Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The Absurdity Of Computer Games vs. Real Life

Anyone who knows me can probably tell you that I have a thing for zombies. What better way for the world to end? I mean just look around you the next time you are in the town centre. The shambling apocalypse is already here. They just don't want to eat you. So far at least.

So a game like 7 Days to Die is just perfect for me. As it has been on my laptop it is probably the game I have played most over the last few years. The continuing development of the game has allowed it to stay fresh. So I have played it a lot It is a zombie survival horror crafting game.

When I think back to it, most of the games I have really loved involve digging things up, stealing things or killing things and taking their stuff. The later is a standard of just about all pen and paper RPGs. Online RPGs are much more focussed on crafting. Over time the crafting systems of most of these games has evolve into not just making gear but into changing the terrain by shaping the world.

Tonight I have spent building a bunker. This means digging a big hole. In the game the best mining tool is the rocket launcher (IMHO). As I am getting ready for bed I can't help but thing that there is no way you would get me digging a big hole in the ground to live in in the real world. Yet I am happy to do this for hours in a game. It was much the same in Fallout 4 and pretty much exactly that in the earlier X-Com games.

In the first X-Com I probably made ten times as many med kits as anything else. This made some sort of sense as this was quick to make and you got a good return on investment. Game mechanics made me do it. In 7 Days to Die I just keep building things mainly just because. I have even given it a name, Tactical Property Development.

This made me think back to Skyrim and The Witcher III. Here I spent a vast amount of time collecting flowers to make potions. There is even an element of that in Fallout 4. Some time ago I came up with the concept of Combat Floristry which in a lot of games, in the early stages at least becomes Combat Avoidance Floristry. In the Witcher III most of he money I make comes from selling flowers.

In Fallout 4 I now make more in game money from trading and the production of water that I do from any part of the scenario. I can leave the game running, nudging the controller every now and again to stop it shutting down and I end up making a huge amount of money. The amount of cash I have on hand I could buy out every merchant in the game several times over. I guess some tabletop RPGs do this too. Traveller is perhaps the best example of this. Over the course of six months game time I made enough money to buy to 600 ton Liners which are pretty big ships in the game. This what I call Business Studies Extreme.

What does this day about me? I don't really know but whatever it does say, it says about most gamers...

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