Tag Archives: Jones in the fast lane

The cool kidz

We all heard it, we all are aware of it, yet what makes a kid a ‘cool kid’, what makes a game a ‘cool game’ one would state that this is by public demand, by public indication. Yet what is true indication? What is indication that is not badgered by trolls, by marketing department and their minions? Do you? I certainly don’t. Social media and public opinion are so far apart you can park China between the two views. The views on public request (demand sounded too harsh) and public indication are factors of transparency and as we know social media is many things, transparent is not one of them. And thus we get to the question at the start, what is a ‘cool kid’? You might want to think that this is about kids, but it is not. 

This all started months ago and I was reminded of it today. You see, sometimes we just want to relax and play a game, a mindless game, a simple game and that is how my mind wandered back to 1991 and Sierra-on-Line’s ‘Jones in the fast lane’. I will grant you that the game could use an upgrade, a new view, new names perhaps 1-2 additions, but granted the game was close to perfect. The idea that you can just spend some time chilling playing a simple game is to a lot overwhelming. I thought I was alone, but over time I have seen a whole range of people seemingly desiring a game like this. You see, there is nothing wrong with a lot of games, but it is about the chase, about the achievement, about the hunt. I reckon the only exception was Ubisoft when they gave you the tour of AC Origin with the expansion and all the places to visit (like a beer maker). It was not about running, it as about seeing how much there was in that game and it was awesome. But time have shown us a whole range of games that a players like Google (or Amazon) could add to their systems, but they are all so hung up on replicating what the PS4 and Xbox One already have, why?

In this Nintendo is equally a contender, but they have their own setting of these games and they are doing great. Is that not the larger setting? How come Nintendo blew away Microsoft? Because their games were cooler? Higher resolution? No, the games were what the people wanted and that banked them an annual revenue for 2021 of $16.534B, a 37.34% increase from 2020. Did anyone consider that this is due to more than a really good console? And the additional news is that Nintendo generated approximately 42.6 percent of its gaming software revenue via digital unit sales. You still think I am kidding? Streamers have options, but if everyone looks in the same direction, they all miss out. The idea was that one of my IP could secure  well over 50 million consoles. One source now stated (one I actually trust) is that I was 50% too low with my estimation, and it was not some version of Jones in the fast lane, but it would be unique to streamers and Amazon has the lead as Google decided not to develop its system with software solutions. I am willing to debate this as a mistake of 50% is rather large, but in my favour, it works in my favour, so screw it.

In all this there is the setting of what do the Cool Kids want, but no one is digging on what decides what a cool kid is, and with the Nintendo revenue they all (Sony included) are looking in the wrong direction. They are all mesmerised by public opinion, all whilst no one verifies the transparency of that danger, especially whilst there is no clarity on what public indicators are. Where those indicators are and how they can be tested on the actual population? These are questions, I have no answers here, merely the fact that it needs to happen before Microsoft does something stupid again and pushes everyone in the wrong direction, like lemmings to an abyss. Which would be a shame and in this I sided with Amazon Luna (for the obvious Google reason) If they alter and expand on what they have they could have it all and as soon as the first evidence comes out proving me right everyone will adjust course to get some of the crumbs of that revenue pie, but if I am correct the one taking the lead will remain in the lead and merely cluster more gamers to their side and I expect that this is merely the beginning. 

So lets start again, when did we accept that we needed to have Game X on platform Y because that is what the cool kids want? Consider the definition “Trendsetters, often in reference to hipsters; those worthy of emulation.” How is emulation of a trendsetter based on a 5 year old game a cool kids exercise? Resident Evil 7 (2017), Aragami (2016)? Yes they were good games, but emulation 6 years later? Amazon is as guilty as Google is here and they need to up their game, or change entirely. It is up to them what they do, because Microsoft is casually taking up people hiding behind their Game Pass and when people are in one camp churning them is a lot harder than you think in gaming. Oh, and when you considered to follow some virtual Cool Kid and you learn you are duped, what defence will you rely on? I reckon none at all.

So no matter where you game, as long as it makes you happy that is fine, but I personally believe that gamers are missing out in a few ways and in part it is the lack of broader substance, they all run after another Far Cry, an Elden Ring, or whatever is shouted as ‘the cool game’ and there are plenty that are actually cool, but do you really think that a $109 game is sold less than a year later for $29, because it was supercool, or because it was too buggy for its own good? I let you be the judge of that. 

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Just an idea I had

The Guardian posted an interesting article that I noticed today (the benefits of reading the Guardian online). The article named ‘Yes we should teach our kids about money, but how exactly escapes me‘, is a very nice piece. It is actually something that the Greek government should take a look at. Zoe Williams gives us the subtitle ‘Pocket money, savings, ponies, Muppets and nails – it’s a minefield, especially when your audience is clueless‘, and here I personally disagree. You see, I think that the question has been given to the wrong people (at http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/jan/12/teach-kids-about-money-pockey-money-savings).

So, any app developers take notice, because this article could make you a millionaire!

The quote “miniature bank accounts are brilliant, but not necessarily educational. I use Osper, which is an account for eight-pluses that comes with a card they can use in a cash machine or on the internet” gives us a first insight into the dangers here. Which Zoe shows with the quote that follows “So far, Osper has taught the big ’un that money, with automating top-ups and nobody ever spending it, accumulates as effortlessly as wet leaves in a drain. It also taught him that getting money out of a cashpoint with his own pin is mind-bendingly exciting“.

The one that got the train (the one in my mind) rolling was the quote “most parents just want children to learn the value of money so that they’re not constantly asking for a pony or a Lear jet“, that is where my train went into a station named ‘creative mode’.

You see, I reckon you looked in the wrong direction. I looked at it from another angle. I saw it as a puzzle, a challenge. What is more challenging than a game? You see, kids (adults too), love playing games, more important, they love WINNING games. This is where we see the first test of getting a solution.

What if there is a game that is based on the economy. I am not talking about monopoly. I am talking in the direction of a new version and an online version of ‘Jones in the fast lane‘. The original was decently brilliant, it was made for PC in 1990 and in that game you had to achieve certain amounts of money, happiness, status, and education. In that game there was still the flaw that you could only proceed when you got money, but what if credit cards, debts and events were added? What if debt became an added visible factor?

The player in young and old, would consider the options lost when money was spent. The player would feel the pinch for the credit card. Not as actual debt, but what if debt was shown as decreased time? If debt makes you lost 3 hours a day, what was left? When you get overly in debt and you see that your time is forgone to work, so you get no happiness and no education, how can you win? You would restart making better selection and increasing the choices that show the danger of debt, the danger of no money.

The game Sierra Entertainment created was already well above standard, but it lived by the standards of the 80’s. Now we see that other elements are a part of daily life, which now gives us that this game, if redone, could be an educational tool that could sell on tablets, PC’s and mobile phones with the greatest of ease for a mere $2-$3. I feel certain that it would go to the hearts of parents by the millions! So whomever creates that educational side in a game (not those RPG life click games), but a decent board game will grow a fan base and game solutions tend to go viral on the internet .

So why did I say ‘not those RPG life click games‘? You see, too many games are about looking cool, looking quick and snappy. Interactive it sounds nice, but the board game that JITFL was had a little more, not enough for today’s elements, but it is a massive step in the right direction. Still, a few additional elements should be considered, yet in that light, I feel that the future ‘millionaire-to-be’ should solve a few puzzles so that they can boast that it was THEIR solution, that is fair, is it not?

So, why is my idea so good? Well, I am not sure that it is, but consider the ‘educational’ solutions out there. Instead of trivialising the smaller parts, why not re-focus on the parts that many do not want people to realise. You see time is money, which means that money is time, so what happens when you suddenly need to do it all with 14.6% less time? It sounds so little, yet over 40 hours, it comes to well over half a day. Even on a daily basis it is 3.5 hours less. So, where to get it from? Your working day? Less money, more debts. A second job, or even a third job? This implies a life without free time. You see, through that path, the original Jones in the fast lane shows to be excellent in its origin and could be near perfect with today’s modern complexities. Especially when the prices for rent and education get adjusted. Internet, mobiles, consoles and laptops, all with a partial benefit and all at a cost. When the younger player starts seeing it as a puzzle, they will see that money is part of a solution and a debt is a long term burden.

the lessons that several players want to trivialise, which gets the young saver an insight that banks claim to be instilling on them, yet at Up to 2.85% p.a. they seem to see the benefit of a little gets a little (especially when debts are 15%+), but in that same light, the consequence of the costs of cards are usually not seen in the beginning. So as they reach the age where they have a job and an income there’s an unbalance, a lack of balance on the impact that debts and overspending has. This is the side that is equally ignored. We cannot blame banks here and parents are usually not equipped to let them feel the impact of it. A game is different, to show them the impact that costs have, they understand that no balance means no spending, but until confronted with debt, the impact of interest is usually not comprehended. A game could be elemental in getting the young savers to feel that impact, in a lack of balance in the game and a sliding lack of time.

It is just an idea, it might not be the best idea, but it is not the response Zoe Williams gave us with ‘how exactly escapes me’, there is no fault here, we all often lack that spark and my spark could go nowhere, but the issue remains, the spark Zoe Williams tried to instil on her readers, how can we teach and give insight to the next generation, because in that regard the latest generation got the short end of a stick that came with no explanation, which is what the next generation needs to be protected from, or we will never be able to tackle our burdening economic problems.


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