That's right, the Funium folks mashed social online gaming with genealogy and came out with a product that CEO Jeff Wells and others hope will bring to the masses the concept of family and lots of it. "Family Village" is set for release mid-April and will be played through Facebook.
"My dream is to have 100 million people playing this game worldwide," Wells said. "My aspiration is to help people understand we're all one big family. It would help the world see we are all brothers and sisters."
"Family Village" has two components that blend together. You have your city, your money, buildings, homes, parks, jobs, little people (avatars) and levels that never end. On the other side you have your family tree. Beginning with yourself, you begin building the family tree. The two components join because those avatars in your village are actually your family.
"These villages can grow and incorporate where your ancestors live. You can learn about their food, homes, fashions and historical events. For instance, we are connected to archives that have old nursery rhymes that kids could sing, the same rhyme that their ancestor would have sung," Wells said.
So, if you have relatives from 1800s Ireland, your village could feature thatched roofs and cobblestone streets. You might have a castle or two, or perhaps you would like to add the Blarney Stone for good luck. Then your avatars (ancestors) might be blacksmiths, coopers, cobblers or fish mongers. Your fourth-great-grandmother might make lace or spin.
To kick it up another notch, and through the help of several online research and archival services such as familylink.com, you start finding out about those ancestors through real documents that appear above an avatar's head while the game asks, "Is this your relative?"
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