'Hunger Games' Viral Game TheCapitol.pn Explained

[caption id="attachment_101677" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Lionsgate"][/caption]

As the popularity of "The Hunger Games" continues to increase, so does the film studio's effort to collectivize and energize the fan base.

So far, they've been pretty darn effective on the web.

In the fall, Lionsgate rolled out TheCapitol.pn, a website which began as a curious snow screen (an homage President Snow, no doubt) and has since blossomed into a full-on social media extravaganza to the tune of more than 50,000 Facebook participants.

At first, fans were simply asked to register with their Twitter or Facebook accounts and wait for word from The Capitol. They were later slowly sectioned off into the 12 (on-the-grid) districts of Panem, invited to participate in a mayoral election for their districts and given little community squares at which to share photos, stories and comments with fellow members.

By this point, TheCapitol.pn essentially has become a hub composite of social networking with a "Hunger Games" role-play-like twist. The site also serves to satisfy a certain fervor many of us fans have for the nitty-gritty details of Panem. For each district, the site and its subset pages offer up data as to production, tesserae (rations) claimed by citizens and official emblems (see the gallery to the left). They even have little welcome messages which read like severe propaganda. Consider these:

•  District 4 (Fishing): "We bring the bounty of Panem's waters to the whole of the nation. Our lines never go slack!"

•  District 11 (Agriculture): "The fruits and vegetables we cultivate help keep Panem nourished and strong. Growing Panem!"

•  District 12 (Mining): "We venture deep within the earth to extract the coal which keeps Panem going. The spark of Panem!"

Oh, the Capitol and its ability to save face.

As for what's next for TheCapitol.pn, President Snow emailed members of the site over the holidays and promised, "The Capitol has even bigger plans for all its citizens of Panem as the 74th Hunger Games draw near."

We predict they will incorporate a sponsorship-style initiative in which fans from each district will be invited to support one or both of their tributes. This would certainly mobilize fans and give users of the site something to do in keeping with the theme of the books. Your thoughts?

[caption id="attachment_103850" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Lionsgate"]Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket in "The Hunger Games"[/caption]

Meanwhile, a brand new Capitol-based website has just popped up, sending us all into a late-night password-guessing frenzy: CapitolCouture.pn (screengrab to the right).

On TheCapitol.pn’s Facebook page, fans were teased "Panem citizens seeking entry to CapitolCouture.PN — It would do well to remember the past... the words you seek are ones you've heard." The password, it turns out, is "#lookyourbest."

An additional morsel about the new site came from those clever enough to check the mobile version (before it was altered).

The site's intro there read, "Whether you're a Capitol fashionista seeking inspiration for your latest look, or a District citizen tracking rumors about the Tributes and other celebs, Capitol Couture is Panem's only source for fashion & culture news, guides and trends."

So wait. Does this mean we "Hunger Games" fans will be getting a full-on gossip and fashion website run by The Capitol to entertain us now? Score!

Amanda Bell is a young adult book-to-film enthusiast and has made a name for herself as a fan-friendly, informative and dependable source. In addition to being the District 14 columnist for NextMovie, she runs the popular Twilight Examiner column. Keep tabs on her on Twitter.