Is Zynga the nicest social games company or are they doing good to make you forget about all the not-so-good stories that came out earlier this year (cynical me, pondering)? Either way, they are raising a lot of money for worthy charities, which is a very good thing.

Zynga announced that thousands of its players have raised over $130,00 by purchasing virtual social goods in support research for Huntington’s disease, a rare neurological disorder that affects one in 10,000 people, and to provide safe water for people in Haiti.

Ironically, players in Mafia Wars, which is one of the most violent themed games on Facebook, are the do-gooders who have raised money for the disease. Logically, it is Fishville players who have raised money in support of

I’ll just stop being a cynic and say “bravo” to Zynga and their players for helping to raise money for these two good causes. We’d like to see casual game companies across all platforms doing the same.

In other news, Zynga’s CEO Mark Pincus ponders at this week’s Inside Social Apps Conference that Facebook is at a crossroads. They can become a social network portal or focus on providing the “plumbing” for social games companies. In his words, become an “Open Xbox Live for the Web.” Pincus is correct that these two paths lay in front of Facebook. Personally, I think they follow the opposite of Jack Frost’s advice, and take both roads (scary yet exciting thought but that’s the path I think they are taking).

For full article, go to Gamasutra.