Thursday, January 31, 2008

Playing the Sims

The Sims! I love that game. As I mentioned on an earlier post, I learned about being human by playing this game. Before I got the Sims, I pretty much shoved myself through life, paying absolutely no attention at all to my personal needs. When I began playing the game, I made huge realizations about life and myself. Stuff I had never considered before.

If you aren't familiar with the Sims game, here's the basic scenario. You create people who walk and talk and interact with one another. They get jobs, fall in love, have children, grow old, and die. They get married, have nervous breakdowns, catch their kitchens on fire, and behave in startlingly realistic ways. I never played with dolls when I was growing up, but I had an ongoing fantasy about a box of miniature people who lived under my bed and to whom I was God. The Sims game fulfilled this childhood fantasy to a T.

So, the first family I created were an idealized version of what I thought people should be. I called them the Yogi's. They had a good marriage, got good jobs, made money, and pretty much had it made. Very boring.

The next person I created was "Gretna Green", I gave her my own personality quirks and interests and I built her a house that looked a lot like mine. Immediately we ran out of money. So, she got a job as a "phone psychic", and I waited and watched to see what would happen. So... the first day, she came home from work and began painting. She painted and painted all night long until she fell exhausted onto the floor. Pretty soon it was morning and time to go to work, which she flat out refused to do because she was "too depressed". I couldn't get that girl to go to work for nothing! She almost died - and I had to step in and sell most of her stuff in order to pull her out of the doldrums. The first thing to go was that easle! Eventually, she married well, became a doctor, had plenty of money, lived happily ever after, which was boring as hell, and I went on to create other people ad infinitum.

My son-in-law, James, created someone in his own image, built a huge house but couldn't buy any furniture or food because he spent all his money building the house. His person then refused to go and even get a job because he was "too depressed" and "too hungry". Ultimately, he downsized the house in order to buy food, and immediately his "persona" burned the food, which started a fire in the kitchen and burned the house down. My daughter and I about died laughing. It was so typical James.

Sims have very specific needs, they include: social, fun, comfort, sleep, food, hiegene, and money. I knew about the need for food and money. But the rest of it was new to me, well, OK, I did know that sleep was important. And I started to notice that when I was at work, and working ... during breaks my social score (and food) would rise significantly. But while on the phones, everything dropped. By the end of the day, unless I had a really good chair, I was bottoming out on everything except social and food. So I came home and got on the computer, that would push my creativity and fun scores up. Then I go to bed and get my comfort and energy levels fixed.

I found that I was noticing how I felt, and what I was needing in order to feel good. I found that I was more likely to respect my need for comfort and sleep. It changed my life in a profound way. I haven't played the game for about... I don't know 2 years or so, and I think I'm starting to miss it. Maybe there's something more about being "human" that I'm looking to learn.

So, what are your social needs? On a scale of 1 to 5, how well do they get met at home? at work? What about fun? comfort? sleep? What are your needs anyway? Freedom? Creativity? Money? Security? Adventure? Love? Companionship? Knowledge? What do you get from your day job (other than money)? How about at home? The internet? What feeds you? What feeds your soul? Do you make sure you get that soul food?

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