Mafia Wars

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Mafia Wars Game Poster Image
Facebook strategy game embraces illegal, violent behavior.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players in this game are engaged in criminal behavior, from robbing to mugging to attacking other players or non-playable lpolice. There are no major consequences for the bad behavior other than to lose in-game money.

Positive Role Models & Representations

As this game centers on criminal behavior, there are no redeeming characters and the overall concept rewards players for intelligently planning and then carrying out illegal activities.

Ease of Play

Mafia Wars is a simple application that has a minor learning curve with some depth in the gameplay structure. There are no real guides to walk players through the various elements, but through a bit of trial-and-error, it all becomes relatively easy to play.

Violence

Mafia Wars is about attacking others and "icing" them, but there is no blood and no animation to the combat; the 'Fight' mode is all text-driven violence without details on the combat and the outcome is merely a statistics screen. Players can attack other offline players as well and if they win, they are rewarded with money from that player's inventory and experience. Additionally, players can put a contract out on another player without their knowledge and have friends attack that player.

Sex

There are sexual references here, but this game plays out in non-moving or static screens.

Language

Some mild derogatory references are made about other non-playable characters.

Consumerism

Players can earn reward points to spend in the marketplace, but this happens 1 coin at a time through gaining levels with your character. In that regard, earning marketplace points happens slowly. For those less patient to buy many perks to make their 'don' stronger faster, players can spend real-world money to buy reward points to spend within the game format.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There is some inferences to drug trafficking, but nothing overt in this game.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mafia Wars is a Facebook application that encourages players to bully, kill, and steal from other players, or to take jobs against non-playable characters in a quest-style setting and use illegal means to accomplish the various jobs. It also entices players to spend real-world money to buy coins to spend within the game's marketplace on items to make their mafias stronger.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byCooldee June 11, 2011

Illegal all the way!

Mafia Wars teaches people to do illegal activites like murder, bullying, drinking, smoking, and using weapons.
Adult Written byDDDTomcat August 14, 2011

Mafia Wars is a cheaters wasteland!

Mafia Wars by Zynga is the biggest waste of time & money that I have ever spent! After 3 years of being completely shut down by cheaters & autos... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old September 27, 2010

AWESOME

I really love this game im like a level 260 but there is some bad content so im rating it 11+
Teen, 13 years old Written byVictorfilth818 September 17, 2010
Love this game My Mafia is Beast :D lol

What's it about?

Mafia Wars is a browser-based Facebook game in which players take control of gangs and run businesses, do jobs centered around illegal activities, and battle police or fight other players to level up.There is no direct contact between players, but friends can put out contracts on other players, compete against each other in a 'war,' or send each other gifts pertinent to the game's activities. The idea is to have the largest mafia, build hourly income, and buy armaments to fight other players.

Is it any good?

Mafia Wars is a mild diversion that has some depth of play but is not that compelling. The underlying message displaces reality and focuses on illicit activities, sending out a message that is inappropriate for younger players. This is a game that targets an adult audience, or at least one that can easily tell right from wrong and understands the concept of consequences for illegal behavior. There are better, more constructive Facebook games that are more engaging and enjoyable.

Online interaction: Other Facebook friends can be invited to join the Mafia to bolster ranks, but there is no direct communication with other players within the game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact that violence in media has within the lives of real people.

  • They can also discuss how some games offer quick paths to success through spending money and how this is a form of marketing that is used to draw people in and then get them to spend money.

  • Why do many games allow players to be bad and encourage illegal behavior? Families might want to discuss why it is important to understand the difference between pretend and real-world actions.

Game details

  • Platforms: Facebook
  • Price: free to play
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Zynga
  • Release date: June 1, 2008
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: NR

For kids who love action games

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