Monday, August 23, 2010

Simulation Games - They suck me in...

I believe it all started when I was in middle school and stumbled upon a game called Harvest Moon in the video store. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but as soon as I popped it in - I couldn't put it down. I could choose a significant other? And to top it off, I had to not only woo them, but also win over? AWESOME. I had to run my own farm and be productive, so I could get cool upgrades? I'll confess watching my farm grow was one of my favorite things to do. I beat the game multiple times just to see how different scenarios and potential romantic interests played out.

Then Theme Park took over my life. I just don't know what the pull is, but managing my own park was as delicious as chocolate to me. It's quite hilarious because in the real world, I'd dread doing all this work. And yet, when you put it into a game where not everything is on the line it becomes fun.

There's no denying the Sims has probably played an ultimate part in my simulation addiction. Let's have a family and see how the babies look - heck, I could marry whoever I wanted. And I'll confess, I usually made myself marry Colin Farrell - this was pre-boyfriend, I love you, John! But being able to pick my career out of the newspaper and get the job and then climb the corporate ladder was fun. I liked putting the effort in to getting my sim the knowledge she needed to succeed. And do you know what I think the pull is? We can have the life we want with a click of a button. If only in the real world it was as simple - instead you can work your butt off and still not advance in your career. And sometimes, you're not even working in the career path you desire. Maybe you are ready for kids in your life, but financial obligations always get in the way. Somehow, in the Sims, having children just seems so much simpler and cheaper. I think this is what keeps me playing: I can create the ultimate "me" in the Sims. I can have the money, the family, I can be a hot selling writer in the Sim world. If only the real world was as simple.

I think this is the draw of simulation games, whether you're farming, managing a theme park, or creating the ultimate you via a sim, you get to experience a different life for awhile or maybe get a peek into the one you always wanted. Sure, reality always creeps in and you have to face the harsh fact that none of what you are doing is real. And of course, people will say you're investing your time in nothing really - working hard at a life that isn't yours - wasting your life when you could be doing something productive. Hey, maybe we all need a break from reality - a look into a different life, something to give us a look into what could be. Maybe it takes away from the boredom of the nonstop robotic work schedule most of us have. And maybe it gives me hope that one day I can have everything that I've made my sim have. Maybe it won't be as easy, but it shows what could be. And maybe that's enough of a reason for me to keep playing - it helps me keep my zest for life and dreams alive and kicking. And perhaps having a break, by being a farmer for a day, isn't bad for the mind. I must say, it keeps me sane on many days.

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