社交游戏开发商Zynga旗下就有一系列模型同出一体的RPG社交游戏，这些游戏虽然画面和logo有所区别，但实际玩法却是大同小异。而其他RPG游戏开发商也同样使用了与此类似的模型，《Mobsters》、《Mafia Wars》、《Mob Wars》和其他基于黑帮题材的内容就是现今最热门的RPG社交游戏。而像《Vampire Wars》、《Street Racing》、《World War》和《Fashion Wars》等这类游戏的表现也同样可圈可点。《龙与地下城：简易冒险》也是一款试图将传统的桌面角色扮演游戏引向Facebook的力作，其他值得一提的游戏还包括《Battle Stations》、《Knighthood》和《Might of Many》。
体育RPG游戏并非社交网络前50名应用榜单上的常客，但其中一些有趣游戏仍然赢得了可观的用户基础。这类游戏在许多方面与RPG社交游戏颇为相似，但其游戏机制更侧重于竞争元素。体育RPG游戏通常借鉴了《Football Manager》、《Fantasy Football》等游戏的精髓，并在共中添加了邀请好友担任球队成员的功能。《Premier Football》就属于这种典型，它支持玩家管理一个由好友组成的球队。
英国社交游戏开发商Playfish一直是休闲社交游戏中的强手，与其他社交游戏公司的不同之处在于，它更偏重使用Flash开发产品，而且其游戏图面质量和音效也很超群。Playfish的部分游戏是从任天堂DS和Wii平台游戏中获取灵感，例如《Who Has the Biggest Brain?》就明显带有《Brain Training》的风格，而人们也总是能从《Bowling Buddies》、《Geo Challenge》和《Minigolf Party》等作品中看到Wii游戏的影子。
另一款值得关注的字谜游戏还包括《Scramble》（Zynga作品）、《Word Twist》（与《Word Challenge》类似）、《PathWords》以及一系列官方版Scrabble游戏（游戏邦注：Scrabble的授权合作情况很复杂，因为不同地区原因而推出了多个版本）。最后就是由《Scrabulous》原创开发者推出的另一款不同游戏《Wordscraper》，它支持玩家体验定制化而非官方版本的Scrabble游戏。
《Lil Green Patch》这款游戏就是其中典型，它为玩家提供了一个可种植多种草木的花园，支持他们相互交换植物，并通过赠送植物保护现实生活中的热带雨林。玩家的任务就是照顾自己的花园，除草浇灌。与之相似的另一款游戏是《myFarm》。
社交网络与888.com网站的扑克游戏的最大不同点在于，前者的游戏动力是赢取积分，而后者的意图则是赢得真实钞票。人气最旺的此类游戏当属Zynga的《Texas Hold ‘Em》，支持玩家在其中购买或赢取筹码。该游戏体验方式很简便，还设置了一些可用多余筹码购买的虚拟礼品。
轻松搞笑小游戏（Just fo Laughs）
Facebook平台早期的第一批应用就是那些轻松搞笑小游戏，它们实际上是一种笑话或找乐子的内容，邀请用户让好友参与其中体验片刻。这类游戏的人气上升得很快，下落也非常迅速。在最初几个月里，几乎每个Facebook用户都会收到《Vampires vs Werewolves》等游戏中的“你刚才被咬了”之类的大量信息。不少用户对此极为反感，以致Facebook后来不得不出面干预，限制了这类信息的传播。
《Compare People》（以及一系列相似的好友评级游戏）也属于这类游戏，它让用户回答哪位好友最聪明、最有趣、最漂亮等问题。然后该好友就会收到信息，获知自己在该用户眼里的形象，以及与他人的对比情况。其它同类游戏包括《Water Gun Fight》和《Pillow Fight》等。
8 Types of Social Game
This article describes 8 kinds of social game operating today (mostly on Facebook) and provides many examples. We hope it does a better job of explaining what is going on in social games and why we’re so very excited by social games in general.
Social games as an industry is about the conversation. We realised recently that the conversation about social games is still waiting to be had but it can’t be forced. Social games are still very unfamiliar terrain to most, and so this article is all about grounding that conversation so that it can begin.
We hope you find it useful.
Social RPGs borrow a lot from regular video game RPGs (role playing games). There are quite a few of these kinds of games and they all follow more-or-less the same formula: Players collect money to buy items by performing ‘Jobs’ or ‘Quests’, assign bought items to members of their team or party, and do so in the confines of an energy statistic that prevents the player from doing too much too soon.
Zynga (the most successful social game developer on Facebook according to AppData) has a suite of RPGs which are built from a template they have developed. The games are the same but use different images and logos. Other RPG makers use very similar formulae. Mobsters, Mafia Wars, Mob Wars and other hoodlum-based games are the most popular of the social RPGs. Some others like Vampire Wars, Street Racing, World War and Fashion Wars also do pretty well. Dungeons and Dragons: Tiny Adventures was also an attempt to bring some old-school tabletop role playing to Facebook but has apparently ceased development. Other notables include Battle Stations, Knighthood and Might of Many.
Sport RPG games do not generally feature in the top 50 applications, but some of them are interesting games with a decent-sized audience. They are very similar to social RPGs in many respects, but the focus tends to be more competition-oriented. Sports RPGs are often reminiscent of Football Manager, Fantasy Football and so forth, with the added feature of using your friends as players in your team. One example of this is Premier Football, a game in which you manage a team of players made up of your friends.
One Sports RPG that stands out is Tennis Mania. Tennis Mania uses many of the same management mechanics of other sports RPGs and mixes them with an actual tennis game. It is, as far as we know, unique in doing so and remains one of the most interesting sports RPG games on Facebook.
UK social developer Playfish has made quite a strong play for casual games in social networks. Unlike most other social game developers, Playfish uses Flash heavily and has a very high standard of graphics and sound compared to every other developer. Some of their games have clearly drawn their inspiration from the success stories of the Nintendo DS and Wii, with Who Has the Biggest Brain? clearly belonging to the Brain Training school of thought, and Bowling Buddies, Geo Challenge and Minigolf Party very reminiscent of the sorts of games you’d see on Wii.
Another approach is the casual portal, such as MindJolt Games, which is an application that acts as a portal to over 500 casual games (mostly simple ones). This is a good strategy given Facebook’s inherent limitations on numbers of bookmarks that users can have. Other games portal services such as Kongregate have also created a presence on social networks, although this tends to amount to a redirecting index back to the portal service, which may explain why they haven’t really taken off to any extent.
Word games are best viewed as a special subset of casual games because they tend to attract a particular kind of player who often shows no interest in other casual games and vice versa. The first (and in some cases only) social game that most people have ever heard of was Scrabulous (now defunct), but there are several other word games that have arisen in its place.
Playfish’s Word Challenge is the most popular at the moment and also the best. It comprises several game modes. In the basic one you are given a set of letters and must find as many words from those letters in a set period of time, with a visual table on-screen giving you a means to deduce missing words. Being social, the game also shows you your performance against other friends who have played the game.
Other notable word games include Scramble (a Zynga game in which you make words out of letter patterns), Word Twist (similar to Word Challenge, but more of a versus-game) PathWords and a couple of official Scrabble games (Scrabble seems to have complicated licensing arrangements, which have resulted in different versions for different geographical reasons). Lastly, the original inventors of Scrabulous came back with a different game called Wordscraper which allows a customisable kind of Scrabble game rather than the official version.
A number of social games operate on the ideas of creating a presence in a defined area, giving gifts to your friends and essentially hanging out. They are among the most popular social games and function purely on their social interaction mixed with a creative mentality. They tend to form communities as a result, whether explicitly represented by the game, or implicitly in the form of a club or association.
First is Lil Green Patch. The idea behind Lil Green Patch (and its sister application Lil Blue Cove) is that the player has a garden in which they plant flowers. They give plants to each other and the application promises that the gifting of plants to others helps save actual rainforest in the real world. Players tend their gardens, de-weeding and looking after them. Another application in the same vein is myFarm.
Pet Society is another. In this game, the player has a Pet. They can take care of it, seeing to its needs, dressing it, petting it etc. They can take their pet out into town and meet other pets, arranged in a kind of village structure. There’s a whole community, the opportunity to visit other players pet homes, and generally interact. Pet Society is a Playfish game and as such is very animated and vivid.
Yoville also follows the little town structure motif, but instead of pets the player has a personal avatar. Yoville is essentially a combination isometric town and chat application. You can kit your character and your apartment with various nice objects, there are specially collectible objects and coins which can be earned or bought, and you can meet many other players in the game and talk to them and otherwise just generally hang out.
Perhaps the most geeky virtual village game is My City. This SimCity style game allows players to create their own functioning city and invite their friends to contribute to it. My City is also unusual as a social game in that it uses Microsoft’s Silverlight as a viewer rather than Adobe’s Flash.
The main difference between social network Poker and sites such as 888.com is that they are for-points games rather than gambling games played for real money. The most popular social Poker game is Zynga’s Texas Hold ‘Em. It’s a competent if visually unexciting version of the game in which players can buy or earn chips. The game is very good at making it easy for you to jump in and out of a hand as required and also features virtual gifts, which you can buy with your excess game chips if you have any.
Zynga’s game is the most popular of all the games on Facebook at the moment. However Playdom (who claim to be the number one social game developer on Myspace) recently announced that they are making a move into Facebook by taking over the popular Poker Palace game. This will likely see a lot of competition between the two games and Playdom bring with them a sizeable war chest of investment.
For those who have no interest in Poker, there’s always Blackjack.
Just for Laughs
In the early days of Facebook Platform the first applications that really broke out of the gate were just-for-laughs games. These sorts of games are essentially a virtual joke that invites users to get their friends in for a few goes before they move on. Just-for-laughs games tend to rise and fall quickly in popularity. In the first few months every Facebook user was swamped with messages such as “you have just been bitten” by games like Vampires vs Werewolves. Users actually became quite annoyed at the level of noisy traffic that these games generated to the point that Facebook stepped in and clamped down on them.
Today the just for laughs games still exist and thrive but they are not as annoying as they once were. A good example is the game KickMania. The game is simple enough: You choose to place one of your friends’ photos on the head of a dummy model, which you then proceed to kick as hard as you can and score some points. Your friend then receives a message that they have been kicked.
Kidnap is an evolution of the just for laughs game. It uses a combination of light RPG with a social mechanic which involves essentially ‘kidnapping’ your friends and showing them different cities around the world. The game is a promotional vehicle for the Travel Channel and has been very successful to date, building a loyal fan base.
Compare People (and a variety of similar friend rating games) would also count as a just for laughs game. The game invites you to complete questions about which of your friends is smartest, funniest, sexiest and so on. Your friends then get notified that they have been compared and either found strong or wanting. This game and similar ones of its type are really just a social giggle. Other examples are is cool, Water Gun Fight and Pillow Fight.
An ownership game is one in which players establish ownership over each other in complicated networks, and gift and otherwise generally look after their new-found charges. Ownership games have their origin in the just for laughs style of game but tend to establish longer terms of ownership and build much more resilient communities as a result. These communities are examples of social networking and gaming behaving synonymously.
The most popular and well known of these games is Friends For Sale. Friends for Sale allows you to buy your friends, treat them well, give them gifts, make them do amusing things and other light-hearted activities. There’s an element of gamesmanship in it in that the objective of the game is to profit on the buying and selling of your friends.
Slightly more on the fringe is another game called Human Pets. Like Friends For Sale, the goal is to establish patterns of ownership with your friends and make new friends, but unlike Friends For Sale the gifting system is creative. Players upload their own pictures, add tag lines to them, create their own little shops and so on. This feature got Human Pets into some trouble with Facebook (and prompted an off-platform move to its own dotcom destination site) because the game attracted a much more adult audience than Friends For Sale as a result, beyond the point of risqué and into erotica.
Ownership games are on some level essentially dating games. The compulsion behind them is popularity to an extent, but they’re more about meeting people and creating social structures as a game itself. They are in many ways quite fringe compared to what most people regard as gaming, but their appearance and has made social games undeniably more interesting in many ways.
Some of these categories are heavily over-subscribed, especially the RPG, and it would be difficult to achieve any traction with a new RPG without a serious advertising push. As Facebook itself grows rapidly cannibalisation probably isn’t a major issue for the RPG just yet, but it likely will be.
Highly casual games (including word games) have questions over them as regards their economics. Users love them (Playfish’s games are among the stickiest on Facebook) but they are difficult to monetise indirectly. If you’re giving a casual game away for free, what incentive is there for players to pay? Virtual property in a game like this is meaningless, advertising tends to be irrelevant to the game content (and thus ignored), and the only sort of investment that players have in them are high score sharing and other viral activities, which are socially uninteresting. Playfish are trying to monetise their casual games with a traditional upgrade model (get the first levels free, pay for the pro version). This has always been a difficult business model for users to accept because there are so many other free games available.
Some categories are under-subscribed, such as Casino, Sports RPG and Ownership games. While each has established one or two major proponents, this really does not exclude others from making a go of it. The history of games markets has always been one of newcomers and surprise challengers, so it would be premature to regard any of them as locked up and untouchable. The low barriers to entry of social game especially make this likely. Of course, some categories do not yet exist. Nobody’s thought of them or nobody’s done a good enough job executing on one of them yet to make any impact. We at Simple Lifeforms like to think that our forthcoming game (Spell Souls) is just such a game. Stay tuned.
While it’s an exciting time to be a social game developer, the scene has developed such that the initial rush is now over and now is the time for more focused strategies, better targeted games and a drive to improve quality. Social games have crossed the threshold into a properly-developing sector of the games industry now, and it’s a great time to get into it. This is not a complete list of games or game types. It is, like all such articles, open to questions of whether a particular games really belongs in one category or another, whether categories run the risk of shoe-horning content and whether it is a good idea to categorise games in genres in the first place. However it is useful to be able to explain social games in an imperfect context than no context at all. That’s how the conversation starts.（source:simplelifeforms） http://blog.simplelifeforms.com/2009/03/20/8-types-of-social-game/