A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Family Village is a building simulation for Facebook that lets players import their own relatives into the game to populate their town. The game is free to play, but players can spend real-world cash to speed up quest completion, purchase exclusive items, and unlock real historical documents that might contain information about their ancestors. Players are asked to add birth, marriage, and death dates for relatives living or dead, which may raise some privacy concerns.
What's it about?
FAMILY VILLAGE is a building simulation where players build a city that reflects their own family history. Players create a family tree by adding relatives and filling in basic birth, marriage, and death information, and then "immigrate" relatives into the town to function as its citizens. These family members can be assigned homes and jobs to earn the player coins and help complete quests, and their appearance can be customized.
Is it any good?
By incorporating genealogy into the mix, Family Village encourages players to learn about their ancestors while creating a virtual city that reflects their own unique heritage. The family tree is easy to interact with and grow, while the city-building portion offers a nice variety of decorations including homes and commercial buildings, vehicles, and pets. As more details are added to the family tree, players unlock special heritage-related village decorations like regional flags and monuments (to unlock the Golden Gate Bridge, for example, your tree must have at least one relative from California).
Family Village is a fun sim for genealogy enthusiasts with a few kinks still to work out. The character customization options are not very ethnically diverse (creating an African or Asian ancestor, for example, will prove challenging), and the heritage decorations are for the time being skewed toward North America and Western Europe. The game also attempts to link real historical documents such as archived newspaper articles to relatives in the family tree who have matching names, but players must spend premium currency to purchase the documents before they can be viewed.
Online interaction: Facebook friends can be invited as neighbors but they don't have as much of an impact as in other games. If players have identified certain Facebook friends as relatives through Facebook's Family setting, these friends can be invited into the app and will appear in the family tree. You are asked to reveal personal information about your relatives.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can use the game as a jumping off point to talk about family history. Where did your ancestors come from? What did they do for a living? What did they look like?
Families can also talk about what it might have been like to live 100 or 200 years ago. What were the major differences in lifestyle?
Families can also talk about the privacy issues associated with posting
genealogical information online, especially when the relatives involved
are still alive.
For kids who love playing social games
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.