I have a confession. I am one of those annoying people who post game requests on their Facebook feed and expect our friends to click on them. It gives us a sense of achievement when we can say that we have achieved a goal, or completed a quest, or unlocked new scenes, or reached a new level in whatever Facebook game we happen to be addicted to at the time.
I am not a gamer in any sense of the word. I don’t play for the sake of playing. This means that I choose my games carefully, and to date there are only three that I have any kind of attachment to. The first, Scrabble, I am attached to because it is my life-long ambition to beat my grandmother hollow. She taught me to play when I was little, and mostly beat me, and then she moved back to England and there were no regular games. Now using Scrabble on Facebook, we have five or six games going at a time, and our skills are fairly evenly matched. We tend to win an even sort of a number, though I think I am creeping ahead a little… The second, Hidden Chronicles, I stumbled upon by accident and because I always think of myself as having lived in a large English country house a la Downton Abbey in a past life, the concept of building an estate with caretaker’s cottages and secluded pavilions appeals to me. But the first one that I played, that I play still, is the Sims Social.
I love the Sims because that is what I want my life to be like. I don’t know what the real Sims game is like – I’ve only ever played the social one on Facebook – but the Sims earn their money through literature, art, music and cookery. Of course I can’t claim to be proficient at all of these and it is highly unlikely that I will ever earn anything by cooking and all the art skills were appropriated by other members of my family, but I like to think I’m fairly proficient at the other two. Music is already how I earn my living – through teaching, as opposed to performance or composition, and it is my ambition to one day earn some money from writing. Or at least from reading – I rock at reading! The fantastic thing about the Sims is that it all seems so effortless. You earn enough coins to buy the next skill item and suddenly you are sculpting, or dress making, or singing karaoke or playing a magnificent grand piano. And when you’re done with that one, something new comes up. Oh that the creative life were really so effortless.
And then, instead of spending their hard-earned coins on frippery things like food and rent and bills, the Sims buy newer and nicer items for their homes. In the Sims, I have my dream home (well, sort of), where the garden is always immaculate, I never have to do laundry and I can spend all day at home! Having said that, I already spend all day at home – I have a teaching studio in my house so all my pupils come to me. Surely that’s an ideal world? We spend so much time and money making the kind of home we want to live in, and most of us spend all day in an office, earning enough money to live in the home we want. This is my second year of working from home, and I can’t imagine wanting to do it any other way.
So my sisters may think I’m wasting my time with the Sims, and my friends may get irritated by the stream of requests on my timeline, but I have learned valuable lessons from the Sims. Firstly, that good money can be earned from creative pursuits if you take the time and follow the steps, and secondly, when you don’t take the time and follow the steps, you can always have a Sim who earns that way. Lastly, and most importantly for the creative person, there are always new and improved ways to procrastinate!
- Online Scrabble and Score Envy (gotmyreservations.wordpress.com)