Indian matrimonial site Shaadi.com has launched a Facebook game called Angry Brides. I know — it’s a very interesting word play. This is a general awareness game about the practice of dowry in India. The game has already attracted 277,628 fans/players, myself being the 277,628th one.
The game has no real world benefits other than posting on to your Facebook wall of how much money you have saved for the brides’ families.
Here’s how the game works. You install the app. You pick any household item which has the potential to be semi-lethal weapon and start hitting the greedy grooms. The grooms, by the way, are a doctor, an engineer and a pilot. Ironically there is no politician in the line up. That’s sad because having a politician would have served a dual purpose. It might have attracted a few more people into the mix of players, especially most of us who have a nascent hatred of their breed.
Technically though, nobody saves any money. When dowry happens, what really happens is transfer of wealth.
After playing the game for a while, I noticed that the grooms are very good at dodging. Pilot is pretty lousy at escaping. Doctor is dodgy. Engineer is slippery like an eel. Though the game is designed as a general awareness social game about dowry, it has a much-rooted malaise which plagues all of India, which is this: the grooms and their professions. These are the same exact professions everybody wants and everybody talks about — so much so that it’s sickening. But, that is a story for some other time.
It’s common knowledge that the practice of dowry is prevalent across India. It’s not a matter of whether a groom would ask or attract any dowry or not, but a matter of how much. Dowry depends on the profession the groom is in. The greater the salary, the higher the dowry. Engineers and doctors are the most sought after. Software engineers and IT professionals used to command a premium, and were the cynosure of all eyes. That changed with the 2008 recession.
Now comes the irony of the game and the launcher: A matrimonial site has launched an anti-dowry game in India. Now that’s bold.
I don’t know whether the game will raise any awareness for generation Y. But to raise any kind of awareness in generation Y, there’s no better media than Facebook and other social networks. This is where Shaadi.com got it right. They plan to release the game on other platforms (Android first, and an iOS game much later). Shaadi.com should likewise go with a HTML 5 game like what Microsoft did with Cut the Rope.
Angry Brides sure got my attention. Check out the game now!