I have this game I’ve been playing when my brain is fried and I need a break. I thought it was a ‘time management’ game; others have called it a ‘sim’ game. Whatever. It amuses me.
In this game, I am an outsider, washed up on some island. It is my job (apparently) to organize the natives to build houses, grow food, and such things. When I get a village on that island to a certain size, I take a few of the natives on a raft to another island, to start a village there. Communication and trade between the villages flourishes, and there always seems to be some new quest for me to take on.
All the natives are men, and they all look exactly alike. I add to a village’s population by having a hut or house built, and when it is done, another native comes running in to live in it. When I have them build a house that will hold 2 people, they are 2 men. Are there no women on these islands?
Yes, there are, at least on the original island, but let me talk about them later.
After I’d had a few huts built, and they were growing crops, they wanted some amusement; a bar, cafeteria and a hot tub. They wanted bonfires to keep the evil spirits away, benches to sit on, and paved streets. And then... an altar of emotions. I could not imagine what that was, but I had them build it.
And that’s where the women appeared. The altar of emotions seems to be a cross between a brothel and wedding chapel. When a man feels lonely, he goes there to see his girl friend (all of whom look exactly alike), although one quest was to perform 10 wedding ceremonies. And then it dawned on me that each time a man went to see his girl friend, he left money for the village coffers. So... what did that make the women? Because they never appear anyplace other than the altar of emotions.
That does not sit well with me.
But it is just a game, and we can’t expect the designer to make it lifelike.
I like this game because I enjoy imagining colonies in their first few years of existence on another planet. Was it a planned colony or a shipwreck? How many people are there, and what skills do they have? Do they actually have the equipment they need, or do they start out with a basic campfire and have to create or re-create any technology they remember? Are there any intelligent natives? Dangerous predators?
I have one colony I’ve ‘designed’ a number of times over the years. Usually because I lost my previous plans, or realized they would need plumbers, or doctors, or something I had forgotten. I get lost in the details of that colony for days or weeks. However, I don’t need all those details to write stories about that colony. Kind of like the game; keep it simple for the reader.
Real life, of course, is far more complicated. And somehow, far less entertaining.