Happy Oasis – New Facebook Game: Becomes Instant Hit

For those of you who love social gaming such as CityVille and FarmVille on Facebook, we have news today of a new kid on the block which may have escape your attention so far, Happy Oasis. This new Facebook game has been described as FarmVille for the Middle East and has already attracted over 100,000 active users in its first week, becoming a smash hit already.

Happy Oasis was created by Aranim Games and aimed at the Middle East market and similarly to FarmVille gamers creating a farm, the intention this time is to create your own oasis. So far the game is available in English and Arabic language versions and it seems that Aranim CEO, Suleiman Bakhit, is very aware of the growing emergence of the online community in the Arab world. According to Adam Ostrow over on Mashable, Bakhit says of Happy Oasis, “[You use] traditional farming techniques, there are different kinds of buildings and markets you can build. You can build an Islamic garden block by block. We’re taking some of the Arab habits and traditions and turning them into social gaming mechanics.”

Happy Oasis is very much taking a modern stance in a bid to appeal to the youth market, for example both men and women are able to drive cars in this game. The creators of FarmVille and CityVille, Zynga, has built a huge following across the world for its Facebook games but hasn’t yet made its mark in the Middle East. This is obviously something that Aranim Games is hoping to capitalize on as the company will be able to tackle local cultural issues whereas western companies are not so likely to know how to handle certain aspects about the Middle East.

Something that Bakhit is very keen to do is to have a game showing a progressive social message. In Minnesota after 9/11, Bakhit was a victim of a beating near his university and made the very personal decision to show the world that Arabs are not all terrorists by enlightening people about the Middle East. Aranim was then established as a comic book company when Bakhit returned to Jordan and has now spread into gaming and in a clever twist in the Happy Oasis game characters and heroes from the comic books may well appear at some point.

You can check out Happy Oasis at this Facebook link. Why not take a look and tell us what you think. Do you think that social gaming is a good way of enlightening people about different cultures? Let us know by sending your comments.