I’m thinking more about Virtual Villagers. It’s obvious that this is a cute, low-key game, with a lighthearted tone and very simple mechanics. Nevertheless, the obsessive Sim player inside of me can’t help tearing this thing apart and looking at it as an approximation of real-world behaviors. Which leads to the following observations…
One crazy aspect of the game is procreation, or (as the game puts it) breeding. You have to make them do it. If left alone, the villagers would never get busy, and would eventually die out. When you want them to reproduce, you grab one villager and drag them onto a villager of the opposite sex. They may reject the suggested union, in which case they run away from each other. This is no big deal, since it’s just based on a dice roll and you can keep trying until they click. Once they accept, they will head over to one particular hut and go inside for a few minutes. The hut is very small, but can be used by any number of couples at the same time. For some reason, they leave the door open. (Not that you can see in, it’s all black inside, but still.)
|To the left is the “research table”. On the right is the food bin. Just above that is the nookie hut, with the door that never closes.|
If a pregancy ensues, the female will walk back out with a baby in her arms (if only it were that easy!) and will spend the next two years (about two hours of game time) caring for the child, unable to do any other work.
One odd thing about this is that neither gender will breed before age 18. Now, I understand why nobody would want to make a game that portrays underage teens mating, but this still bugs me when I’m playing. In a primitive society, you can’t afford to wait around that long. Life is short. You need to start having kids as soon as possible, and keep at it until menopause if you don’t want to go extinct.
As careful as the game is with underage procreation, it cares nothing at all about incest. It doesn’t keep track of who is related to whom, and any two people of opposite genders can attempt to have kids if they are over 18.
So what we have is a game that refuses to allow mating between people under 18, but has no problem with lots of immediate family members all mating in the same tiny hut at once. With the door open. Ew.
I think this is one of those aspects of the game you aren’t supposed to think about too much. I guess I just did.
|Because I’m in a hurry, I usually pair up the villagers arbitrarilly and send them to mate en masse. Here several women emerge from the nookie hut with new babies.|
Anyway, the fact that women leave the workforce for two years whenever they get pregnant has direct gameplay consequences. If you are very stupid and make your women farmers and your men do all the other stuff, then when someone gets pregnant you will suffer a drop in food production. Depending on your tech level, this can be really dangerous.
WAY back in 2005, I wrote about a D&D campaign I was running. The campaign is still there, in the bottom-most strata of the archives.
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