A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that WeTopia is a city-building game played on the Facebook social network that allows players to make a positive impact in the real world. Players can donate the virtual currency they earn in the game to charitable organizations that help children in need, such as Help Haiti Heal, Save the Children, and BuildOn. The game's positive message is well-suited to kids younger than 13, but players must be at least 13 to open a Facebook account.
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What's it about?
In WETOPIA, players build up a virtual city by placing structures, roads, and decorations, and harvesting crops. In return, players earn an in-game currency called \"Joy,\" which they can \"spend\" on donations that go towards real-world children's charities, which cover everything from providing nutritious meals to dental hygiene for underprivileged kids. Players aren't obligated to give real money, but by donating \"Joy\" they help decide where the revenue generated by the game (through ads and the sale of Facebook Credits) should go. Players who do want to make a monetary donation can buy Facebook Credits to spend on exclusive items and buildings. According to the game's literature, the makers of WeTopia donate 50% of the game's revenue to its charitable partners.
Is it any good?
WeTopia is a wonderful "gaming for good" initiative that lets players feel like they're making a positive impact in the real world instead of just playing an Internet time-waster for its own sake. Once players earn enough "Joy," they can visit Joy Central, browse through a list of charities and learn more about each one, then click the "Donate" button and watch the Joy Balloon fly away as takes the donated Joy to the real world.
On the gameplay side, WeTopia is a pretty standard building sim that eventually requires the help of other Facebook friends to complete structures and finish quests -- unless the player is willing to spend Facebook Credits to speed things up. However, in this case, players at least know that their in-game purchases are going towards a good cause.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different charities in the game. How did you decide which charities to donate your "Joy" to?
Families can talk about other ways to do charitable work besides donations, such as volunteering or canvassing.
Families can also talk about the concept "games for good." Would you like to see more games become involved with charities?
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