My daughter is into minecraft and I wanted to introduce her to sim city genre so I installed SimCity Buildit on her ipad. I did want to know what exactly I expose her to hence I installed it on my phone and after a few days of playing I came to somewhat disturbing conclusions:
The game is highly addicting and engaging, something to be expected from a decent sim city clone. However what quickly became suspicious were the several kinds of currencies that could not be exchanged. The game offers in-app purchases and it quickly became clear
that at least some items will be really hard to get without purchasing the appropriate currency. Nevertheless I continued this did not seem that egregious at first. As the game progressed it became more and more clear that the entire game play is not about building a city,
but rather about continually starving the player for currency. The game is organized to pretty much always be in shortage of some resources, which ultimately lead to shortage of money. Storage space for resources is limited, area of expansion is limited, production speed of
items is extremely slow. Prices of items at the trading depot are ridiculously low compared to cost of expansion leading to continuous starvation. Moreover, even as the player manages to get over these humps (like I did), I quickly noticed that the prices of buildings and
kept inflating as I was managing to save more cash. Finally as market place appeared to provide some relief - ability to instantly acquire items which otherwise would take hours to produce, it quickly became clear that the game reduces the availability of needed items
forcing the player to keep clicking and waiting for the items to appear in frustration. Even once the highly anticipated cash was finally plentiful, it turned out the multiplicity of items needed to move the game forward and their general shortage in trading became the new
epicenter of starvation. Finally, I guess when the game realized I won't click any in app-purchases, it started displaying pop ups prompting the player to watch adds in exchange for some highly anticipated items. And now finally I can conclude what I think that game is:
it is a masterfully created brainwash full of pavlovian conditioning, to starve the player, bring him into submission and either force him to spend actual money or when all else fails at least force him to watch some adds. The game is littered with psychological tricks,
constantly holding the player at the edge of succeeding, forcing engagement in particular behaviors desired by the game. I'm sure this is all by design, and it is absolutely and utterly terrible. It is annoying to an adult and potentially very damaging to a child.
This game is the emblem of the statement that "if get something for free you are the product". Social media in many ways perform such conditioning too, but this game was just so over the top, so apparent, so blatant, so shameless.
Long story short - keep your children away from this poisonous shit, get some pay-up-front game, pay they couple bucks and at least have the piece of mind, that your child is not part of some pavlovian conditioning experiment, literally abused mentally by some
shameless asshole of a company. And with this let me conclude this thread with a big FU to @SimCityBuildIt and @electronicarts .