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EA's Latest Attempt To Destroy SimCity Franchise: Micropayments For Hammers And Nails And Supplies

from the reticulating-splines dept

Let me tell you a story. Two years ago, the world's most hated video game company, Electronic Arts, decided to lay waste to one of the greatest franchises in history: SimCity. It did this in multiple ways. First, it pretended like the game's structure required an always-on internet connection, even though that wasn't true. Then EA failed to properly plan for the launch-day success it somehow managed to have, which meant that the required but not necessary internet connection was causing game servers to fail all over the place and rendering customers into would-be-game-players. The company was then voted as the "Worst Company In America" in a Consumerist poll. As a result of all that backlash, EA reformed its ways and released a mobile version of SimCity that is both customer friendly and stays true to the franchise's roots as a thank you to all of its loyal fans.

Haha, just kidding, EA totally fucked it up again. Their mobile game breaks the SimCity game mechanics and models entirely in favor of timer- or micropayment-based resource collection. And when I say resource collection, I mean on a level that's absolutely ridiculous.

SimCity fans, how much do you love timer-based resource-production as the primary means for growing your city? Let's say that you zone some plots of land for houses. In most SimCity games, you tweak the tax code, improve the roads, maybe build a police station nearby and, bit by bit, those homes improve. In SimCity Buildit? You can do some of that, but the main way you improve the residential areas you've zoned is by dragging resources to them.
What kind of resources are we talking about? Well, you need nails, which you make out of steel at a supply shop and it takes five minutes for the game to create them...or you can just buy them for real-world cash. But where do you get that steel to begin with? Well, it's made at the factory you built, and it takes minutes for that factory to replenish the steel girders you've already used...or you can just buy them for real-world cash. You can only develop your zones if you have enough -- wait for it-- hammers, which take 14 minutes to create for some reason, and only then if you have enough wood to make those goddamned hammers and now I'm starting to get frustrated...or you can just buy all this stuff for real-world cash. Getting the point? More importantly, does this remotely sound like any kind of SimCity game you've played in the past?

As the post points out, you can play the game without spending real-world money, but only in laughably truncated spurts that feel less like SimCity and more like CIA torture. From one review in the app store:
"They call you a 'Mayor' but a mayor doesn't have to work in the factories and ask for more stock every 2-5 minutes, and have to collect it personally in each factory."
Now, Kotaku goes on to declare that because Electronic Arts is the Dr. Evil of gaming companies, this means that all free-to-play is a scam and is destroying all of humanity. But that's just because Kotaku gets kind of stupid with some of this stuff. The real lesson here is that if you design your game with the "extract the most money as possible" frame of mind first and the wants/needs of your fans second, you're going to generate pissed off reviews. After all, it's not as though free to play hasn't worked wonderfully in the past.

But, you know, Electronic Arts.


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 2:51am

    Why are we surprised again? EA has given up quality long ago in favor of extracting as much money as possible from successful franchises. When they are ruined they just need to buy the next. EA is not a gaming company anymore. If you think about it it's brilliant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 3:03am

    Games like Candy Crush, and similar 'Pay to skip the waiting'-games are incredibly profitable, despite being rather simple.

    EA customers are... well, let's be nice and say 'loyal'.

    SimCity fans are likewise rather loyal.

    As such, while sleazy, this makes perfect sense for them. Anyone who still buys from them will probably have no problem dropping massive amounts of money into the game, whereas the people who don't buy from EA, for whatever reason, were never going to buy from them anyway. It's really a no-lose situation for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 3:55am

      Re:

      I wonder if people can be fooled that badly? I've read somewhere that actually 1-3% of the users of these pay-to-win or pay-not-to-wait games actually shell most of the money the company gets, if memory serves it was about Candy Crush. I got rid of those games the moment I realized I'd be forced to pay if I wanted to have any chance (specially those that require always active connection and you confront other people).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 4:13am

        Re: Re:

        People still buy from EA, and play Candy Crush don't they? I don't think the company will be hurting for gullible fools to throw money their way.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 4:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I don't think the company will be hurting for gullible fools to throw money their way.

          Nope. Gamers are stupid, which is why EA still exists. So at this point, I've lost all sympathy for the gullible fools and actually admire EA for turning the systematic ripoff of their most loyal customers into a business model. It's genius. Evil genius, but genius nonetheless.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 4:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I bring this up anytime I see the 'gamers are stupid' line, as the focus is too narrow. The problem isn't that gamers are stupid, but rather consumers, of which gamers are a part, are stupid.

            People pay hundreds, even thousands, on 'designer' clothes just because of the brand. People continue to buy from the movie and record businesses, despite both showing utter contempt for their customer numerous times. And yes, people continue to buy games from companies that also show nothing but greed and contempt for their customers.

            Idiot gamers aren't the problem, the problem is idiots in general, some of which happen to be gamers.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 6:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You're entirely correct, of course. I acknowledge that your generalization actually describes the problem more accurately.

              The conditioning of consumers to see the latest movie (even if it's crap) or to buy the latest music (even if it's crap) or to buy the latest clothes (which were in fashion 14 years ago) or to (fill in the blank) is one of the triumphs of advertising and marketing. And it works: my 20-something daughter thinks she needs a North Face winter jacket even though the ones from (relatively unknown) Eastern Mountain Sports are half the price, have more features, last longer, and are backed by outstanding customer service.

              I think we're making slow inroads on breaking this, but since it's backed by an army of people and billions if not trillions of dollars, it won't be easy.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 5:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Agreed. As bad as EA is, they're not entirely at fault here. People who continue to reward them for this despicable behavior are partly to blame.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        McCrea (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 6:25am

        Re: Re:

        It's that 1%, those players who are willing to repeatedly spend hundreds of dollars per month on a single video game, who make it all worthwhile for this business model.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        pixelpusher220 (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 9:18am

        Re: Re:

        I actually like Candy Crush's model. I play till my 5 lives are exhausted and then put it down. It's a nice 10-15 minute break every few hours at work.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 30 Dec 2014 @ 11:13am

      Old code never dies.

      I dunno. I think I will just stick with my ancient copy of Sim City 3000, or even better yet my even more ancient copy of Sim City 2000. I can run it in a VM if I have too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      except you miss the point that they destroyed a franchise that many people enjoyed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Fail, 30 Dec 2014 @ 4:22am

    EA: So we understand that we made this thing so you give us money and you didn't like it. So we listened and made this other thing totally for you for free...to give us money, you are free to give us all your money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 4:42am

      Re:

      'all your money' might be underestimating it. From the Android App store page for the 'game':

      In-app Products
      $0.99 - $99.99 per item

      One of the items in the game costs almost a hundred. freaking. dollars. For nothing more than in-game currency to speed up the tasks that they attached a timer to, purely to cause you to get annoyed and spend money on it. And people will do it too. There are people that impatient, or that stupid, that they will drop money, lots of money, on a 'free' game that's designed solely to force them to spend money on it in order to play by placing ridiculous and unnecessary road-blocks in their way until they get tired of waiting and just pay up.

      And that, really, is what gets me. I can certainly understand EA going for a cash grab here, that's completely in line with the company, but the fact that games like this(pay to win/pay to bypass the artificial difficulty spike designed solely to annoy you) are even a thing, and a successful thing at that, just... well, it's almost enough to get you facepalming to the point where it leaves a permanent mark, knocks you into a coma, or both.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Fail, 30 Dec 2014 @ 5:35am

        Re: Re:

        Can we really call this a "cash grab" anymore? When the standard for freemuim games is:

        1.Entice the player with an easy game loop.
        2.Compliment the player with flashy casino slots-like rewards and graphics.
        3.Train players to spend the in-game currency.
        4.Then offer players the chance to spend real money for that in-game currency.
        5.Then make the game about waiting, but let them pay to avoid waiting.

        At this point this is just how successful (i.e. makes a buttload of money) mobile games are and EA is no fool.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 8:01am

        Re: Re:

        There are people that impatient, or that stupid, that they will drop money, lots of money, on a 'free' game that's designed solely to force them to spend money on it in order to play by placing ridiculous and unnecessary road-blocks in their way until they get tired of waiting and just pay up.

        It's disappointing to realize that the entire design of this game from the ground up is to guide the player into spending money. They didn't make a great game and then figure out how to make it profitable.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 4:28am

    Meh, I find it hard to get too worked up about this one. Unlike the restricted crapfest they released on PC, this is a different game entirely. It's a Simpsons Tapped Out/Family Guy style game with the SimCity brand attached, not an attempt to have a full port of the main game on mobile. Like most such games, it's not a game intended for you to sit for hours at a time to play - you play for a few minutes, set up your jobs then check in later to carry on. If you're trying to build a full city from scratch in an hour from the first time you open the game, you've missed the point.

    As long as you don't have to pay to progress in the game, it's not really an issue. You don't lose anything if you opt not to pay, and unlike other franchises (Dungeon Keeper, for example), it's not the only method of accessing the franchise if you're a fan. If you choose to play, you don't have to pay anything at all.

    As far as controversies go, and especially those relating to EA, this is a very minor one that's easily remedied by simply not playing, or by playing another version that's easily available.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 4:44am

      Re:

      This is as "easily remedied by simply not playing" as all other EA controversies, though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 5:06am

        Re: Re:

        Indeed, but more so here than normal.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 6:02am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, I believe it's exactly the same. "Simply not playing" the previous SimCity, or The Sims, or the Dungeon Keeper awfulness was no solution to those problems, and isn't a solution to this one.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 6:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So, what is your solution? I didn't claim any solution, but if you don't want to give them money, well, don't... What do you think people should be doing instead?

            My point is that this is neither an attempt to pile on unwanted DRM and multiplayer crap at the expense of the main franchise (the previous SimCity) or a half-assed attempt to resurrect a classic franchise in ways the fanbase didn't want (Dungeon Keeper). Whichever way you look at it, it's an additional game that doesn't replace the main franchise and doesn't cost you anything if you don't want to pay.

            It's a standard freemium game that happens to have the SimCity brand on it, and it's not worth getting irate about this one when there's far more egregious things to address.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 7:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Whichever way you look at it, it's an additional game that doesn't replace the main franchise and doesn't cost you anything if you don't want to pay."

              Exactly like all the other EA games, including the last SimCity release. My problem is that they're doing this to SimCity specifically. SimCity is one of the best games of all time, and it really hurts my heart to see EA doing this to it.

              No, I won't give EA a dime, so in a sense that's problem solved. However, it means that SimCity is a dead game and I don't even have the opportunity to financially support it to get better versions in the future.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Greevar (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 1:48pm

      Re:

      Or, you could just have a dozen, or more, f2p games on your phone. By the time you hit your wait-gate in each of them, the first one is ready to go again.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    S. T. Stone (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 4:28am

    The game's next round of microtransactions will include...

    Pay $5 USD or wait 30 minutes to reticulate a single spline

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TwelveBaud (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 4:32am

    Didn't they learn their lesson when they did this with Dungeon Keeper (http://www.metacritic.com/game/ios/dungeon-keeper)?

    Oh wait, I'm silly! EA doesn't learn!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 4:57am

      Re:

      Review scores are nice, but how much money are they making?

      If they're making lots of money despite terrible reviews, they're learning a lesson. Just not the one you want them to.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 6:36am

        Re: Re:

        It's not a good lesson for them to learn either though.

        They're learning that short term profits are profitable in the short-term, while not YET learning that damaging their reputation and the very industry itself through their constant shovelware and acquisitions will be the death of them in the long run.

        They should take a look at Zynga's ever plummeting stock value.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 7:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh, I agree with that. I was just making sure that TwelveBaud was aware that EA isn't going to care about bad reviews if the money keeps rolling in, same as they don't give 2 craps about DRM while people still pay them money for restricted content. I wish they were learning other lessons, but the evidence isn't there to show that they are.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 4:48am

    If I wanted microtransactions for every goddamned aspect of building a city, I'd just build a city in real life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 5:18am

    This kind of predatory publishing is literally morally worse than digital piracy. They are outright stealing money from the addicts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 5:18am

    Just wanted to bring a comment from an employee foreward about how he sees the situation of EAs admission that buying and dismantling studios wasn't worth it and I imagine the same would go for this article:

    "I agree that EA has had dark times in the past but this write up is obviously biased in that all the wording is purposefully negative in an aggressive way.

    Isn't acknowledging that something isn't ideal the first step in fixing the problem? That quote is from the CFO and it is his job to think how actions affect the numbers.

    The article also has this quote:
    "I'm also a huge believer--I think the team is a huge believer--that we've got great opportunities inside our organization," Jorgensen said. "We've built a really strong bench of talent at all levels, and our view is just [to] find great ideas, either through our own development or through licensed IP, and leverage your talent base to try to build that. "


    I am disappointed that this site has shifted to mostly focus on the bad and hasn't acknowledged others including EA (and Origin specifically) have been working hard to change with the times. EA has done some industry leading things that are inline with "RtB + CwF" which is one of the fundamental concepts that brought me to TechDirt.

    Some examples:
    + Focus on quality even if it means delaying games.
    + Great Games Guarantee - return digital games an industry first
    + Huge investments in Customer Service - now is an industry leader in satisfaction
    + Community involvement - (not just advertising). Look for "Origin Insider" on Facebook, reddit, twitter, etc.
    + EA Access- on XBox One with a high value proposition - industry first on console
    + On The House - PC free game give away program
    + Game Time - timed trial program for major games
    + Anti piracy technology put emphasis on not punishing valid users
    + Huge sales that include leading titles.
    + Regional pricing to keep games affordable in various markets (yes I know not perfect yet but it is complicated)

    Sure there are some things EA isn't doing perfectly and there are misses but every large business has them. Games take years to develop so business models and design trends that were popular when the game was designed may not be when the game releases.

    The internal philosophy from top to bottom in EA has shifted in the last few years with our new leadership and is dedicated to investing in our talent and putting players first.

    Disclosure: I work for EA and I am writing this because I, like my peers, am passionate about delivering exceptional games to the gaming community. Before anybody accuses me otherwise: I am not being paid for this comment and this is my personal opinion."

    Be aware that none of the marketing and reputation management programs he mentions has anything to do with the unusually aggressive and greedy business models this article brings forth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 5:46am

      Re:

      "Just wanted to bring a comment from an employee"

      A self-proclaimed "employee" who seems to have been so caught up in the marketing speak of what he posted that he outright ignored or rejected all valid criticisms.

      We heard it before, and it was unconvincing.

      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141205/05574329334/ea-admits-that-gobbling-up-talen ted-studios-then-ruining-them-isnt-working-out-so-well.shtml#c133

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      CK20XX (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 6:22am

      Re:

      This gives me a perverse desire to see a Sega employee explain the roller coaster of a career Sonic has had since the Dreamcast era.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 7:40am

      Re:

      Wow, they must LOVE you at work: a perfect little obedient shill, sucking up to the masters, parroting the corporate line, and repeating discredited lie after lie.

      You are truly the model EA employee.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 7:51am

      Re:

      "I am disappointed that this site has shifted to mostly focus on the bad and hasn't acknowledged others including EA (and Origin specifically) have been working hard to change with the times"

      It's hard to focus on anything but the bad when there's so little good to talk about. If EA manages to actually change with the times, then it will be praised. Despite EA's self-proclaimed "reforms", however, every single sign we've seen is that nothing has changed.

      Those examples of good you've listed are highly dubious. Every single one of them is either nothing but lip service or putting lipstick on a pig.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 7:57am

      Re:

      I am disappointed that this site has shifted to mostly focus on the bad and hasn't acknowledged others including EA (and Origin specifically) have been working hard to change with the times. EA has done some industry leading things that are inline with "RtB + CwF" which is one of the fundamental concepts that brought me to TechDirt.

      There's a "submit a story" link at the top left if you would like to try to influence TD's coverage.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 30 Dec 2014 @ 11:18am

      The perspective of an EX-employee

      EA buys great studios just so they can exploit their big name product "franchises". They destroy those studios and leave empty shells behind. What artistic assets they don't just discard, they exploit in the most crass way possible.

      Been there. Done that.

      EA is a menace rather like the Borg.

      They will p*ss on your memories.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      simcity player, 7 Jan 2015 @ 2:30am

      Re:

      Thanks for turning simcity into FARMVILLE. TRASH. Please tell your psychopath executives to shove it up their asses.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        SortingHat, 8 Mar 2016 @ 5:58pm

        95 percent of mobille phone users

        You do know they don't even read comments? It's all bankster type people who likely don't even play a single video game in their life and go to expensive bars and clubs on your dime.

        They hire some punk kid off the street and say "Do you enjoy this" who has never even played Sim City before and excitedly says "Well it looks pretty so yeah!" and the banker type person is excited as well.

        They may look at one or two titles of a forum thread and put the notes in the trash bin.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 5:48am

    EA, the Comcast of gaming companies. Anyone already found out how to enter "shibboleet" in any of their games?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 5:56am

    not going to feel sorry...

    We all have seen what EA has been doing for a long time now.

    If you gave them your money... shame on YOU!

    You deserve to get screwed! Enjoy!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 6:22am

    There are already dozens of city-building mobile games that work the same way, so the only thing worth noticing about yet another clone in the pile is the name. And since EA already ran the good name of the SimCity series into the ground...

    I suppose it's a profitable business, and it's the suckers' own fault if they waste their money on garbage. But companies should not be allowed to advertise these games as "free to play" when they are only free to start.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      hi, 1 Mar 2015 @ 6:04pm

      Re:

      People want to pay money to much. I believe the companies should be able to do this because they ARE free to play. One of my friends play this game and he did not spend a single cent on it. Gaming companies kind of need to be able to make money. I think these games are better as they give you the OPTION to play the game for free, however the idiots can play if they want.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    McCrea (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 6:29am

    and... is it broken?

    About 2013, a big problem was that, by reasonable standards, the game was broken. The RCI indicators were the tradional measurements of growing a city, in 2013 these were broken, and developers defended that it was by design. Sure, they eventually made some patches to address some of it, but I don't really know the details because I had quit playing long before then.

    Now you have to pay to see the endgame before you realize it's broken, I reckon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      McCrea (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 6:31am

      Re: and... is it broken?

      ... and, we also know, through SimSocial and others, that EA won't hesitate to pull the plug on their micro-transaction apps. So after you pay, you can't play.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    New Mexico Mark, 30 Dec 2014 @ 6:48am

    Concentrated gullible

    From a security viewpoint, I wonder EA's actions might have the unintended effect of creating a concentration of people 1) With more dollars and 2) with less sense.

    If/when this customer base gets exposed, it could be a gold mine for phishing and other behavioral attacks. (Mustn't go to the dark side. Mustn't go to the dark side...)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daniel, 30 Dec 2014 @ 6:50am

    SimCity BuildIt?

    Sound more like SimCity Bandit!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Max (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 7:00am

    All free-to-play might not be a scam and it might not be destroying all of humanity, but we've seen zero evidence to support that assumption as of yet: all evidence we have supports the opposite.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 7:40am

    Disappointing, but not surprising

    Since EA has demonstrated that they don't give two shits about the SimCity games already, that they've produced one that is a step down from their last release isn't a surprise at all. This is effectively EA saying that SimCity is now dead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 7:53am

    Lots of online games do this...

    ...not just EA. Yes, you can play these games for free. But as mentioned you will get to points that you have to wait for an action to complete or a resource to acquire. Yes, you can pay to acquire now or wait.

    Now if you want to see a ridiculous version of this try 'Sexgangsters' (yes, that's adult-only).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 8:40am

      Re: Lots of online games do this...

      True enough, but the none of those other games carry the venerable name of SimCity.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 12:01pm

        Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

        Haha, SimCity's venerability can and has been squandered.

        Respect is not given, it is taken.

        SimCity 1-4 took it.

        SimCity 5 pissed on it.

        SimCity mobile took a shit on it, set it on fire, and left it on our collective doorsteps.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 1:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

          "Respect is not given, it is taken."

          No, I'm sorry. Respect is neither given nor taken. It is earned.

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            Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 1:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

            If i do something that makes you respect me, i've taken your respect. I didn't earn it because you didn't give it to me. I took it. Your consent is not required.

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              John Fenderson (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 3:17pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

              This makes no sense to me whatsoever.

              "Respect" is the esteem in which I hold you. That respect is built up from the sum total of my experiences with you (there is no single act that can cause me to respect you, although I can respect the act itself, but that's a different thing). If you have consistently behaved over time in a way that is deserving of respect in my mind, then you have earned my respect.

              You have certainly not taken it. Logically, "respect" cannot be "taken" because it's a mindset, not a thing. You can't "take" someone's mindset. But even further than that, taking something implies that you could theoretically obtain it against my wishes -- and the is absolutely impossible with respect. Nobody can force anybody else to respect them.

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                Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 6:02pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                "Nobody can force anybody else to respect them."

                Of course they can because respect is not a choice but an involuntary reaction to stimuli.

                You don't choose whether you like sugar laced chocolate or not, likewise you don't choose whether you respect something or someone or not. And I can force you to respect me against your wishes simply by manipulating your wishes.

                All it would take to gain your respect would be me administrating the proper inputs in the proper sequence. And this is why respect is "taken". It is not a choice you make but a reaction to something others do, thus they "take" your respect while you have no say in the matter.


                "Logically, "respect" cannot be "taken" because it's a mindset, not a thing. You can't "take" someone's mindset."

                Nor can respect be "earned" for the same reason. I'm surprised you brought physical logic into this.

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                  CK20XX (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 7:34pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                  See, the problem there is if that is all respect really is, then what good is it to anyone? You describe it as merely a blip on a radar or a flashing light, something that's a mere novelty at best, and that's a clear lie. It wouldn't be so widely sought after if its meaning was that shallow.

                  Respect is symbiotic state between two parties. The party exercising respect uses the other party as a role model to pattern his life after, and the party receiving respect gains support and clout it can use to overcome future hardships. The vampiric sapping of good feelings you describe plays no part in respect. In fact, it's really hard to respect someone with such a short-sighted, unwise, robotic viewpoint.

                  You encounter a similar problem with people who believe that love is an emotion. If that's true, then does that mean that when you get angry with your wife, you stop loving her? Of course not. Any marriage counselor in the world will tell you that's bull. Love is a choice to stick by someone even when they're driving you crazy, not a feeling.

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                  John Fenderson (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 8:16am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                  "Of course they can because respect is not a choice but an involuntary reaction to stimuli."

                  I disagree wholeheartedly with this assertion. I do think that you choose who you respect and on what grounds you make that decision. I don't think it's even close to involuntary.

                  "And I can force you to respect me against your wishes simply by manipulating your wishes."

                  Maybe, but that's more fraud than force. The fastest way to ensure that I won't respect you is to manipulate me like that. Assuming, of course, that I notice it.

                  "All it would take to gain your respect would be me administrating the proper inputs in the proper sequence."

                  True, if you're willing to engage in sociopathic behavior like that, then I can be fooled. However, it's incredibly hard to pull off, because your manipulation would have to be over the long haul (months or years of consistent behavior from you). When your deception is ultimately discovered (and the odds are overwhelming that it will be, eventually) then you wouldn't just be losing my respect, you would be also be gaining my outright animosity.

                  "Nor can respect be "earned" for the same reason. I'm surprised you brought physical logic into this."

                  I'm not the one who brought physical logic into it. You did with your use of the word "taken". However, in this aspect of our debate, we're just disagreeing about semantics rather than the underlying point.

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                    nasch (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 8:39am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                    Maybe, but that's more fraud than force. The fastest way to ensure that I won't respect you is to manipulate me like that. Assuming, of course, that I notice it.

                    I took his comment as more of a claim that there's no such thing as free will. You are just a sum of the electrical and chemical impulses in your brain, so if he can figure out the proper inputs that would manipulate those impulses into a pattern that would be recognized as respect, he can "make" you respect him. The thing is, figuring out and implementing those inputs is exactly the same thing as taking actions that you find worthy of respect.

                    But I could be misinterpreting.

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                    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2014 @ 9:50am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                    "Maybe, but that's more fraud than force."

                    Since we're on the subject of semantics, fraud is merely a type of force. And whether something is fraud or not is subjective.

                    Nasch is on the right track. I'll give a more fleshed out reply to what you wrote in awhile, i'm busy at work at the moment.

                    Regards.

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                      CK20XX (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 3:06pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                      Ah, so this is ultimately a study in religious beliefs. Or at least, that's what it sounds like, for all intents and purposes.

                      Saying there's no such thing as free will is a very hard thing to prove though. Boiling everything down to electrical and chemical impulses in the brain oversimplifies things to the point of misinformation. I don't think that view is supported by quantum mechanics, for one, and even in linear stories, characters exercise free will. A good author merely follows along behind his characters and records what they do while occasionally giving events around them a nudge to keep the plot moving.

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                    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 9:22pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                    This thing has kind of gone off the rails. What was meant to be a joking one off comment about SimCity's descent into the gutter has turned into something much deeper.

                    John and anyone reading, if you disagree with what i write below please explain why - i'd love to be challenged on this - but if you do please try to keep faith out of it and give me details and examples contradicting what i wrote.

                    To show my cards early, i do not believe in choice. Where others see choice i see mathematical equations filled with variables the chooser has no control over which determine the choice for them.

                    Given that, I believe that it is critical to our future that we recognize this and act on the knowledge. For only when we can all come to an understanding that we are only as good as the environment in which we are raised - the cycles of poverty and violence in minority neighborhoods bare this unfortunate reality - can we retire our damning pointing fingers and work to ensure that all environments are improved and that each of our unique needs are catered to.

                    If life and the choices derived from it are indeed nothing more than deterministic calculations, we must take that knowledge by the horns and work to improve those calculations for everyone.

                    Please note that none of what follows is meant to offend.

                    ----------------------

                    I disagree wholeheartedly with this assertion. I do think that you choose who you respect and on what grounds you make that decision. I don't think it's even close to involuntary.

                    Ah but the grounds are always shifting beneath our feet aren't they?

                    You're assuming that you choose the grounds leading up to the respect choice, but you do not. Had you been born during the slavery area your grounds for respect might have been how much whip skill your fellow plantation owner exhibits when doling out lashings to his slaves. Had you been on the boat with Columbus you may have respected the way your shipmates managed to rape the native Lucayan girls without getting a scratch.

                    I know those examples sound provocative but they're not meant to be, nor are they an attack against you as they apply to everyone. Now you may be reflexively disagreeing or you may be soul searching and trying to figure out if - had you been born during those eras - you would have been capable of those things but if you are you're doing so from the vantage point of a different person than who you would have been if you had and as a result such speculation is useless. Furthermore, in the event that your unique physiological makeup did indeed prevent you from acting in that way regardless of the environment your psyche was fermented in (which is extremely unlikely) it doesn't matter, nor does it make you any more righteous than anyone else. Why? Because you didn't choose your physiological makeup any more than the environment which sculpted it - you were merely lucky enough to hit the pick six in compassion roll of the genetic dice.

                    So now that we've established that the grounds from which you stand to determine whether something or someone is worthy of respect are not of your choosing, let's drill down into the choice itself.

                    Imagine that you go to the ice cream shop and when asked what flavor you'd like you think about it for a moment and choose chocolate. Let's examine this scenario:

                    1) You didn't choose that you like chocolate. You just do.
                    2) You can only choose chocolate because coco exists.
                    3) You can only choose chocolate because someone decided to make it into ice cream.
                    4) You can only choose chocolate because someone distributes it.
                    5) You can only choose chocolate because of transportation to get it to you.
                    6) You can only choose chocolate because America wasn't leveled during WW1.
                    7) You can only choose chocolate because the earth hasn't been destroyed by a meteor.
                    8) Universe exists.
                    9) Etc. etc. etc.

                    So the grounds in which you stand to make your chocolate choice are not of your making, you are merely the privileged benefactor of a society in a universe that managed to keep its shit together long enough to fulfill all the prerequisites required for you to go home a happy chocolate ice cream customer.

                    But again, forget the grounds from which you make your choice and let's think about the choice itself. Imagine if after you made your decision for chocolate i reset the universe back to the point before you made your choice (i restored every variable in the universe to the state it was in prior to your determination), and you made your choice again. Do you think you would make a different choice?

                    What if i reset it ten more times?
                    A hundred?
                    Million?
                    Trillion?

                    Now stop and REALLY think about this. Would you ever make a different choice? If i kept resetting the universe till the end of time, would you ever decide differently?

                    Barring chaos theory (which we'll discuss in a minute), the answer is no, you would never make a different choice. In the same way that 2+2 always equals 4, the sum of all the variables leading up to that choice always equaled chocolate and the only way they could ever equal anything else - regardless of how many times you reran the calculation - is if one of the variables were changed. Thus the choice is deterministic: Merely the result of a mathematical calculation filled with trillions of variables not one of which you exercised even the slightest bit of independent control over. And just like the chocolate choice, every choice you have ever made and every choice you will ever make is on rails.

                    Those rails are a physiological makeup which you did not choose interacting with an environment you did not choose which produces an individual in which every choice he makes is a calculation created from the fusion of both. When thinking of choice imagine a random number generator. The choice itself is the random number and can always be traced back to the seed (environment/physiological makeup interaction).

                    [If you disagree please tell me why and show your work.]

                    Now you may be saying, "no sir, i'm sure eventually i would make a different choice because of the uncertainty principle (or chaos theory). Eventually enough wave functions would collapse a certain way and i would choose strawberry."

                    And sure that's certainly possible, but it doesn't make you any more capable of making an independent choice than you could before because all the uncertainty principle is doing is adding a sprinkling of chaos to the choice and you don't control the chaos any more than you control any of the other variables.

                    Or you may be saying you'd eventually choose another flavor because the human brain is special and can act independently of the universe around it. In which case i say that sounds hard to believe, but if true you still don't control the randomness function of your brain any more than the chaos function of the universe.

                    So going back to your point John, i think who you respect is completely involuntary along with everything else. I would love for you to make me believe otherwise. I've read enough of your insightful comments to know that if anyone can do it, you can.

                    To bring this thing full circle, reading your comments over the past year have made me come to respect you a great deal. I guess I could say you've earned it. ^_^

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                      nasch (profile), 2 Jan 2015 @ 6:41am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                      Given that, I believe that it is critical to our future that we recognize this and act on the knowledge.

                      So the math equations came out in a way that makes you believe it's critical the math equations come out a certain way.

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                        Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2015 @ 8:33am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                        My specific equations do. If there is really is no such thing as choice we might as well recognize that and make the best of it. The alternative is blame instead of understanding, punishment instead of rehabilitation, indifference instead of prevention, and languishing potentials instead of better realized ones. In other words, the status quo.

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                          nasch (profile), 2 Jan 2015 @ 9:19am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                          The alternative is blame instead of understanding, punishment instead of rehabilitation, indifference instead of prevention, and languishing potentials instead of better realized ones.

                          Of course if you're correct then we have no choice in the matter. If we blame, punish, are indifferent and whatever else it's just math.

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                            Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2015 @ 10:25am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                            You're correct it is just math.

                            Hopefully the math will work out in our favor and we'll realize it is just math. Then we can incorporate that knowledge and work to make better calculations for everyone. And assuming that outcome could be achieved it wouldn't be a choice any more than any other, it would be just what would have always happened with that knowledge in that equation.

                            Honestly the knowledge that choice doesn't exist is empowering, because it puts the ability to improve the life of others right at your fingertips. A well placed kind word to a stranger or a helping hand when one needs it the most can change the course of one's life. It has for me.

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                              CK20XX (profile), 4 Jan 2015 @ 5:59pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                              I like the way you present your ideas, but I find them quite difficult to agree with. Unfortunately I'm not sure I can articulate the precise technicalities of why within the confines of a blog comment, but perhaps if we could have tea together and take things one piece at a time, we'd both emerge more enlightened for it.

                              For one, I fail to see how a worldview that absolves everyone of personal responsibility and the need to better themselves can possibly be good. For me, it brings to mind a scene from Red Dwarf 8 where Christine Kochansky is lying nude in bed, saying, "I'm not sure about this. This is the first time I've been seduced by predeterminism theory." You talk about giving kind words and helping hands to strangers, but you seem to advocate this in spite of your views, not because of them. There's a leap in logic there that's unaccounted for.

                              I do kinda respect you for being thorough, polite, and articulate, but I fear you use mathematics the same way a munchkin uses numbers and rules to cheat and metagame at a tabletop RPG session. Sometimes one's accumulated knowledge only serves to make one more ignorant, depending on how it is wielded.

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                                Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2015 @ 8:00pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                                "There's a leap in logic there that's unaccounted for."

                                Really? I find it quite bizarre that you would think so.

                                If i'm reading you right you're assuming that because i don't believe in free-will i have to be a nihilist (or some flavor of that type of ideology), which i find illogical. Free-will might not be real, but pain a suffering most certainly are. Wanting to ease both for everyone is the logical course of action regardless of the math that both emerge from. In fact, i can't think of any situation or circumstance in which striving for a better world isn't the logical course of action.

                                To put it another way, i may not believe in free-will, but that doesn't stop me from reaching for the Tylenol when i have a headache.

                                Now assuming you agree with me on the logic bit the knowledge that choice is a math equation takes the fuzzy abstract potential of a better world and brings it into sharp focus: Suddenly almost everything is a solvable problem, we just need to get the math right.

                                Imagine it's midnight and you're out sailing with a friend of yours on the ocean when suddenly a huge wave capsizes the boat and the ship sinks. Your friend, the captain, went down with the wreckage and you're all alone treading water. There is no moon, no shore lights, no buoys. You're not versed in celestial cartography, you don't know where north is, you're not in shape, you've been awake for 20 hours singing drinking songs with your long lost captain, you're scared, you're panicking, you're probably going to drown.

                                If you swim north you'll land on a small island beach in a half mile. If you swim any other direction you're going to die from exhaustion in 4 hours.

                                Knowing that everything is an equation is akin to being that swimmer and knowing not only that if you swim north for a half mile you'll find salvation but also being able to see the island.

                                Obviously creating a better world is nowhere near that easy, but the point is that with this knowledge we at least now know which way to turn and we have an idea of how far we have to go. Where before we were lost in the dark with hazardous waters all around us (always a half mile from shore but unaware of it), we now have a north star which not only guides us but illuminates our destination: you start at the individual level breaking the cycles of poverty and violence and work your way forward from there.

                                Believing that free will doesn't exist is not at all incompatible with wanting a better world. If anything the belief shatters the illusion that we could never have one.


                                [I didn't put much time into this reply and i'm sure i could explain it much more comprehensibly and clearly if i had more time to do so, but it's almost 11 and i have to work tomorrow. I hope i succeeded in getting my points across to your satisfaction but if not just challenge me on them and i'll reply.]

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                                  CK20XX (profile), 4 Jan 2015 @ 9:30pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                                  If i'm reading you right you're assuming that because i don't believe in free-will i have to be a nihilist (or some flavor of that type of ideology), which i find illogical. Free-will might not be real, but pain a suffering most certainly are. Wanting to ease both for everyone is the logical course of action regardless of the math that both emerge from.

                                  Well, no, that's not quite right. Like how you don't mean to be disrespectful, I don't mean to pigeonhole you or dictate what you absolutely must believe. It's actually very reassuring to see that you still believe in helping your fellow man, and as long as you're actually doing that, all this fanwank between us is ultimately irrelevant.

                                  Still, your gracious attitude does seem to be at odds with your worldview. You technically can't take action or strive for anything or even want anything when free will doesn't exist. Whether you take steps to help people or not is beyond your control. You're talking about willfully using math and knowledge for problem-solving when you have no will to exercise. You're talking about using freedom of choice to make plans for a better world when such freedom doesn't actually exist. That's why your ideas are fundamentally absurd. You can't have your cake and eat it here.

                                  To be fair though, there may be another reason why the terms are so difficult to work with in discussions like these. Even if math and the signals in our brains make the idea of free will questionable, that doesn't make the concept obsolete. Instead it moves free will to the area occupied by Newtonian physics. A good amount of scientists have gradually come to hate Newtonian physics because for some reason, the laws of physics change at the atomic level. Newtonian physics allowed us to erect buildings and lay infrastructure, but we needed the theory of relativity to get us to the moon. Something seems to be wrong with Newtonian physics somewhere, but we can't just ditch them because they're still valid and useful, to the point that mankind has based its entire society around them. Engineers rely on classical physics to create all the inventions and landmarks that make up our world, much like how we rely on free will to prosecute criminals and encourage people to not waste their lives. Society as we know it would collapse without these concepts.

                                  If all that is true though... then you still need to learn that respect is a dynamic between two people, not something you can take from others.

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                                    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2015 @ 6:23am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                                    Still, your gracious attitude does seem to be at odds with your worldview. You technically can't take action or strive for anything or even want anything when free will doesn't exist. Whether you take steps to help people or not is beyond your control. You're talking about willfully using math and knowledge for problem-solving when you have no will to exercise. You're talking about using freedom of choice to make plans for a better world when such freedom doesn't actually exist. That's why your ideas are fundamentally absurd. You can't have your cake and eat it here.

                                    No, i'm talking about doing something I would have always done had i had this knowledge. I have this knowledge, so i am doing it.

                                    Yes, ultimately whether i help someone or not is beyond my independent control, but my experiences have pushed me toward helping others so i am helping others. Had my experiences pushed me in other directions i would probably be doing something else. My goal is now to push others in the direction of doing the same, and if they do so because of my actions, great!

                                    None of this is an exercise in free will, it's just what would have always happened given my life experience. Change those experiences and the outcome would be different.

                                    much like how we rely on free will to prosecute criminals and encourage people to not waste their lives. Society as we know it would collapse without these concepts.

                                    Society would collapse if we traded punishment for rehabilitation? Working to make better calculations for people’s lives would encourage people to waste them?

                                    If all that is true though... then you still need to learn that respect is a dynamic between two people, not something you can take from others.

                                    Have you ever had a dream, CX20XX, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

                                    You seem to be a big science fiction fan, so let's dig in shall we? The Matrix bent over backward in order to show that choice exists, but no one in those movies ever did anything that they wouldn't have always done. I mean hell, even when i replay it over and over the same stuff always happens.

                                    The allegory is that The One is Christ, and Christianity is all about free-will and our ability to choose our fates. But our fates are not of our choosing as the Matrix itself - and humanity's enslavement to it - illustrates and the writers couldn't reconcile these two concepts so the whole thing is a complete mess. Oh, and love conquers all.

                                    The closest the trilogy ever came to getting it right was in Reloaded when the Oracle told Neo "You've already made the choice, now you must understand it". Neo doesn't understand how he could make a choice before the choice presents itself but the oracle being an oracle understands perfectly well because she can see the future, and the reason she can see the future is because the future is on rails.

                                    Take the 10,000 foot view. Imagine you're an alien scientist with a human being in your laboratory. You administer inputs and you observe the outputs. Eventually you can crack the input output code and manipulate the human into doing or believing just about anything. Now sure, there's a dynamic there, but probably not the one you’re thinking of.

                                    This is the harsh reality of our existence. Like the authors of the Matrix or the followers of Christianity, believing in something deeper because the reality of our condition is not romantic enough for you only makes a mess of things.

                                    Instead, embrace it and use it to everyone's advantage.

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                                    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2015 @ 7:42pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                                    You know it just struck me how ironic it is that we're having this conversation in a thread about SimCity.

                                    I wanted to delve a little more deeply in your last reply, but before I continue there are two things we should probably agree on:

                                    1) Humans absorb information and this information shapes their reality. (If you disagree with this, please provide me with an explanation as to why.)

                                    2) Humans are compelled to act. Whether the reason is because we're wired for survival, or some other factor, humans don't tend to stay in bed from birth to death: They get up and do things.

                                    So with that out of the way:
                                    You're talking about willfully using math and knowledge for problem-solving when you have no will to exercise. You're talking about using freedom of choice to make plans for a better world when such freedom doesn't actually exist. That's why your ideas are fundamentally absurd. You can't have your cake and eat it here.

                                    The answer is simple: free will doesn't exist. There is only will. Allow me to explain.

                                    Imagine that time is a downward slope covered in ice, and we are all slipping and sliding our way into the future. As we careen down we bump into our environment and each other like a pinball bounces around a pinball machine. Each interaction both alters our course and shapes our psyche. In addition, each interaction (or non-interaction as the case may be) prompts a response from us which for the most part we are compelled to oblige (either straight away or sometime further down the slope). The construct of these responses is derived from how our past interactions on the slope have shaped us and how that molding has meshed with our unique genetic makeup. In this way we progress through time willing civilizations into existence or destroying them, but no matter what action we take our "will" is directed entirely by the fusion these four factors:

                                    Time
                                    Environment (seed)
                                    Genetic Makeup (seed)
                                    Action

                                    Once more with feeling:

                                    We don't control time.
                                    We don't control our environment.
                                    We don't control our genetic makeup.
                                    We are compelled to act.

                                    All of these things combine to create will. That will creates civilization and smart phones along with the illusion of free will. We control none of these things. Change the seeds and our will changes along with them. Our will is not free.

                                    SimCity or Dwarf Fortress work in a similar way. You have a seed (or multiple seeds) from which you build a world and a hierarchy of interactions which spawn automatically from that seed. You execute the code and the system slides down the hierarchy following a predetermined path. From the viewer's perspective on the ground level the unfolding interactions might appear to be random and the dwarves might appear to be autonomous: just going wherever their free will takes them. But when taking a wider view it is clear that they are all derived from a set of variables running inside an equation crunching machine. Rerun the simulation again with the same variables and you get the same result. Change them, and the result changes along with them.

                                    Like the dwarfs we are at the ground level and what we see appears to be the random and organic unfolding of time. But pull back the camera far enough though and you will see the foundations and seeds from which every interaction spawns.

                                    In summary, our environment and genetic makeup are the seeds from which all our thoughts and actions spring. Our innate need to act wills action. From all these things predetermined equations are born. Time executes these equations. Free will is a misnomer.

                                    Even if math and the signals in our brains make the idea of free will questionable, that doesn't make the concept obsolete. Instead it moves free will to the area occupied by Newtonian physics. A good amount of scientists have gradually come to hate Newtonian physics because for some reason, the laws of physics change at the atomic level. Newtonian physics allowed us to erect buildings and lay infrastructure, but we needed the theory of relativity to get us to the moon. Something seems to be wrong with Newtonian physics somewhere, but we can't just ditch them because they're still valid and useful, to the point that mankind has based its entire society around them. Engineers rely on classical physics to create all the inventions and landmarks that make up our world...

                                    While the search for a unified theory of everything continues, let me ask you this: What do you think such a theory would tell us about free will? Do you think it would tell us that there is some sort of magical force in the universe that allows our brains to disconnect and rise above the math that runs everything around us? Or would such a theory spell out in heart-wrenching detail the mathematical engine that runs our thought process and dispel any notion of free thinking in the process?

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                                  nasch (profile), 5 Jan 2015 @ 6:09am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...


                                  Knowing that everything is an equation is akin to being that swimmer and knowing not only that if you swim north for a half mile you'll find salvation but also being able to see the island.


                                  Believing that there is no free will does not grant one the knowledge of how to solve any particular problem.

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                    • icon
                      Dark Helmet (profile), 2 Jan 2015 @ 11:35am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                      This comment is, simply, amazing. I LOVE this. I'm also guessing that you either are a fan of Sam Harris, or you in fact ARE Sam Harris.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      John Fenderson (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:52am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                      If you believe there is no such thing as personal choice, then this entire discussion has no purpose.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 8:31am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                        What's funny about this conversation is that if i could simulate it in a computer and run it over and over i could eventually find the right combination of words that could make you think differently about these issues.

                        The movie 'Groundhog Day' illustrates this quite well. Bill goes around figuring out the correct calculations which allow him to manipulate everyone, including getting a girl to fall in love with him. So long as the potential was there, getting anyone to do and think the way he wanted was only a matter of figuring out the correct combination of inputs through trial and error - like opening a safe. Do you imagine it would work differently in real life?

                        Anyway, it's been fun. =)

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          John Fenderson (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:51am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                          "i could eventually find the right combination of words that could make you think differently about these issues."

                          Perhaps, but perhaps you can consider that I have thought deeply about these issues over the course of decades, and early on my thoughts were pretty much in line with what you're saying here. They've become significantly more nuanced as I thought and learned more over time.

                          Perhaps this is the real discrepancy here: that we're talking about something that is filled with nuance and shades of gray as if it were black and white. I don't think that it's accurate to say that our behavior is predetermined and can be computed. I don't think that the idea of a clockwork, mechanical universe is accurate. If we had an infinitely fast, all-knowing computer, I don't think that it could predict the future state of everything in it with 100% accuracy.

                          However, I also don't think that we are insulated from our interactions with the environment, including other people. Of course you can manipulate people to do things they would not otherwise do! But that's not to say we are nothing but programmatic robots, either.

                          I understand the temptation to reference Groundhog Day, but that movie dramatically oversimplifies the whole topic. So, while it's entertaining and provides food for thought, my answer to your question is that yes, I think it would work very, very differently in real life. In real life, every time Bill Murray tried the same action he tried in an earlier loop, the result would not be precisely the same as it was before.

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 10:35am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                            Fair enough. I was hoping to get a thoughtful response from you on this, because it's something that's been rolling around in my head for a long time. I love to hear what people i consider to be insightful think about it. Thank you sir.

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                            • icon
                              John Fenderson (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 2:32pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

                              And thank you as well! I absolutely love these sorts of discussions. Unfortunately, the format of a blog comments section doesn't lend itself very well to them.

                              I did have another thought about Groundhog Day: it actually hints at what I'm saying here. At least one of the townspeople that Murray interacted with had apparently "learned" from his previous loops, and their behavior began to deviate from the routine that had been established, even when Murray did precisely the same thing he'd done before.

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        • icon
          CK20XX (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 7:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: Lots of online games do this...

          I don't think "respect" is the world you're looking for there. What you're describing is the act of taking advantage of one's nostalgia and good will.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 8:04am

    I mourn for these games and their developers before EA got ahold of them. Back when developers such as Maxis & Westwood were alive, you already knew their games were worth your money. It's like watching what George Lucas did to Indiana Jones..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 8:43am

      Re:

      I think this is what hurts my heart about EA more than anything. They bought up truly excellent and trustworthy game companies that made great games and systematically destroyed everything that made them great. It makes it very hard to view EA as anything but a force for the worse in the game world.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        SortingHat, 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:04pm

        95 percent of mobille phone users

        They are an example of why our capitalist consumer society has over used resources and used them inappropriately at that.

        We need a new model based on kindness and not based on monetary greed or if at all possible any kind of monies at all. Either physical or digital.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 30 Dec 2014 @ 8:53am

    Often, there are users gold-mining in games. Here is a games-company gold-mining their users.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DocRailgun, 30 Dec 2014 @ 9:01am

    Browser games

    Micropayments are just the nature of the beast these days. When I get to the point in a game where it's clear that the level designers are making me pay to pass a levek, I just quit playing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 9:34am

      Re: Browser games

      I go one step further: I simply avoid any game that includes micropayments at all. I really like Google Play on this point: every game that does in-app purchases are labelled as such in the description, so I know which ones to avoid without downloading them first.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 10:38am

        Re: Re: Browser games

        It really depends on the Micropayments of the game. Some Micropayments I don't consider a problem. Similar to how League of Legends work. You can play the full game without spending a penny but if you would like to advance quicker or get new units or skins then you have to pay. I have seen similar things in some of the games from the play store.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 12:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: Browser games

          True, it can be done well -- but it almost never is. So, sight unseen, a game that uses in-app purchases is a game that I simply pass on by. 1% of the time, I may miss a great game, but that's a small price to pay for not having my time wasted by the other 99%.

          Micropayments have become a huge red flag indicating the game is likely unacceptable. Not because there's anything wrong with micropayments as a concept, but because they're mostly done is a terrible way.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        SortingHat, 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:02pm

        95 percent of mobille phone users

        This is a good example of capitalism with no limits. Like all good things capitalism started off providing us what we need based on supply/demand but went off track when monolithic corporations were treated as people.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 9:30am

    Kotaku rarely has dumb ideas but when it does, tree dozen sites claim that gamers are worse than hitler... Most of their posts are carefuly designed advertising pieces.

    Why would anyone browse a site that looks like its printed out by a cash register is a bigger wonder than why they make up shit all the time for clicks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 9:33am

    Latest EA game, Dragon Age whateverisition...
    Check their forums, they are pushing for the third "worst company of the year" award.
    They released (forced) a patch right before christmas that makes the game unplayable for a lot of players by overheating the cpu.
    Some would claim Denuvo is involved since it obviously has an impact on cpu usage but who would blame the new DRM? Its not like they kill PC's that often.

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  • identicon
    kallethen, 30 Dec 2014 @ 9:59am

    Sounds like what happened with Dungeon Keeper all over again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 10:57am

    It's actually a Hay Day ripoff

    Many of the gameplay elements in Sim City BuildIt were stolen from the hugely popular Supercell phone game Hay Day.

    Trade Depot works just like the Roadside Stand
    Global Trade HQ works just like the Newspaper Ads
    Cargo Ship Dock works just like the Riverboat
    Building Supply Store, Hardware Store etc. work just like the various Hay Day Shops
    City Storage works just like the Barn/Silo
    City Expansions work just like Hay Day expansions
    etc. etc.

    Here's my sad Sim City 4 story:
    My son used a target gift card he got for his tenth birthday to buy Sim City 4 (which was clearly labeled "Rated E for Everyone Age 10+") and I helped him create an Origin account with his correct birth date. He was actually enjoying the game (having never played the earlier incarnations) until EA removed the game from his account because it's an "age restricted" game.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 11:01am

      Re: It's actually a Hay Day ripoff

      Sorry I guess it was Sim City 5 he bought? Anyhow, he's only ten and swore he'd never buy another EA game.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 12:09pm

    "... if you design your game with the 'extract the most money as possible' frame of mind first and the wants/needs of your fans second ..."

    That's F2P monetisation in a nutshell.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 1:32pm

    Freemium, where the -ium suffix means "not really"

    South Park recently did a great satire piece on micropay games like this. It's well worth watching.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 4:05pm

    My review on Google Play

    A big 'well done' to EA
    SimCity BuildIt is a ^fantastic^ demonstration of why people should stay away from games with in-app purchases.

    You want to know the worst thing? I never even had to download the game to leave the above review, I simply had to start then halt the download process for the option to come up. Simples!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JR, 30 Dec 2014 @ 7:05pm

    Just single user offline SimCity...

    The person I'd like to buy SimCity for just enjoyed the original version and then found out about the restriction that forced users to use the cloud.

    Now that is--I am told--no longer a problem.? Apparently, if one engages in "single user" mode one can "play" without the cloud hassle. (When you have only satellite access, all Internet activities can be problematic.)

    So (I'm sorry to ask such an unsophisticated question) is a single user local (not cloud) SimCity experience worth it (especially considering the full SimCity is available for $20)?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    michaelmerc, 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:08am

    its all about the game play

    I am new to freemium games. i started playing candy crush and clash of clans last month. crush held my interest for a while, but the levels became more about chance and using bonuses, pushing me more towards using realworld money. i dropped it, when it was no longer FUN. clash was fun enough that i didnt mind spending about 60 on it, which is what i would have paid in advance if i had been sure i would like it. (however, since the company collects money from BOTH sides in various wars, selling arms to both, they are arms merchants, with their product inflicting small, real world financial damage, so they are unethical). i will play it until its no longer fun. Simcity buildit, however, is nothing but a pain to play. you are chronically low at all times on various services, and each tiny step forward in the game sets you back as well (congrats, you made the new level! now you have to buy garbage services, which you dont have the simoleons for!). I would forgive them if the game was fun, and playable (if only marginally), but its literally torture, and i deleted it after about 5 days. i loved simcity classic. EA can go to hell.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      hi, 1 Mar 2015 @ 6:24pm

      Re: its all about the game play

      Games need to be hard. Actually, you can't lose in SimCity Buildit. If all your houses are abandoned, WHO CARES! You can still slowly sell your factory items to the random deals and save up money to get your people again.
      However, you can actually lose in the other games, because the buildings have upkeep.
      But I like your advice. "Play until it's no longer fun" If SimCity Buildit was a pain to play, you made the right choice to delete it.
      People need to stop thinking games are super easy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matt, 5 Feb 2015 @ 10:49am

    free game

    I don't know what you were expecting but the game is free upon download. The game that we all love on the computer was played with "real world money" so in essence it's the same thing. This is their way of doing freemium gaming and that means some tho he need to be modified and the games are set up to take advantage of impatient people. If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen or just wait it out. I think the game is awesk.e and well thought out except I'm okay with waiting that's why this game is enjoyable for me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Southpark knows best, 11 Feb 2015 @ 8:01am

    Southpark knows best

    Southpark 18 episode 06 FREEMIUM

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris, 6 Mar 2015 @ 2:08am

    Anyone remmeber SimCitySocial?

    I do - was an interesting and even enjoyable game for Facebook. Then they shut it down due to a horribly mishandled and buggy event that put a lot of people off it, screwing over anyone still playing the game and had ever invested any money into it. With like a month's warning. Once bitten, twice shy - I hope this mobile game goes down the toilet. Who knows? Maybe the company will follow, and people who actually know what they are doing will buy up the IPs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 28 Jul 2015 @ 12:54pm

    Simcity building robbed me blind

    The game was designed to actively extort money from people.iended up bouncing my check book after spending close to 300$ the timer based resource collecting is just a way to extort money on but ea didndt stop there. At level 35 with 400k pop it gets even more expennsive you need keys for specialist buildings such as gambling education with this new update you need keys to build a beach. These keys are earned only once a day with ships and if you want more ships you pay more money. One block of coverage for services such as fire police health. Each build costs anywhere from 30k simolians to 75k simolians. Let's say you finally wasted days collecting resources and all your houses are maxed pop. Oops traffic jams so they leave. BTW 25k for one section of streetcars. At this point anyone would be frustrated and spend cash on sim cash just to have more simolians. Nice scam EA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      SortingHat, 8 Mar 2016 @ 5:56pm

      95 percent of mobille phone users

      Do not give a rip and will do the payments because they don't know any better and think that's how it is.

      They are the ones with government union jobs for protection and full coverage so don't have to work two jobs to make ends meet and will laugh if you suggest there is a recession let alone the beginning stages of a depression.

      Food stamps are the electronic soup kitchens with a line around the block.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SortingHat, 8 Mar 2016 @ 5:54pm

    It's not actually broken

    The mobile Sim City one that is.


    Micro payments is very common on phone games sadly (Need For Speed No Limits Asphalt Racing.etc)
    because that's what people are used to not knowing anything else is out there.

    75 percent of phone users hardly ever if at all touch home computers and skipped over that generation and us who uses them are dinosaurs.

    Big industry wants us dinosaurs to go extinct and will send the next meteor our way.


    On smart phones you don't own anything and pay thru the nose to be granted the privilege to access it as smartphones have very little internal memory and what it has is used up to run the device.

    We are essentially back to peasants and kings where you can't keep anything and have to have permission for every little action. The rich 1 percents feel it's best that way and the world government leaders mainly the UN think it's best for national security reasons.

    Having us all on the cloud will on paper make it hard if not impossible for terrorist organizations to form or be able to start political rallies that will upset the power status quota.

    I refuse to elaborate more for fear of being censored.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:29pm

      Re: It's not actually broken

      smartphones have very little internal memory and what it has is used up to run the device.

      Speak for yourself, that's not the case with my smartphones. If you buy a $50 Chinese phone, well, you get what you pay for.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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