My son installed a mobile game called bitlife. It sounds fun and I decided to give it a try. The game is strangely addictive due to the surprise element. It is only strangely educative for its 17+ ranking.
To play or not?
This game is addictive and different. It is probably not for kids, but grownups can play. The game will make you think about stuff you took for granted. So I think it is a creativity tool, rather than anything else… And if you need some visualization practice, you have a lot of very detailed descriptions.
Can we win the game of life?
All of us have just one life. That’s it. Whatever we do, it stays with us one way or another. We can only wonder what our life could look like if we made a different choice. Physical reincarnation is a religious belief. Actors play as if they live multiple lives, and this is often the best thing in their careers. What should the rest of us do?
No fear! Life simulators come to help. There are multiple simulators of various ages. Something like SecondLife is not THAT different from real life: you can live only one existence per account. Bitlife offers something different: you can reincarnate into your own child and live life through them.
Each generation can try different things, and as long as you have a child you can reincarnate preserving many assets. The game has a very detailed and complex set of events and possible outcomes, so the graphics are less important,
My first life
The gameplay asks players to invest money, time, or attention in different decisions, and see how they play out.
In the game, I was born in Kenya to Jewish parents. I was a good child interested in sports and music, but somewhat ugly. In the university, I focused on political subjects and later became a politician. My finances went sour due to some personal issues, so I took a bribe and was discharged. I applied for a lottery and won some money, and then walking down the street I was hit by lightning and died aged 34.
The lightning came out of nowhere. It is just a random event. It messes up with your stats and it also can kill you. I did not know it even existed in the game! Imagine my surprise! I guess this is the main gamification tool here…
How can you compare one life to another? The game offers several options.
- Longevity. If you die you kind of lose. And everybody dies. Only some live 120 years…
- Bank stats and net worth. This is not a personal success, but a family success over generations.
- Visible stats. Fame, happiness, intelligence, physical health, beauty… Keep them high… Do not get in trouble, or the stats will go down…
- Hidden stats. Occasionally when meditating you can see the game spitting out your karma, discipline, or willpower.
- Epitaph. When you finally die, you see some summary of your life, with stats of happiness and karma when you died.
The stats in the game are interconnected. Health boost beauty over time, beauty facilitates fame, fame brings in money, and money will improve longevity. I think they are also interconnected in real life, only in real-life learning is the driving power.
How to get rich in the game
Just like in real life, the game is significantly easier if you have tons of money. You can buy nice things, go to good doctors, have access to a good lawyer, and even bribe cops. When every party can make you an alcoholic and rehab hardly ever works, DUI in the game is a real issue and jail can be tough.
So there are several ways to get rich in the game:
- Marry into money. My character was a 20 years old Russian convict with no prospects. He illegally immigrated to Denmark and married a rich lady 20 years younger. He took flying lessons and died (surprise!), so he could relive life through his daughter.
- Be famous. The game offers careers in music, acting, politics, sports… If you are a man born in US, you can go into professional baseball and then become MVP and earn hundreds of millions of dollars. Otherwise, if you are a lady, you can learn music and become a famous singer, with an income of several million per year.
- Buy houses, keep them in your family for decades, and then sell them. The houses often go up x10 per generation. It is very important to edit your will to the child that you want to become.
Does it work this way in real life? Hell no. Your best chance to get rich is to get a decent job, and invest surplus earnings in ETFs . Clearly, other people will argue for other methods. Your chances of a career in professional sports in real life a slim to none. But this is a game where everything can happen.
In the game, anything can kill you. You can complain about your 8-years-old sister and she can fire an AK47 at you. With old age, your chances of dying only increase. The leaderboards are full of people who lived above 120 years. How did they achieve this? They played smart AND got lucky.
Even if all of your choices are right, you still have a small chance of dying. For example, your pet animal can kill you. Clearly, the chances of being decapitated by a gorilla are relatively high in the game. If you are in the military, you literally play minesweeper and if you did not guess the square you can be blown to pieces or severely disfigured.
Yet even if you go on a diet, work low health jobs, avoid confrontations and invest in relationships, you can get sick. And not always the best doctors will have a cure for your condition. Crossing the 80 years longevity deadline is an issue of making the right choices. Crossing the 100 years limitation also requires a lot of luck.
Real-life is much more forgiving to our bad choices. One of my avatars was a baseball star. He had to perform an important game with a broken finger. So the coach offered him Vicodin. He became an addict, and soon after died from Vicodin poisoning. Ouch…
One of the best things in the game is passing money and property from one generation to another. Notice that housing properties easily go up x10 between generations. This can cause issues, since one sibling may get housing properties and financial debt of multiple millions, while another may get all the money but no properties. And your spouse will divorce you if you try to sell the property. Fortunately, real life does not work this way. At least I do not think it does.
In the game, you also can discover heirlooms once a day, and you can pass them on to the next generation. For example, my character once had a Stradivarius violin. The best thing you can do with a multimillion heirloom is giving it to charity. This is a way of earning an achievement and karma. Otherwise, you can sell it. If you keep it in your family, your friends will ask to borrow it for their study and may eventually destroy it.
Country by birth or emigration
The game is very detailed with respect to specific countries. Not all countries have monarchies. Tax rates are country-specific. Definitely, salaries are country-specific. You cannot be on a good sports team if you are in a country that does not promote specific sports…
In the game, USA offers more opportunities than other countries, and yet Monaco has some advantages being tax heaven with royalty. But these issues are for rich and famous.
If you work a regular job, the situation is different. You may enjoy the free education and medical care of some European countries like Denmark. At the same time, if you are unlucky enough to be born in Afganistan, your life expectancy will be shorter and you should consider a career in crime.
Why I am really not sure it is a game for my kid
The game is 17+ rated. A career in crime is a high-risk high-profit legitimate choice. Partners often betray each other. Coworkers will occasionally do something improper and disgusting. The threats of bribes, drugs, and sex are everywhere. This is a game after all… It is very detailed, even though not very graphical.
What will a child learn from this? Invest in music and sports as a young, or sleep with the boss to get a promotion?
And then even the best and most detailed strategy may fail. A billionaire can buy an old pirate ship and sink with the ship. Happened to my character in the game. Does this happen to the real billionaires? Well, one of the Rockefellers was probably eaten by cannibals. So this is possible.
To play or not?
This game is addictive and different. Treat everything in it with a smile…