Deep in the heart of the country that inspired Tolkien’s Elvish language, Welsh-based company Mgames has been working on something Precious. The official Lord of the Rings game on Facebook, ‘The One Ring’, launched in July, and has already attracted 80,000 users.

So, what makes this game so compelling? Well, to start with, it is written with deference to the original books, both the world that Tolkien worked so hard to create, and the style of his writing. The artwork is inspired and original, offering a fresh and often unique perspective of Tolkien’s vision. And when you add to this the soundtrack’s beautiful symphonic music, you have an experience that leaves the player engaged every step of the way, from the Shire to Mordor.

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Unlike many other Facebook games, the developers say that the quality of the storyline is what holds people’s attention. As the player explores the world of Middle-earth they play their part in the unfolding War of the Ring, standing alongside the heroes of the books whilst also making their own mark on the narrative. This is interactive storytelling at its best.

As with many social network games, there is no need to pay to play. However, for those who wish to do so, Facebook Credits can be used to purchase certain special items and companions. This allows the keenest of players even more options to customise their gaming experience, and make the game feel their own.

The development team are also rather different to most: they consider the community of players as having a crucial part to play in the design process. With an already strong and rapidly-growing user community on Facebook, MGames regularly interacts with and seeks feedback from this user-base, giving their players the chance to influence the future direction of the game’s development. This is a joint journey, with both players and MGames exploring the world of Middle-earth together: and they want you along for the ride.

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