simulation game

Sim-plicity: I am a spearfisherwoman

Christopher Livingston at

Having retired from world-saving heroics, Christopher Livingston is living the simple life in video games by playing a series of down-to-earth simulations. This week he's on vacation-- simulated vacation, of course-- spearfishing, diving for treasure, taking pictures, and occasionally freaking out about ghost pirates and aquatic bats.


Over the past couple months, I've had a number of jobs in these Sim-plicity columns: a rotten tow truck driver, an ineffective police chief, an inept bridge-builder, a confused bus driver, a frustrated lumber-cutter, and an airport firefighter so bad at fighting fires his airport was shut down. There's really only one conclusion to draw from this pattern of failure and incompetence: I deserve a vacation.

I'm taking my break with Depth Hunter: The Spearfishing Simulator, which plunks me into the ocean as a spearfisherwoman. At least I think I'm a woman. It's a first-person simulator, so I can't see myself, but the promotional art for the game shows a woman with purple hair wearing a bikini top. The simulation promises I will "face the difficulties of breath-holding spearfishing, an ancient fishing method", though I don't think the ancient purple-haired bikini-wearing spearfisherwomen had spring-loaded mechanical harpoons.

Sim-plicity: I am a police chief

Christopher Livingston at

Having retired from world-saving heroics, Christopher Livingston is living the simple life in video games by playing a series of down-to-earth simulations. This week he puts on policeman's hat, holsters a pistol, then hangs up the hat and puts the pistol in a desk drawer. It's time to be a police chief.

We all know from a reliable source (every action movie ever) that police chief is essentially a desk job. You yell into phones, you drink stale coffee, you call those two trouble-making cops, Murtaugh and Cash, into your office to chew them out for all the damage they've caused to the city while working the Tandino murder, a case you've specifically ordered them NOT to work, and threaten to have them busted down to traffic duty if they don't clean their act up because the mayor has been screaming at you all morning.

Sim-plicity: I am a human being

Christopher Livingston at

Having retired from world-saving heroics, Christopher Livingston is living the simple life in video games by playing a series of down-to-earth simulations. This week, he steps into the life of a human being, something he should really have gotten the hang of by now.

Real Lives is a downloadable educational simulation game, promising the simulation of a single human life, one life among billions. According to their website, when I begin my simulated life, anything can happen. I could be born anywhere in the world. I could die an infant or live until old age. I could wallow in poverty or become a success. The simulation will advance me through my life a year at a time, allow me to make decisions, and let me manage my money, relationships, career and hobbies along the way.

I start the simulation, and I'm immediately born. Booyah! Man, I am acing this so far. My name is Devapratima Medha, and I'm a zero-year-old baby girl, born in Gujarat, India, to parents Parimal and Mahendra. I also have an older sister, Vasanta.

Sim-plicity: I am an airport firefighter

Christopher Livingston at

It's time to kick the tires and light the fires and then quickly and safely put the fires out, with Airport Firefighter Simulator!

We're all familiar with the three major problems that plague modern air travel:

1. flights are costly
2. delays are extensive and common
3. airports are constantly engulfed in all-consuming flames

At least that's the impression I'm getting from Airport Firefighter Simulator, a game that combines the simulated threat of airport fires with the simulated activity of you putting them out. I almost didn't play this game because, as I explained last week, I've retired from video game heroism, and being a firefighter is pretty damn heroic. It struck me, however, that for all the great swaths of time I've spent in airports over the years, I've never been in one that was in the process of being burned to the ground.


Sim-plicity: I am a wolf

Christopher Livingston at

The world, right? It's always in peril, always in need of saving. I've answered the call countless times: slaying dragons, fighting armies, battling aliens, banishing demons, assassinating Mecha-Hitler... frankly, I think I'm done. It's time to take a well-earned retirement from saving the world and try to simply live in it. Luckily, there are a number of down-to-earth simulation games that will allow me to do just that, and I'm going to be playing a different one each Sunday in Sim-plicity.