So, i’ve been pretty obsessed with a game on my Surface since just before Christmas. It is called Nemo’s Reef. (see links below on the three major platforms)
It’s pretty much Command & Conquer without the fighting. You are Nemo living in the Reef with your dad Marlin and you have to build a home for you and your friends. Not really that complicated. Obviously there are loads of things that you can do that either take time or real money (like most of these games tend to do these days)
No, this isn’t just a post about the game and how to get that elusive white seahorse! (For that, just google and you’ll get a bunch of cheat sites!) I was just struck this morning about how, even within the confines of an artificial game, it was easy to find a lesson on sustainability and greed. The game works on these things called Sand Dollars and Algae. Basically most of the friends and the plants that live in your Reef eat the algae and take Sand Dollars to purchase. The more “rare” plants you purchase, the more “rare” fish you attract and some of them bring pearls, which are worth much more again.
I had been happily playing for a few weeks and, must admit, got thoroughly hooked on it. I even spent some REAL money on some pearls to advance my game faster. Then I realised this morning, if I cleared out ALL the “pretty” plants that had been placed by the initial game AI and just planted rows upon rows of the plants that produce my sand dollars and algae, I would have a busy little production factory going on and wouldn’t need to spend any more real money on a game…as I was doing this, I was struck with a real life similarity.
I only had a limited amount of reef space, why would I fill it up with useless crops when I could maximise the space with hundreds of plants that yield the crop that earns me money. The problem, of course, is that while I am playing a game and there are no real life consequences to filling my reef with only two types of plants, a cocoa farmer, for example, has real life consequences. As the cocoa crop will yield them the most money (selling to a multinational), then there is “no room” for vegetables and other food for local markets. So then, ironically, up to 80 percent of the starving people in the world are farmers*.
There’s some food for thought.
* see Oxfam link below