A couple of days ago I was sat at a table having a drink with two of the biggest gangsters in Bangkok, Death Scot and Naughty Nerrad. The two of them had only been in the Big Mango for two months but they had already accumulated over eight million baht between them.
The talk was all about silk shirts, tuk tuks, machetes and machine guns. I felt a little out of my league even though I had once fired a catapult at a soi dog in an Isaan village. I didn’t tell them the catapult travelled a metre and the stone fell at my feet.
Naughty Nerrad gave me a long cold stare straight in my eyes. He held up his phone and with a voice more nonce than New York Bronx, he spoke.
” Here’s the information you need, read it.”
I logged it in my mind…..www.mafiawars.wikia.com
Some of my work colleagues are into Facebook’s online game Mafia Wars (Zynga Game Network) in a big, big way and it was over a coffee during a work break that I got involved in my conversation with Death Scot and Naughty Nerrad, better known around our workplace as Doreen and Darren.
Figures released for October 2009 revealed the increasingly popular game had 25.9 million active accounts. Here’s how Wikipedia explains the basics of the game.
‘ Mafia Wars is set in New York City and Little Italy, with the option for players to travel between New York, Cuba (level 35+), Moscow (level 70+) and Bangkok (upon unlocking items from New York levels, level 18+), and in 2010, Las Vegas. The game revolves around doing and mastering jobs in order to earn cash and experience, with the goal of establishing and advancing one’s criminal empire. ‘
The game’s aim is to advance from a street thug to become Boss in New York and from a lowly El Soldado in Cuba to the top dog position of El Cacique. If your wardrobe’s not riddled with bullet holes and your moll’s not a widow then you can head off to Moscow to fight and scheme your way up from a Baklany to Pakhan. Bangkok’s route to the top is Brawler, Criminal, Pirate, Commandant, Oyabun and Dragon Head. No mention of a Doreen or Darren amongst them.
Mafia Wars game designer Zynga first put you on the streets of Bangkok to make money as a Brawler doing small jobs and a chance to progress from eating cheap 7- Eleven noodles to making oodles of cash. The pay is poor but the idea is to save enough money to buy your own businesses.
Moving Stolen Art Through Suvarnabhumi Airport pays a paltry 372 baht plus the risk of getting turned over in duty free. Progress to Dragon Head status and you can earn 1,868 baht to Set Up A Drug Shipment To China. Somehow I don’t think the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will be endorsing this game.
Each ‘little earner’ requires certain tools of the trade to complete the task and their values are a little strange. A silk shirt will cost you 2,200 baht, but to buy a tuk tuk you’ll only pay 800 baht more. If those virtual prices become reality then Bangkok’s tuk tuk drivers will finish each day’s work by locking their silk shirt safely in the garage, and hanging their tuk tuk on a washing line. I can only assume Zynga’s game researchers have progressed to Dragon Head and they’re now smoking the stuff they should be shipping to China.
If the Tourism Authority of Thailand were thinking of forgiving Zynga for their portrayal of life in the Big Mango then I’d like to point out to them some of the businesses on offer in Mafia Wars Bangkok.
- Fighting Fish Arena
- Cockfighting Pen
- Tourist Guide Scam (ouch)
- Gambling Den
- Gun Running Operation
- Yaa Baa Parlour (drugs)
After the TAT read that lot, I’d be very surprised if Zynga can get a Beer Singha in Thailand.
Mafia Wars Bangkok is Zynga’s latest add on to their very popular and addictive Mafia Wars game and if you’d like to join in the fun on Facebook, click on the link here. Mafia Wars is also available on MySpace, Tagged, Sonico, Yahoo and was recently released as a free downloadable iPhone application. Good luck.
Photograph Mafia by albertopveiga
© 2010 – 2011, Martyn. All rights reserved.