A few decades ago the masses believed video games were a waste of time for lackadaisical youths to pacify themselves while ignoring their responsibilities as both kids and young adults. As more and more people started understanding the benefits of gaming so too did the perception of what a video game is and, most importantly, the benefits gaming can bestow on a person’s life changed. Hi, my name is James Bullock and I am a gamer who has spent the better part of his existence testing the laws of physics, exploring the vastness of a world ruined, and been a champion inside various arenas courtesy of digitized worlds both driven by reality and created through pure unbelievable ingenuity unlike anything seen by human eyes. And as a gamer I’ve discovered something else video games provide: life lessons. Today I examine the game that showed just how absurd life could be, “The Sims”.
Life’s What You Make It (“The Sims”)
1998 was a rather interesting time for American schooling systems thanks to the growing change in regards to affordable technology and children becoming more adept to learning through then-unconventional means that the American scholastic system never expected and, to this day, is still trying to fully embrace across the country. For yours truly, my middle school had a little computer room not far from the cafeteria that held five computers featuring not only the Windows ’95 OS, but also several educational games that no one would play and a couple of bootleg knockoffs of real games available on consoles including a busted “Bomberman” clone featuring ice blocks and a racing game that was actually pretty fun. But there was one game on a sole computer that I spent so much time playing whenever I had the chance to goof off between classes and no one had locked the room, “SimCity 2000”. The brainchild of Will Wright & Fred Haslam hooked me to the point I would perform potentially detrimental acts to my positive educational standing to get in that room including picking the lock with my dad’s letter opener and getting friends to lie for me during the day’s final class (usually gym) that I left early. By the time I made it to high school I had purchased my own copy of not only “SimCity 2000”, but also the “virtual dollhouse” idea Wright came up with following a home fire that occurred almost a decade prior, “The Sims”.
“The Sims” and its eventual successors showed gamers like yours truly that life isn’t what it’s cracked up to be – it’s actually crazier. The Maxis-developed series gives gamers the simple task of controlling the lives of digitized versions of people hoping to achieve goals & dreams that can range from something such as becoming a star athlete of the local sports team or have a family of five kids. Though the process of getting from, say, a slop kitchen dishwasher to owner of some high-end restaurant is a lot more simplistic in-game than it would be in real life, the fact remains that just like in “The Sims” real life can be as fun and adventurous as you want it to be. It’s up to the gamer, be it in “The Sims” or in real life, to make their own life become what they envision it being. Oh, and be aware of random pool appearances – it’s a trap and that ladder will vanish when you get in the water.
Have you learned any major life lessons from playing “The Sims” or any video game for that matter? Leave them in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.