There are times when it’s incredibly difficult to muster up the energy to get fixed up and go clubbing at the end of a long week. The idea of having to punch a hole into your wallet in order to impress that hot chick by the counter and to be extra witty on top of that, can be so troublesome that many people question if it’s even worth it.
Don’t worry, though, because there’s a game on Facebook that will give you the solution to your Friday night Dilemma. ‘Shaker’ is a club simulation game that allows people to meet up online just as if they were in a real bar. The game mimics the club scene quite well; there’s music, drinks (virtual ones, of course), dancing, and – of course – socializing. Once you enter the game, you are given a generic sprite. Don’t worry about sprucing up your sprite (and having to pay real money to do it, as is common in similar games) because everyone here looks alike. You’ll be distinguished only by your profile picture, which will always be visible as a small bubble above your sprite’s head, meaning that if you look good in your profile picture, then you’ll always look that good when you socialize in Shaker.
The club’s environment is highly interactive; you can sit on the lounge chairs and the stools, dance on the dance floor, and you can even let loose completely and dance on top of the bar. When you click on other players, you are given the option to chat with them, view their profile, buy them drinks (which, by the way, are completely free – so it won’t cost you a single cent to let someone know that you’re interested in them), invite them to a chat, or – if they’re being pesky – block them.
You are also given a virtual mobile phone which you can use to check out a person’s profile, see a list of the people in the bar, find people with common interests, and even play a little mini-game. When you focus your mouse on some of the players, you get to see little snippets of information about them such as “____ is a Leo” or “____ was born on a Tuesday”.
Now, here’s the all-important question: does playing Shaker infringe upon one’s privacy? The answer: only if you want it to. By simply playing the game, you’ve basically permitted Facebook to share your profile information – just as in most other applications. As usual, there’s a prompt which asks you if you want to give permission or not. If you decide that, yes, you do want to play, you get to choose three “sharing levels”. The first one is “Shy”, the default setting, which only lets you share your basic info (such as gender, relationship status, preferences, etc.) and your profile pics. Then there’s “
As of now, Shaker’s still in its Private Beta Mode, and the spots are limited, but it has already won the TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2011 and is widely considered as one of the best up and coming games in Facebook.