(Getty Images)When you aren't posting pics of your awesome dinner or infuriatingly cute cat, there's a good chance you're spending a chunk of your Facebook time playing games.
But while companies like Zynga, Playdom and PopCap dominate the scene, some other big players are getting in on the act.
In fact, one of the biggest players ever, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, just launched a new Facebook game. Mr. Beyonce Knowles joins a growing group of celebrities who have taken the social network by storm, hoping to microtransact their fame into a few extra bucks. But all celeb games are not created equal. Which of these deserve a spot on your Facebook gaming A-list, and which should be kicked back down to casting?
Winner of the 'Most Obvious Facebook Game Name Ever' award, this buffet of Buffett lets Parrotheads chill out on a tropical island, virtually boozing it up at a beachfront bar while spending fake money on fake Hawaiian shirts. Yeah, sounds kind of irritating.
But believe it or not, Margaritaville Online is actually a lot of fun, earning high praise from critics and even snagging 'Best Social Game' honors at the recent Canadian Video Game Awards. Designed by legit game developer types at THQ, it's one of the best celeb efforts you'll find on Facebook.
He's not a businessman, he's a business, man. And you can be too if you choose to follow Jay-Z's formidable footsteps in his just-launched, still-in-beta Facebook game, Empire.
While he's pretty much on top of the world these days, life wasn't always parties with LeBron and vacays with Beyonce. You'll start out in the streets of Marcy Housing in Brooklyn, running thrilling missions like "Visit mom, write rhyme" and "Hustle someone on the basketball court" while incessantly clicking on things. Sure, it borrows liberally from Mafia Wars 2, but if anyone gets the green light to sample, it's Jay-Z.
That's not the cost of the ante, that's THE 50 Cent. You know, the guy who brought us two bad/great third-person shooters on the consoles. I hear he also raps.
And while his game (built by GSN Digital) doesn't exactly raise the roof or anything, it's a serviceable, live blackjack game with a few nice gameplay tweaks in the form of rule-altering 'Boosts'. The big gripe? It features generic, no-name hip hop tracks instead of music from, say, 50 Cent.
Still Love Lucy? Have a lock of Elvis' hair in a hermetically sealed envelope? That's creepy, but so is Retro World.
Basically the Facebook game version of 'TV Land' (the interface even mimicks an old television), it's an episodic trip back in time. You'll help Lucy and Ethel wrap chocolate in the famous 'Job Switching' episode, guide Marilyn Monroe through a detective yarn, and possibly play with The King himself. Though seriously lacking in social options, this mini-game packed trip down memory lane holds just enough nostalgic appeal to be worth a look. Besides, you can always just change the channel.
The point? Ostensibly, Gagaville, which is no longer online, was designed to promote her 2011 'Born this Way' album by featuring advance tracks from the record. But it also features all sorts of Gaga insanity, including farm staples like unicorns, electric chapels, crystals, and motorcylces. Huh? A little bit weird and little bit corporate — just like the Lady herself.
This is actually the second recent game featuring the likeness of Nicole Polizzi (full disclosure: I had to look that up), though the first, an app called Snookify Me!, was more of a horrifying photo filter than a game.
Snooki's Match Game? Well, it's not much of a game, either. Players first match up 'Guidos and Guidettes', then choose which partner is hotter, then presumably feel bad all day for being so judgmental. Wait, didn't Mark Zuckerberg do this already? Oh man, Snooki's going to make billions.