I’ve been playing my DS again. Sorry for all those expecting a blog post about a proper gaming system (Hold on, isn’t the DS a proper gaming system?), but I received a new DS for my birthday, which doesn’t have that annoying issue my old one had, which is that issue with the touch screen being about 1cm off to the left in the centre of the screen and being fine everywhere else (I learnt to compensate for it, but now this DS doesn’t have that issue I’m now off by a centimetre to the right). This now means I can play DS games that require the touch screen properly. So, I now am playing Virtual Villagers. I’d heard of this on the PC, and had played it, but didn’t particularly like it. But I’m really enjoying it on DS. I really don’t know why.
My only explanation is, that as far as I’m concerned, its not a PC game, but it works as a DS game. It seems wrong to stereotype like that, but its true. My PC is where I shoot big aliens, force little men to go into battle and lose my life to Twitter. My DS is where I play with little ponies and Warhammer. I didn’t really enjoy playing Call of Duty on my DS (The fact it was stupid had absolutely nothing to do with it. Honest), but 42 All Time Classics is endlessly entertaining (As is good old Solitaire). I can’t imagine playing 42 on my PC, but CoD would be right at home.
I’m veering off topic here, and I’ve spoken about the DS design before, but you understand my point. Anyhoo, Virtual Villagers seems to be an enjoyable experience. To boil it down to clichés, it basically is a case of ‘Oh god, you hate us! You blew up our island with a volcano!’, ‘Hey look, a new island!’, ‘Ooh, you can be our God!’. With exclamation marks and everything. So you basically spend your time making sure that your villagers survive and have food, shelter and whatever else. It even has puzzles. Apparently. I haven’t found any yet. I’ve just dropped villagers on strange objects until something happened.
Its an interesting game in that its a slow game. It doesn’t hide behind the fact that building houses takes time, and that researching better house types takes even longer. But you don’t care. You exit, and you don’t tell it to freeze time. Then you go play Solitaire (Bloody game) for an hour, and you return to the island, and discover that everyone’s got sick and you have no food (I am exaggerating. Slightly). The trick I found is it leave it with freezing only if you’re certain you’ll replay at some point in the near future. I made that mistake the first time I played it, in which I ended up with only women on my island, meaning that I didn’t get new babies (Can’t think why). Until you sort everything out, get a doctor, a whore (Sorry, parent. What? That’s basically what they do. There’s no love involved, its just sex with a random man) and a farmer, you need to be checking it every half hour.
Its like parenting, but without the problems of a)Money, b)A screaming child and c)A nagging wife (I’m going to get killed for that). You worry about what they do, and the idiocy of the people who you designate as doctors and their uncanny ability to ignore that dying person next to them. Except I’m still coming back like an abused husband to the pretty woman. Its enjoyable sorting out the occasional crisis, and I can’t wait to hit the endgame. If there is one. Give it a try.