I have an idea for a new video game. But first, I would like to began by saying that I am no video game expert. My expansive knowledge of video games includes the original Sonic on Sega, Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and The Legend of Zelda on the ‘85 Nintendo Entertainment System. With that disclaimer, I am sorry if I don’t use the proper lingo.
I want my game to be a mixture of SIMS (or at least what I perceive as SIMS) and some action game located in Manila. I think it is the perfect setting. From what I have seen, there are many obstacles that your character can face without the need for a gun or a knife (that way they can advertise it to children).
The first trial your character must face is getting dressed. Tedious, I know, but it must be done. Will you choose your favorite pair of jeans that you’ll end up sweating profusely in? Or will you choose the linen pants? What about shoes? Well, first you must consider if it looks like rain. Since most of the streets flood due to poor sewage systems, will you want to destroy your favorite pair of leather sandals; be dangerous and wear rubber flip-flops (this means you risk getting cut by glass); or would you rather slop around in soaking tennis? Either way, you’ll feel the unsettling warm gritty water as you trudge to your destination (just tell yourself it’s warm because it’s hot here). Next is your top. No matter what you choose you are bound to look disheveled by the end of the day with huge sweat marks covering your back, armpits, and random bits that got caught in your stomach folds. These are important choices since it will affect your character’s life points as the sun rises and the humidity increases.
The next challenge would be transportation. Of course your character will be fit. No six-pack needed, just determination and a set of eyes. Walking would be the least expensive mode of transportation. He/she will be entranced by the way the impoverished live, but watch out for the uneven side walk (some large pieces tend to go missing). Understandably, life points will be deducted for stubbed toes and scraped knees. Another popular mode of transportation is the LRT, the metro. Unlike the one in Taiwan, the LRT is made of up three different lines, each requiring their own different coloured card. Someone with a time restraint or personal space issues, should discard the LRT and instead choose one of the various taxis. There are large taxis, small taxis, bright taxis, and dull taxis. All of which, will take you to your destination in a reasonable amount of time, but golden coins will be deducted.
What about the health of your character? Well, this would be divided into two parts: mental health and physical health. Choosing what your character will eat is important. You earn life points by selecting local foods such as the different meats (varieties of fish, and ‘different’ parts of the pig/cow), or eating from the amazing selection of fruit. If your character can successfully consume Balut, then he/she will receive 1up. However, globalization does exist in Manila. Points as well as a substantial portion of gold coins will be deducted if your character chooses McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, Starbucks, Greenwich, Jollibee, etc. Oh, let’s not forget hydration. There must be a hydration meter. Make sure you continually watch the meter, it will affect how fast one can get across town.
Maintaining mental health points is the hardest task your character will have to face. Can he/she handle the unabashed poverty seen everywhere? Will he/she get frustrated, wasting time and energy cursing those in power that have creating the cyclical poor? Will the images of the gaunt faced grandmother licking her stick-like fingers as she passed a donut to her granddaughter or the naked child sleeping face-down as a fly played in the blood from a scab on the child’s lower back haunt his/her sleepless nights? How will he/she respond to the endless piles of trash? Will he/she spout off philosophies of development then later throw trash in the street? Or will he/she wait to find the only trash can within seven blocks to “properly” dispose of his/her waste? Finally, how will your character react to the children living in the streets? Will he/she donate coins to a child, only to realize that he/she is now surrounded by other exploited children with the same pleading look?
Well, you may be wondering how do you win. Basically, each level is a race against time. To continue to the next level you must complete a number of tasks in a certain part of town. However everything must be completed by 10pm lest you find yourself locked out of your local residence and sleeping on the streets with no weapons (Now that I think about it, perhaps that means you automatically “die” if you don’t make it back in time since this is a weapon-free game).
Wondering if scaling residential gates armed with barbed wire, or making your way through shanty towns will not be captivating enough to hold your interest? Don’t worry, there are so many different socio-economic sections of Manila that it should entertain you or your child for weeks.
I think the quote I chose a few hours earlier explains my feelings left over from my previous visit in Taiwan. “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it. ” As I remember, the distinct smells of Taiwan teeter on the edge of tolerable and down right pungent. I am going to go out on a limb and suppose that the Philippines’ odors will equally be driven into my memory after this adventure.
I recall the potent smells, the vibrant colors, the full metros (as well as no drinks on the metros. I learned my lesson), dry throats, and food that needed a well-adapted palate. To some extent this is what I expect from Taiwan. As for the Philippines, I have no cultural/architectural (maybe Spanish influence?)/communication references except stories of poverty. So that will be fun.
I expect to be tired, and hungry once I get off of the plane, which will be immediately followed by a heat-stroke due to the intense temperature and humidity. Hopefully after recovering and slowly re-learning my way around, I can indulge in some interviews. I am slightly terrified of the interview aspect because I have no clue what to expect. For instance, this image keeps on reoccurring in my head, where the interviewee is telling this traumatic story that Oprah would revel in, and there I am either a) bursting into tears right along with the interviewee, grabbing a box of tissues for the both of us or b) just staring at her with a frozen look of terror on my face. Clearly, neither is professional, but both are highly probable.
I am also not looking forward to the food; however, I promise to be adventurous. I expect the fruit and seafood to be AMAZING. I will truly be disheartened and famished if that is not so.
Lastly, I expect to go and come back all in one piece along with all my belongings that are also expected to make it back. I know this is wishful thinking, but I have heard positive thinking can make things come true.