Thursday, June 5, 2008

What do you do when the adventure ends?

I do not like to bring my gaming life onto this site as I have a separate site for my game guides, but I received an email this morning with the following question:

'Hello, I have a qustion on the sims game walk through. When you are all done with the game what are you to do when you are done with the adventure?'

I personally prefer games that one can continue to play after one has completed the adventure and unlocked all options and 'secrets' but evidently some players are puzzled when this occurs. Indeed, there are players who confess that, once they have unlocked all options and secrets, they become 'bored' with the game.

Role-play simulation games really are much like real life in many respects and there are too many people in real life who become bored when they are not confronted with an emergency or crisis. An entire generation of young men after the First World War found peacetime life intolerable and could not cope with the lack of 'excitement' that they had experienced daily when confronting the possibility of sudden death or dismemberment. H.G. Wells, famous for his science-fiction work, actually wrote more novels about the fate of the young men of his generation. I read them all, simply because I read every book in the local library in the fiction section... I did discover, however, that it is often the 'second-rate novels' from any period that give more details about THAT period than the 'great novels' that are timeless in a sense.

What then is the answer to the player's question? I would respond: 'You reap the rewards of all your hard labour. You LIVE your life now, free from the stress and anxiety of pursuing one goal after another. Enjoy the magnificent home you have built and be happy with the partner you have chosen.'

A note about the game in question: It is Sims 2 Castaway, where you play the victim of a shipwreck on a 'desert island'. Your goal first is to survive and find your crewmates. Ultiamtely, however, you can build a magnificent bungalow, with all 'mod cons', provided you have discovered the secret of manufacturing glass for your windows... You build a fabulous catamaran, in which to return to 'civilisation' but when you have returned, you discover that you miss the island life and sail back...
So the game does not end with your return to civilisation... It actually never ends.

I would like to think that I had acquired enough wisdom to be able to enjoy life without conflict and without stress. I seldom experience that sort of existence in this world, but surely I can create a situation in a game if not in reality where one simply takes pleasure in the simple act of awakening each day, watering crops and flowers, feeding animals, and then going off to do a bit of mining or fishing, and finally returning home at last to greet a spouse of two decades with contentment.

Is it true? I don't know. I always have to move on to a new game when I have 'completed' one, even when they are open-ended. I do not overwrite the files and I always hope to be able to return to reap the rewards of my hard labours one day, but the actual time spent playing a game where I have completed all goals is minimal I fear.

To be perfectly honest, I have to confess that the thrill of the chase outweighs the pleasure of fulfillment where courtship and marriage is concerned. I always court every possible potential partner in a game and raise his/her heart level to maximum before I decide upon marriage with one of them. I tell myself that this is necessary for the sake of the guide I am writing, but even if I were not writing a guide, I would pursue this strategy. Am I the same sort of person in real life?

Well, that's a difficult question and the sort of soul-searching that I will keep to myself rather than proclaiming the answer from the rooftops. I do hope that I have learned to be content with nothing or with everything... because that is the secret at the heart of almost every spiritual philosophy. Contentment is found within oneself, not by pursuing some one else. The 'soulmate' concept always has been extremely alluring, but if you can't make yourself happy, how on earth could you ever hope that some one else could do the job better?

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