When was the last time that you laughed to tears? What caused it?
For me, that was about 2 weeks ago when in conversation old video games that we had played about ~15 years ago came up. Specifically, the games were The Sims, Bridge Builder, and Rollercoaster Tycoon. Curiously, these are all creative games.
The original Sims is a classic. And it turns out, it is one of the best-selling video games of all time. It was straightforward and allowed you to realize your digital dreams. I have done crazy things in the game like everyone else. But looking back, my goals in the game 15 years ago are surprisingly still my goals now, in progress: establish a cash-generating enterprise that separates money and time, build an efficient house, and have babies. It was much easier to accomplish these goals in the game.
I had never cheated in the game. Cheating in games had always made me tired of the game itself and pretty much caused me to stop playing immediately. Perhaps that is a good technique to quit playing! Rather, I would max out my career progression and retire for the optimal retirement check, then paint and sell paintings, and write books for incremental income. If I didn’t marry Bella Goth and inherit her family’s hundreds of thousands of Simoleons, I would find a lady, marry her, and get her to max out her career as well, in order to max out the retirement check and stop working, like myself. Then, have babies.
Playing this game with my actual friend, he showed similar qualities to his game character as well: 1) he wore sport clothing permanently, 2) was very interested in the ladies, 3) used the bathroom only after it became an emergency.
I recall that we were together and locked out of my apartment with no car and no businesses nearby during our Summer of George. One of many. He had to use the bathroom, number 2, and he had waited until it was an emergency, just like he had done regularly in The Sims. I said “let’s walk to the nearest mall” to which he retorted “I will shit in your backyard!”
Under this alarming circumstance we coaxed my neighbors to let us inside and use their bathroom. Surely, these 2 ladies never saw it coming and their bathroom was soiled, but this was the most civilized solution.
Secondly, Bridge Builder. Same friend above, same school, we played this game. He was an engineer and would try to create the most cost-effective and efficient bridge possible. I did the exact opposite by making a ridiculous bridge, asymmetrical, and my goal was for the bridge to collapse just after the train crossed the bridge. This was a rare accomplishment as the bridge typically maintained its integrity if a train was able to cross it!
And lastly, Rollercoaster Tycoon. Somehow, I actually tried to run a successful business in this game. It’s mechanics steered me in the right direction. In no particular order, more money, more fun, more people. The worst that I had ever done was to increase the speed of a rollercoaster to the point of it crashing, and I recall it being very difficult to replace. Otherwise, to me, this was a children’s game of entrepreneurship!
Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, I had recalled that I had seen a maze, in the game, that took customers years of in-game time to complete. This floored me as I guess I was a bit serious about this game. In searching for the maze that takes 200 years to complete, over lunch, I came across this blogpost. The post itself is only comprised of three paragraphs, yet I couldn’t get through it without laughing to tears. The game is for children, about entrepreneurship, but with very light internet presence at the time compared to now, in ~2004, I was unaware that others were applying very adult themes to their parks. Enter, The Path of Enlightenment.