What The Sims tells us about real life
I remember playing The Sims quite a bit as a young kid. I thought that if the game was even slightly realistic that it would teach me about life as an adult. Aside from it being fun to play I hoped that I could glean some kind of trick or strategy and apply it to the real world.
What I remember most is my characters laying on the floor of my very small house surrounded by flies and pizza boxes. It seemed that no matter what choices I made in the game it would end up that way virtually every time. After they had lost their jobs and had become deeply unhappy they would resort to lounging around on the floor and ordering pizza.
The game had a built-in cheat system. Basically with a code you could get as much money as you wanted and remedy other parts of your character’s lives. Voilà. Suddenly everything was great. Right?
I remember the gigantic mansions I would construct. Using the most expensive flooring and putting in extra couches in different rooms. Giving them a big screen TV here and a treadmill over there. Of course they would also have a massive pool that their friends could swim in.
That was the problem though. I generally never finished constructing my dream mansion. Boredom would set in as the monotony of decorating everything became a horrible chore. I would be trying to create an addition to the second floor of the house and then I would just get up and stop playing. What was the point of watching my virtual human beings have fun in a mansion with perfect lives?
Cheating to beat the game brought me dissatisfaction. I would enjoy, for a moment, not having to worry about finding my character’s work and trying in vain to keep them happy, but quite quickly I would find no point in making a beautiful house for the sake of just creating it.
I would go back to the saves where I hadn’t cheated. After all if I could just manage to whip their lives into shape then it would be easy to construct a mansion if I could do it just piece by piece; starting from being poor and slowly working my way up to the top. But that never happened.
I would again find myself constrained by how difficult the game was. Maybe it was just that I was young and I didn’t understand the mechanics of it. It seemed that no matter how much I cared or the amount of effort I applied that I would wind up in the same scenario of watching my characters sit in their own filth while growing more and more discontent.
I would finally move on to DOOM and games like World of Warcraft that enabled me to have a social life parallel to the one I had at school. I came to the realization that I liked competitive games which involved playing with other people. A little bit of violence helped to keep my interest. Sometimes a lot of violence.
After becoming very ill near the end of High School I began to think that the key to life was being at home as much as I wanted. I can’t describe to you how soothing it felt to wake up in the morning, thinking I had to sit through a full day of school, only to be allowed to fall back asleep and to shirk my responsibilities even if it was just for one day.
The very same thing happened to me when I began to work. I thought to myself that the very best kind of job involved creating things that would automatically make money for me. I explored multiple ways to have a source of income without putting vegetables on shelves or scooping dog poop into a bucket.
I was able to make some small amount of money by tinkering with bots. I managed to triple my money on the stock market, but aside from the initial investment it took no time or effort. I again found myself in a terrible conundrum. Being trapped at home with no money was just as bad as washing dishes and bussing tables for eight hours in a pizza parlor.
Being in my mid 20’s now I think back to when I would play The Sims as a kid. If having it all would leave me empty and having nothing would leave me in agony then what kind of solution was there?
I am so very glad that I picked up messing with Linux as a hobby. I’m happy to have worked multiple kinds of jobs and that I volunteer. I love having explored sources of income that are automated. Those types of things engage my brain and keep me inspired.
What I don’t enjoy is walking 5 miles to the nearest grocery store and only having a twenty dollar bill to get the most calories I can. It’s painful to get poison ivy all over your arms and legs from doing hours of yard work in the sun. And there is nothing like the feeling of watching somebody drive by in a Mercedes while you notice there is another hole opening up in the bottom of your shoes.
I can’t even afford to order pizza. And thank God my house is clean enough that I don’t have any flies. But I often think about how things would of been different. Would I be sitting there at the hardware store picking out matching colors of paint for the ceiling and the walls? Would I be busy deciding to whether or not to get pumpkin seeds sprinkled on my mocha latté? Or maybe I would still be stuck at home; thinking about how life would of been with pizza boxes and flies.