BuffettNews.com - Margaritaville Online Game coming to Facebook & iPad

Well, this is pretty cool!

Jimmy Buffett is collaborating with game developer THQ on a free-to-play online social game, due this year on Facebook and Apple iPad, stocked with attractions custom-built for Buffett's Parrothead following.

If FarmVille can attract more than 45 million virtual online farmers, Jimmy Buffett is betting he can serve up more than a few frozen concoctions in his Margaritaville Online.

"You can build a boat (and) you can build a bar. You gotta evade the pirates. You can have adventures," Buffett says. "You can go to Margaritaville."

Like other online games, Margaritaville Online will let players earn virtual currency to buy in-game booty and spend real money to customize their game more quickly. Buffett hopes to incorporate a feature that lets players parlay virtual goods into rewards at Margaritaville restaurants. "If you buy virtual cheeseburgers and margaritas to send to friends, that should earn you a real burger or beer at a restaurant," he says.

Online social games became "the next new, new thing," Buffett says, but he waited "for the right time to come along and somebody who knows about (Margaritaville) and is a fan and who gets it. That is exactly what happened."

Characters and destinations in Buffett's game are based on his life, songs and books. There's a Captain Tony's Boats and Planes outpost, based on the late former Key West mayor — chronicled in the song Last Mango in Paris— as well as Joe Merchant's Trading Post, a nod to his 1992 book Where is Joe Merchant? "They were fans, and what they put into it was exactly what you would think," Buffett says.

Now on tour, Buffett remains involved in the development. "They come up with storyboards and lines, and I see the process. Then, I do what I do: Buffettizing. When I got the first ones and saw the characters drawn, I got to go to Margaritaville."