I bring to you my most pervasive recent addiction. It’s a video game on my phone, Sims BuildIt, and it is insanely addicting. All the Sims games are addicting, because of course they go right to the greedy world-building center of my novelist’s imagination. I learned early on that I could not have any of them on my main writing computers or I’d just go zone right out on games and forget completely about writing for the day. This includes all games these days—any solitaire games, anything like Tetris or Bejeweled (how satisfying to line up all those squares, tidy up the world for a few minutes!) and absolutely no RPGs games or Sims games.
The phone….now the phone is a bit different, right? And I don’t write on my iPad, so I have some games on there. I’m human, and I love games of all kinds, so having a little Catan to pass the time on boring flights or waiting rooms seems harmless enough. Catan exercises the brain, after all, and a person is always in training for the Catan board game extravaganzas I play with my sons and partner on long holiday stretches.
I downloaded BuildIt to my phone a little more than a year ago, not long after it was released. Since then, I have accumulated a population of nearly 800,000 people, and an approval rating of 99%. I don’t inflict earthquakes on my unsuspecting populace. I just build and trade and generate products in my factories, which I then use to raise cash or build new buildings. It takes a lot of juggling, sometimes, which I convince myself is good for my brain (and I actually think it probably is), and there’s some relief in collecting all the needed goods to build something I’ve been waiting awhile to finish.
What does this have to do with writing?
First of all, there are a lot of similarities between creating games and writing, but of course, that’s the danger for writers. [Read more…]