| Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 06:24 am |
In my opinion, there’s far too little relating of the game to real life around here. This causes players to be distanced from other players, and, eventually, the game as a whole. I don’t know if anyone else thinks this hypothesis is correct, or cares what I am going to do about it, but I have decided to relate an experience dealing with Simcountry that that happened to me last summer and hope that it will inspire others to do the same. Anyone else is free to chime in with their own SC-RL stories, or pelt me with rotten vegetables. Regardless, let me begin:
Last winter had been especially cold and unpleasant, and I was eager to return South. I decided to spend the summer of 2003 in bayou country for several reasons. First of all, Louisiana is my home, which means that most of my childhood friends (and enemies) are within a day’s drive. Also, I had been puttering around with polyphenols in the lab for some time, and there was a research opportunity open at a decent lab down there. So I decided to pack my stuff, take some time off from studies, and come down to the bayou for a bit. Hopefully I could even get a decent paper done by the end of summer.
I had started with simcountry about a month previous, and my small Emersonian empire had slowly been gaining ground. A few people I knew had joined the game on my suggestion, one of which I would be seeing when I got down to Louisiana. I had maybe two countries and 10 million people by that point, as Kebir’s Paova Major was possibly the most unhealthy place in the entire game to start a new nation. The Syth wars had also just started, which added a new worry to my mind as a climbed aboard the red-eye bound for Memphis.
I suppose I should add at this point that I had never been much for online games. I just had too much to do. Simcountry was different, though. It was an investment of time and effort rather than an instant-gratification pleasurefest that most modern American gaming (and society, for that matter) has become. It reminded me of Simcity and my first addiction to a particular game. Not that I had become addicted, that is...
Anyway, I had other uses for Simcountry. I don’t know if anyone has noticed this, but it’s an excellent conversation piece at most parties (You run a WHAT during your spare time!?), provided you don’t come off as a delusional megalomaniac. It’s a tough gamble, but it usually works. Probably because I do it right, and not for any other real reasons. The guy I knew well in LA, we’ll call him James, just didn’t have the knack for using SC well in those situations. I didn’t know it at the time, but since I had invited him into the game he’d developed a bit of an addiction for it. He’s one of those people, I suppose, that really jumps on something when they find out they like it. In other words, Simcountry wasn’t really for him. But he didn’t know it either, so I slept somewhat soundly on the plane trip down.
So I suppose I should tell you about this guy, James, and what we do. I honestly don’t know why we’re friends, we’ve been near-polar opposites since I can recall. He’s working the summer on odd jobs, mainly lifeguarding at various pools and soaking in the party scene along with the sun. He hasn’t matured a day since he turned 18. I’m more interested in getting that paper published before I have to return to the Great Ice Cap of North America, also known as Whatever is North of Maryland to most Lousianians.
So my first few weeks consisted mainly of washing cells in noxious substances, exploring the usually drab southern social scene, and fighting wars (in that order, as well). Not too much intensity, but then again, I get plenty of that up North. Anyway, all my boredom with this existence was soon to halt, as I would discover during one of those ill-fated parties.
James had no idea how to use Simcountry to his advantage in a party. Never, ever mention “conquest”, “empires”, or heaven forbid “raper slaves” (a terrible phrase, really). But he talked about all these, and at length. Most southern girls, who were used to guys talk about cars, football, and the length of their respective sexual organs, really did not know what to make of this. I tried a different approach, focusing instead on the humorous, ridiculous aspects of it and honing in on the virtues. It worked decently, much better than the research-talk did at least. No overdone ex-cheerleader wants to hear about the merits of a diet high in curry.
Enough on that.
| Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 06:25 am |
James met her first, and he knew she was different from the rest. He had evidently known her previously from some relation, and he thought she was a sure bet on liking SC. I was dubious myself, and even more so after I met her. “Joyce”, let’s call her, wasn’t like the other southern debutantes. I could hear the telltale signs of a liberal Northern education in her voice, certainly nothing she got at a local state school. Her shoulder-length blonde hair and denim skirt added to the aura. I could tell immediately, as could James, that she wasn’t interested by the things that piqued her truly southern compatriots (Who, if I remember correctly from my high school days, thought an ideal date consisted of barbecue, beer, and making out on a dirt road). My friend had evidently briefed her entirely on Simcountry, and surprisingly, she wasn’t scared off. She didn’t mind conquest, and had a slight grin at the idea of manipulating millions to enforce her every whim. Vive la feminist movement. Luckily, we both like these types of girls.. I feel that most guys, if faced by the same situation, would’ve run. Possibly correctly, but hell, who am I to judge?
She signed up to play the next day. We forgot about her momentarily, and continued on with federation business. That would be Transcendental Middle Earth federation business on Kebir, for those of you concerned with historical facts. The federation itself is still around, although none of the people mentioned in this story still play, outside of myself. We were all within war range of each other, and our empires grew as the weeks passed. The temperature rose to normal Louisana levels; high of 100 in the day with 90-100% humidity. Low of 80 at night if you’re lucky. Fun stuff.
I didn’t see much of ‘Joyce’, the Syth Wars ended, resets loomed, and summer drew to a close. I spent at least a few hours per day working on a paper, so Simcountry fell back in my priority lists. Eventually, James got tired of this semi-stagnant state of affairs (although he was still enthused with parties, which I had grown tired of by this point). He decided that a war would be the best thing for the local SC players, and arranged to have few select people booted out of the federation so they could formally have it out. ‘Joyce’ got the boot too, surprisingly on her own demand. She must’ve wanted more blood than she got from the weak Paova C3s.
The wars started very nicely and conventionally. I had sent everyone copies of Avalon’s outdated war guide and added what bits of knowledge I had collected to that point. OAAMB attack, heli rush, artillery fire. Good stuff, but then again, I had about three times more soldiers than either James or Joyce and could watch the mayhem in relative peace.
Then it got strange. James got aggressive and decided he could take out the girl’s central nation. And he probably could’ve from sheer numbers of troops; he had been playing much longer and had accumulated more of everything. But his attacks got nowhere, Joyce had taken control of her forces and was making moves that I don’t think I would’ve had the cajones to attempt. She knew what he was going to do before he knew: she could predict which fort he was going to nail, so she packed her AAMBs in there and gave him a hell of a surprise. Shit that would’ve made Matt himself blush. The war was over by midnight, and James’s empire was no more.
Damn. She’s coming after me next.
Although I was scared enough when the declarations came, it turned out to be her tragic error. She hadn’t time to resupply with ammo before the war came, and there was no way she would break through shared fed defenses. I had over two million soldiers by that time, and her weakened attacks - planned as they were - couldn’t get through.
It was a shame, I would’ve loved for her to be on my side.
She quit the game soon after that, and faded into my own piece of Simcountry folklore.
| Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 06:26 am |
*** Epilogue ***
I got a call about 12:30 AM a few nights after Joyce signed off from Simcountry for the last time. It was James, of course. He told me to get in my car and drive to a certain address as fast as possible. Wondering what was up, I sped my 2000 Mazda to the location. James was there, and I hopped out of the car in front of a modest middle-class home. I was incredibly confused, standing in the middle of some unknown person’s front lawn at an ungodly hour of the morning.
He tossed me an extra-large bag of toilet paper. “It’s for Joyce’s place”, he whispered loudly. I was baffled at first, but then it hit me.
We were going to roll her house.
No, he hadn’t matured since he turned 18. And I protested, and complained, and called him all manner of terrible things for bringing me out here at 1 AM to satisfy his childish whim. I hadn’t rolled a house since I was in 6th grade, for god’s sake!
But then he pulled out the saran wrap, fruit loops, and forks. This wasn’t going to be a regular rolling, my friends, this was going to be a rolling planned by a smited lover and gamer! Ah, I couldn’t help myself. I gave in, spending nearly three hours sticking forks in her front yard, spreading fruit loops on the ground, and watering down everything. I felt stupid doing this; he probably didn’t even get the right house. I was almost certain that this was her parents’ house, maybe even her grandparents’. I left before James was through, drove home, and went to sleep.
I moved to GR a few weeks later. The rest of my friends left Simcountry with the resets. I haven’t heard from Joyce since.
Memories like these make the current direction of the game even more painful.
| Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 01:29 pm |
Hmmm... I hadn't thought about using SimCountry as a pick-up line. Do you think, "Hey babe, what's your fed?" might work?
| Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 01:50 pm |
From the experiences I´ve made with my fiancé, I´d doubt that line would work. I´m more curious about that fruit-loops and forks thing. Can someone explain that colourfull facet of American culture to an european?
| Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 06:27 pm |
Plastic forks are shoved down into the front yard as far as possible. They're damn near impossible to get out, but if you don't remove them, they'll destroy your lawnmower when you try to cut your grass.
When fruit loops are put on grass and watered, they bleed their dyes into the ground. This creates a nice rainbow-colored effect. It's more of a signature thing than a regular tool.
Saran wrap (or the equivalent) is usually wrapped around the victim's car or front porch (in the south, most people have large front porches with columns that allow us to do this).
| Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 07:35 pm |
| Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 09:16 pm |
Okay, ppl making signatures of fruit-loops just might be impressed by your line, erehwon, so disregard my previous posting. :D
| Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 05:54 am |
Fruit loops and plastic forks??? Wow, and I thought putting peanut butter and cornflakes between someones sheets in college was diabolical. I have been out done by the new age pranksters. :~)