It was only a few days ago that the game Spymaster came to Twitter. With its arrival came the issue of tweet spam and a backlash towards Twitter itself and its lack of filtering options. It was the opinion of many that this would be needed when, not if, similar games were made available, and sure enough, there is already another.
The game is 140 Mafia from a team called Lolplaying, and it is a text based RPG like Mafia Wars, but in this case, is tied into Twitter. Players sign in using their Twitter account, and are presented with a relatively familiar interface that holds all of the essentials (jobs, fight, equipment, property, etc).
As you may have guessed, players select the type of mobster they want to be and level up through experience primarily garnered through Jobs. Of course, each job done requires a bit of energy and players have to wait for it to recharge before they can continue doing more. That isn’t to say you can’t keep playing, as this is where the usage of Twitter begins to come into play.
Like most social network RPGs, 140 Mafia allows you to grow your mob by recruiting friends (or in this case followers) and fight one another. Here is where things can get ugly. You see, this game, like Spymaster can be both very viral and obnoxious at the same time. When someone fights you get sent a message, then when you fight another player, you automatically send out a tweet. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but there is still much, much more.
This particular title encourages the automatic tweet settings, enticing players with 1% extra income for each tweet type they leave on. That said, players can choose to tweet everyone when they level up, purchase an item, purchase property, earn a badge, complete a job, or fight another player (as well as receive direct messages based on another group of settings). As any avid veteran of such RPGs could tell you, some of these are done very frequently, and if there is a tweet going out every ten seconds because you decided you wanted to buy a knife, then this tweeting idea is going to quickly devolve into spam.
We have already seen a backlash from Spymaster (more so for Twitter’s lack of filters than for Spymaster itself), and it is very likely to have a similar one with 140 Mafia. More of these types of games are coming, so if Twitter wants to be become as large and robust as it claims, it’s going to need to handle the issues these two titles have brought to the forefront, and soon.