Saturday, March 4, 2017

My son the town planner

Well it was only a matter of time - after watching Dad drift around corners and most of the time not take out any barriers, save the princess from the Orcs of Orcdale and grab the power up to win the game, my little bloke has started to develop a keen interest in the occasional video game.

And while most of the stuff I play is kept well away from his five year old paws (I don't think he's ready to roam the nuclear wastelands of the Fallout Universe til at least 16..) I have dug out a couple of classic kid friendly games from my own past that I figured he would well and truly gotten into. Everything old is new again in the eyes of a five year old as he takes on the role of both town planner and golf course designer...


The game: Sim City 3000

His role: Mayor and destroyer of the council budget in record time.

After instilling in him the basics of the towns need for power, water and accessible roads I went off to mow the lawns and came back to find and impressive town with 6 Coal power plants and nowhere to live. So the next lesson was about residential areas and building up a populace. He used that lesson to instead connect up roads to neighboring cities in the hope that he'd attract people on the strength of having one power plant available for every family.
One of his advisers suggested a rail network, so he built one. Right around one of the power plants. With one station it's a short trip around the smog cloud.

He's having a fantastic time running his collections of towns:
-There's roads from nowhere to nowhere. But they do look good!
-He's found the iconic building button. Big Big looks at home right next to a farm. At the end of an unconnected road.
-Jackson City is virtually crime free thanks to the 8 police stations. Right next to each other.
-He's put the town dump right next to another farm. Recycling!
-Skyscrapers everywhere. They might possibly need power though.

Not one of his cities. If there was there'd be far less places to live. And a lot more fire.

Seriously though, it's such a great game to express his creativity and imagination (and once I found the code to give him unlimited money so he could play sandbox mode - CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+C then type in 'I am weak' without the '' - he really went to town so to speak) and he really loves his his position of power and the chance to build things. Well that was until I introduced him to the game of golf...


The game: Sid Meiers Sim Golf

His role: Master of mountains

Oh boy, where do I start with this one? I only introduced him to Simgolf yesterday (I've been a fan of the game for years) and already he's hit the ground running with plenty of holes covered in waste bunkers.
Yep, his average par three has more water than this planet and more sand than the Sahara and getting from the tee to the flag for his little golfers is quite the task given his hammering of the 'raise elevation' button. He likes his golf holes like he likes his mountains - imposing and painful to climb.

But the fun at Jackson Links doesn't stop there :)
-'Dad, what are these things I just built?' Hole number four now has a record six ball washers ready to go. If you tee off from hole four with a dirty ball, you're really not trying.
-Hole 2 has a burger shop right on the fairway. Just in case you get peckish after the first 1 and a half holes.
-Everything is a par three. But with all the water, sand, rocks and hazards he's put it, a par 10 might be closer to the mark.
-With plenty of space in Sandbox Mode, he still likes to keep his holes very close together for some reason. So when you tee off from hole 1, it's up to you if you want to use the fairway in front of you or the ones on either side from different holes.
-When you change some of landscapes occasionally a habitat is formed. The way he's been going, most of his courses are a complete menagerie or zoo with the occasional golf hole thrown in for good measure.
-When a sim golfer flubs it or isn't happy with something, they groan. I've heard more groans and moans in the last few hours than the entire first season of the walking dead.
-Yet for every player that quits in disgust at the toughness of his courses, another signs up for a membership. Go figure...

Nowhere near enough hazards or mountains on this hole daddy!

I knew there was a good reason to keep those old games handy and seeing how much fun he's having when he opens up another golf course layout with an unlimited budget is a delight to behold. I think I'll leave one of my favorites Dungeon Keeper well and truly alone for quite a few years though before I introduce him, before I could say 'wait that's not what you d-' he'd have the imps playing a round of golf while the Warlocks were kept busy designing a space for his next power plant..


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