Howdy ho, my lovelies.
While traditional JRPGs will always be nearest and dearest to my heart, the runner-up in the Ginia’s Favourite Passtime contest has to be simulation games. There is just something so completely zen and blissful about them, and their constant struggle for perfection and optimal efficiency. I actually find it very relaxing after a day at the office to load up a copy of Harvest Moon and then till, water and harvest my fields, gathering as much as I can before the day (turn) ends, without wasting anything. Every day, moving my little sprite down the rows of crops (laid out for maximum efficiency), harvesting and watering, trying to move with robot-like precision, not wanting to waste a second for fear of the day ending with some crops un-picked. It is so satisfying and even soothing to complete a successful simulated day, regardless of how tedious that day is. Perhaps even because of how tedious it is.
By now I imagine some of you are rolling your eyes and wondering how in the blooming hell that can be fun. Simulation games can be more work than a real job. As I said, though, there is something just …. so zen about them. I can almost switch my brain over to auto-pilot, when playing a simulation game that I know well and just bask in the glory of the order and perfection that I create, whether it be a bountiful crop, a neatly laid-out city, or an overflowing virtual bank account.
Even when playing games from other genres, I often find myself approaching them as if they were sims. In World of Warcraft I spent so much time and effort gathering valuables for sale and manipulating the economy that it was as if Harvest Moon and one of the Tycoon games got together and had a shiny little baby and I was playing that game instead. Perhaps I am just wired differently, because I realize on an intellectual level that it sounds boring and more than a little stupid to relax after work by pretending to do more work. Perhaps I have OCD and I just really enjoy perfection, and the gaming industry has been exploiting my people for decades with these games.
Anyway, thanks for reading. I am going to go plant some corn and tomatoes in an efficient grid pattern, then design a city with appropriate population and commercial balance.