Monday, September 10, 2012

Things games haven't touched: how to get pregnant, mysterious illnesses, and housekeeping.

Blogs of the Round Table, or BoRT, is back. Part of the topic this month is about what subjects games haven't explored and what they should focus on.

One thing games do well is simulation. I can grow a garden in Cultivation and maintain a dam in The Best Dam Simulation Ever. These are complex situations with multiple variables. I think the same technology could be applied to help women learn about their fertility cycles.

This sounds weird, but stick with me. I've been trying to get pregnant for a year and finally stumbled upon the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which discusses how a woman's waking temperature and cervical mucus can indicate if she's fertile or not (I discuss it in gruesome detail over on my non-gaming blog). There are a couple of different hormones that contribute to things. And knowing about how these variables are connected can help women understand when they can get pregnant or if they have emotional patterns associated with these variables. Do you see where I'm going with this? It seems like the perfect setup for a simulation! Easy mode could have completely typical hormone levels and simple goals like conception or avoiding conception, while more difficult ones could involve weird illnesses or thyroid disorders.

There are a lot of other topics I find would be good subjects for videogames. The game TRAUMA looks at a woman's experience with some kind of, well, trauma. It's one thing to have a sickness that doctors can identify and treat, but quite another to have real symptoms but no diagnoses. Wouldn't it be interesting to play a game in the shoes of someone who suffers from Fibromyalgia, and feel the frustration of not knowing what your body will throw at you next? I suppose that doesn't sound very fun, but I feel like games have such a potential for us to understand minority or simply unusual circumstances that I'm surprised there aren't more autobiographical games like dys4ia.

Another type of simulation I'd love to see is a relationship simulation with a significant other--someone your character is committed to and has already courted, and preferably they live in the same space. It could even be a roommate I guess. And then figuring out how to resolve various conflicts, like whether or not you want to kill the invading mice or who does the dishes or what kind of budget you have (basically housekeeping things). It just seems like the logical continuation after Princess Maker 2 or any game that ends with your character getting married.

I keep dreaming of a simulation game that involves all these things, but I recognize that I don't yet have the skill to implement it. I know game journalists wanting to make games is kind of cliche, but I'm definitely curious. And studying Python. :-)