Gossip Girl: Social Climbing at Its Facebook Best

Gossip Girl is a weekly sit-com on CWTV. An American teen drama series set in New York, the series has grown each year and the privileged kids are currently college-aged young adults whose lives revolve around Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Drama, scandal, gossip, bitchiness, back-stabbing, name dropping, it’s all in the series — and in the Facebook game that’s developing slowly with weekly survey requests for feedback on the fan page.

The aim of the game is to be the Queen Bee, the It girl, the most envied and feared. The player starts off with 250 SP – that’s Spotted Points. Points given for being “spotted” or noted doing things – anything from getting into a taxi outside of Tiffany’s to taking pole-dancing lessons from a noted burlesque dancer. The player looks for parties that are available at the current time and accepts the invitation to attend if they have the requisite number of SP to use. Then the mini-game begins.

There are two bars which progress at different paces, the party progress bar and the scandal bar. As the player levels, he or she gains abilities which when used, progress the party as well as the scandal bar. There is a sweet spot on the scandal bar that players need to get to and stay in when the party ends to win the scenario. There are also events within the party that pose a situation and several reactions that the player chooses, for example, making a big fuss over a spilt drink, gracefully brushing it off, or dumping a drink over the spiller. The reaction provides rewards in party progress and scandal – both positive and negative depending on your answer. Then it’s a matter of manipulating abilities and answers to the situations to stay in that sweet spot on the scandal bar until the party ends. At the end, the player is provided the “spotted” message and the SP and experience points as described in the party invitation.

These events within the party are what make the game fun. They can be as innocuous as the spilt drink scenario and as scandalous as to what the player would do if they found their rival’s cell phone in the ladies room, with text messages showing her cheating on her fiancé. Moral questions are posed as well, for example asking the player what they would do if a “hottie” came on to them or they found their rival’s date alone, drunk and amorous. The answers range from staid to naughty and scandal points are awarded commensurately, so that a temptation to pick an answer like “Hell yes, the bitch had it coming!” might lose the game.

There are also Social Agendas which are like missions or quests. If those are active, a different window pops up and the player gets a bar with statistics (stat). Clothing, number of friends attending and a couple other features not yet in the game. Each event has a key stat and players have to change their outfit to maximize the stat. Friends attending the same event also provides a bonus. These add up to the percentage chance of completing that social agenda during the event, which range from sending a friend a text about a new “hottie” spotted at the event to spotting one of the stars of the show doing something scandalous. Social agendas are separate from the events themselves, so you can complete events while failing the social agenda.

The game’s current gating stat is SP and the timeslot on your schedule. Each hour, the player can find X number of parties to attend. Like most other Facebook games, Credits can be used to buy more SP and at this time clothing. However, the game is not at a state in development where that stat is very useful as social agendas peter out after level 4. Unlike Dog Show Friends which we reviewed last month, The CW does not promote the Gossip Girl game greatly. The link is found at the bottom of the page rather than at the top banner and its AppData statistics shows rather dismal daily and monthly average users although Gossip Girl’s Facebook fan page claims 170,500 monthly users and over 17,000 fans. The game has a snarkiness that appeals to anyone who has ever been slighted socially. Given the popularity of games such as It Girl and Sorority Life, it has the potential to do as well as the show which is currently in its fourth season.