The Sims: Real Life
You’ve heard of The Sims before, right? Of course you have. It’s only the best-selling PC game in history. There are three of them, with about 5 million expansion packs (I’ll have to check my numbers on that). Well, the creator of The Sims, Will Wright (wait, you haven’t heard of him?), apparently left Maxis and EA in 2009 after The Sims 3 was released. He is currently in charge of “Stupid Fan Club” which is a sort of think tank that deals with… wait for it… Robots! That’s right. There are some quirky videos on the website. Like this one, here.
Other than “Stupid Fan Club,” Mr. Wright is working on a new game… thing called Hivemind. If you’re familiar with Mr. Wright’s work, you’ll know that he likes to create simulation-type games. Well, you can think of Hivemind as a life-enhancement simulator… thing. And, no, I’m not talking about The Sims. I’m talking about an ARG (wow, now you think I’m talking about pirates), an augmented reality game. Essentially, Mr. Wright wants Hivemind to access your social network and daily life information “to build entertainment experiences to get them more engaged in reality, rather than distract from it.”
I knew this day would come. Mr. Wright is using the influence he gained through SimCity and The Sims to create a new game that uses your personal information so that he can put your life into the robots the “Stupid Fun Club” are so crazy about! (Now I am talking about a robot revolution; this article isn’t as disjointed as you think is).
Kidding aside, Mr. Wright has a very interesting idea. He essentially wants to gamify, whatever that means, life. You know, I’d actually really enjoy having a status bar above my head as I read through Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (a la The Sims). And after I read enough books, my reading skill will increase (Wait, reading skill isn’t a thing in The Sims. Damn.).
There have been some concerns regarding privacy and Hivemind, but Mr. Wright is confident that privacy issues don’t need to be a concern, as collecting personal data would be an opt-in feature. After all, your sims in The Sims really don’t care if you watch them shower or not. If you are touchy about your privacy rights, Hivemind probably isn’t for you. But if you’re just another sim in the SimCity of The Sims, then you might get some extra enjoyment out of Hivemind when it releases (no idea when that’ll be, yet).
When it does come out, you’ll know, because I’ll be lost in some awesome game narrative that Hivemind has created for me while my boss discusses the plans for the week. Or I’ll be mindlessly strumming notes on a guitar in the hope that simple action will help me get better.
Note: I poked fun at Mr. Wright and The Sims in this article, but I really do admire the man. He is always on the innovative edge of gaming and has produced some amazing work. Mr. Wright deserves your respect as a video game player, and I hope I haven’t discolored his public image.