I play this game called Pharaoh which is kind of like ancient Egyptian SimCity. You don’t need to know a lot about it other than that a) it kicks ass, and b) the whole point of the game is to build graceful, productive towns that allow evolution and harmonize with the world at large. (As an aside, it must be noted that I love the run-on sentences today. Man.) I’ve spent literal years of my life struggling with this game, laying out whole towns only to realize that oh, no! My areas of industry are too far from my worker base! (Otherwise known as, Alas! My city is ugly and hated by all the other cities and now the Pharaoh is attacking me OH SHIT DELETE DELETE!)My friend Clay started playing the game a few years ago too, and he — being one of those guys who can discuss the flow of trade between Indonesia and Australia for about nine hours — immediately made a roaring success of it. His cities were pretty, his trade flowed like a river, the whole goshdarn Egyptian kingdom loved him, and I think now he’s been made an honorary Pharaoh in real Egypt. He just understood what it took to build a civilization, and he took the time to think things through. I was always a fan of the “throw some houses and industries up as quickly as possible, panic when they don’t immediately make money, and make nine million more, thereby ensuring that my whole city will consist of slums and also I will have just invented government debt 2,000 years early” method.(See? Run-ons. I tell you what.)
I have this parallel in my head right now, and since it will not leave, I thought I’d share it with you. Are you ready? Okay. Here it is. I’m going to go ahead and demand that you marvel at my brilliance right now:
Clay’s cities? They’re Europe. And Australia. And pretty much any place in the world that works, is mostly okay, and isn’t feared and loathed by the rest of the world and/or its own citizens. Guess what my cities are?
… Go on, guess. I’ll just leave y’all with that. (And with the marvelling. MARVEL, I SAY, MARVEL!)
Okay, not really. I do feel like my whole country is just one big, poorly thought-out game of Pharaoh, though. It just feels like somebody somewhere is going, “Oh, shit. They hate me. There aren’t any jobs. The schools suck. Shit, shit, shit! What do I do? I know, I’ll just put in some corn farms and import some ham. That oughta do it.”