One day in middle school, my history teacher assigned the class to go home and create a family tree. This was before the likes of Geni, Genealogy.com, MyFamily.com or the like -- it simply meant that I, as a teenager, had to talk to my parents and suffer the hours of off-topic banter about their childhoods. Thankfully I have the world's smallest family -- bless their puritanical hearts.
Apparently times have drastically changed with the creation of entire Web service catering to learning about your roots, and now gaming is getting in the action with a new game called Family Village.
The Provo, Utah-based Funium, which previously took in $1.2 million in seed money to start this project, has now collected a $1.8 million round in tandem with the release of the game where players create a virtual world with members of their real family. The investment was led by Family Odyssey with participation from angel investors.
Frankly, my family does enough game playing without any computer involvement but I suppose other families play Scrabble and Yahtzee. Players would input the names of their family members and can upload relevant documents and photos to provide a rich history of their familial tree.
Then players are able to design avatars based on their ancestors’ physical attributes and the period of time that they lived in. If a given family member emigrated out of Ireland to start a business in the US the the game allows you to depict the travel and occupation change as well as marriage, having children and other aspects of life.
After 18 months of tooling away to create this Sims game for your family, Funium has created a way to really bring the whole family together around the topic of genealogy. I know that some adults don't need any extra incentive but kids might find it more interactive and inspiring to do their class project or just communicate with grandma via this new game.
Today, Family Village has gained roughly 22,000 to 23, 000 monthly active users and between 2,000 and 2,500 daily active users during its testing period. While the game is not yet officially open to everyone, it is live on Facebook to sign up and wait for your acceptance.