Saturday, July 17, 2010

Virtual Villagers pass life stoically

Despite my rant about Facebook games, I've recently started playing Virtual Villagers, which was developed by a friend of mine.  It's kind of a cross between Black and White 2 and Mafia Wars, so you have to wait 5 minutes for a point of energy to make your villagers do anything.  To be fair, they do some things on their own, and important tasks, like gathering food, don't cost energy.  One of the things you can 'suggest' to your villagers, although the benefits have yet to be made clear to me, is that they should 'discuss' having children in the 'love shack'.  Yeah.

So, the love shack having been recently completed, I figured my villagers would be keen to try it out.  Pop a guy on a girl, she runs off to the love shack while he... takes a stroll down the beach, fluttering with love hearts.  Um, okay.  Moments later, she emerges with an infant cradled in her arms.  Oh my.

This made her essentially useless for any other task I threw her at.  A brief text message popped up : "Adding villager failed."  There was no way to check what the game meant, or to ask it why, it had merely 'failed'.  She still continued to carry the baby around, though, cooing at it occasionally.  Thinking she and her partner might have been genetically incompatible (maybe too complex for a Facebook game, but you never know), I tried putting the other girl with the other guy.  She flat out shook her head, and he wandered off to chop wood, presumably to combat his humiliation and release his manly, pent-up rage.  I left them to it.

When I came back 6 hours later, since I was a nong and left Facebook open while I did my weekend-ly chores, the first girl was still carrying the infant around. If it only took her a moment to fall pregnant, I kind of assumed the kid would be into motorbikes and the other girl by now.  But, no, she was still coddling her little bundle of joy, adding nothing to society.  Sigh.

Then I decided to visit the island of one of my friends.  Again, the benefits of this have not been made clear to me but, nevertheless, when a tooltip tells you to do something, you do it.  When I came back to my own village, the baby was gone.

"Ino," I asked her, for surely this was her randomly generated name, "where is your child?"  She responded by beginning to chop down a tree, then getting bored, and standing in front of the hammock, idly waving from side to side.  Unsure whether it was delirium, grief or possibly blood loss, I let her be, until she moved over to the berry bushes and started dancing.  What the hell?

I came back an hour later to find my villagers had deforested most of the available nearby land.  I'm not even sure why, since they don't seem to be doing anything with it.  Ino seemed as happy as anyone else, completely oblivious to the mystery disappearance of her child.  This strikes me as very sad, least of all for two reasons:

1) She didn't want it in the first place, and so my 'suggesting' they 'discuss' having children was about as welcome as an incontinent cat on satin bedsheets, and 

2) She either 'disposed of' the child, or didn't know how to care for it (her main stat is in farming, after all) and is subsequently either deliriously happy she no longer has the responsibility, or deliriously sad, and has entered a state of denial.  I imagine that, if she were in a state of denial, she would walk around with an imaginary baby cuddled to her side instead, so I can only assume she's quite happy to be free, actually.

Apparently if I build another house, I will be able to have more villagers, e.g. add more children.  Unfortunately, given Ino's disregard for human life, I'm not sure it's the kind of society I want to bring children up in.  I did, however, wind up with at least one amusing image of a villager who stood still for too long : 

It seems the devil does make work for idle hands.

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