send one another an Inflatable Raft, and a Dino Inner Tube. We think the Pink Lotus Flower might be a new gift as well, but Treasure Isle’s gift tab doesn’t label anything as ‘New’ so it is hard to know for certain.

Will you be sending your friends any of these new decorations, or do they insist on just sending & receiving energy-providing fruit? Let us know in the comments!

Mafia Wars Survey Gives a Peak at Potential Future Cities

As most readers probably know by now, Mafia Wars developer Zynga made a surprise announcement last week that Paris would be the game’s next expansion, not Las Vegas, like most people were assuming. Perhaps Zynga has something more special in mind for Sin City?

In any case, Zynga ran a very brief two-question survey over the weekend, asking players to select from a list of cities which they would most like to see added to Mafia Wars. Could this list be the cities Zynga is considering for future expansions? For now we can only speculate.

List of potential Mafia Wars expansions:
Athens, Greece
Dublin, Ireland
Istanbul, Turkey
Johannesburg, South Africa
London, England
Los Angeles, USA
Mumbai, India
Prague, Czech Republic
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rome, Italy
Sydney, Australia

Although they aren’t as exotic, we at SGC think London or Dublin would be fantastic.

Farmville Allows One-Click Tree & Animal Harvesting

Farmville developer Zynga has finally – FINALLY – given players the ability to harvest trees and animals with one click, the same way crops are harvested. This change has been one of the most-requested Farmville upgrades ever since the game launched over 10 months ago.

The feature works how players likely to expect it to work. Once a tree or animal has reached a harvestable state (as indicated by the pink icon hovering above it), players simply have to click the object to harvest from it. Clicking a second time will then bring up the standard object menu players are familiar with.

This new one-click harvesting does not automatically turn Ugly Ducklings into Swans, or Baby Turkeys into normal Turkeys. These transformations are still selected via the normal drop-down menu.

Farmville Adds White Grape and Purple Poppy Seeds

In amongst all the Arbor Day, Earth Day, Far East, and other limited edition item packs, Farmville developer Zynga occasionally likes to slip in a few unthemed, permanent additions to the Farmville marketplace. The latest example of this in action: two new Farmville crops are now available: Purple Poppies, and White Grapes.

The White Grapes cost 245 coins to plant, can be harvested after 12 hours, and earn 360 coins and 2 XP when harvest. The Purple Poppies are a high-level crop, only available to players level 38 and higher. This makes Purple Poppies the highest level seed in all of Farmville, in fact. Previously this record was held by Asparagus, which unlocked at level 37.

Farmville Adds Arbor Day Saplings

To celebrate and raise awareness for Arbor Day, which is next Friday April 30th (in the United States at least), Farmville developer Zynga has released a set of tree sapling decorations. The saplings are for decoration only, and can’t be harvested, or planted.

The new saplings are: Lime, Orange, Apple, Lemon, and a plain blank sapling. All are available for 12 more days, until May 7th. The Lime and Lemon saplings are available for 500 coins, and the other three are for sale for 1 FV$.

Happy Pets Releases Limited Earth Day Pets

Happy Pets developer Crowdstar got into the Earth Day spirit this week by releasing three limited-edition Earth Day pets: a dog, a cat, and (oddly) a parrot.

There are two major ways a social game developer can make an item limited. They can release a set number of them, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Or, they can release an item for a specific amount of time, retiring it from the in-game store after a specific date.

Timing an item has been the traditional method of choice, but releasing set numbers is now increasingly en vogue.

Crowdstar has hedged their bets with these Earth Day pets and done both. They are only available until Monday, April 26. And there is also only a few thousand of each for sale. One interesting side note – if they launched with equal numbers, their current number remaining seems to indicate that the kitten is more popular than the puppy and the parrot, by a fairly healthy margin.

All three are for sale for 68 FB$ ($6.80), and have blue and green Earth-inspired coloring.

Happy Island Introduces Lost Dolphin

Along with the new batch of attractions and decorations, Happy Island developer Crowdstar has also introduced a new lost / adoptable animal: dolphins!

Like all lost animals, players will find these dolphins at random. If found, players will be given the opportunity to post a Facebook news feed item. Happy Island neighbors that click on this news feed item will then get a dolphin of their own to keep.

Despite lost animals being a staple in Facebook games for several months, they still cause a surprisingly large amount of confusion. So just to reiterate: the player that actually finds the dolphin on their own island won’t be able to keep it. They can only give their friends a chance to get one, by making a news feed post. If you want a Happy Island dolpin of your own, you will need to keep an eye on your friends’ news feeds.