It’s not cruel, it’s.. ‘playful’

typed for your pleasure on 26 July 2006, at 11.39 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Manha de Carnaval’ by Claudine Longet

Have you seen adverts for that VisitorVille thing? It looks kinda engrossing. More engrossing than it probably needs to be.

VisitorVille takes a revolutionary visual approach to web analytics. VisitorVille makes data mining simple and accurate, easily performing tasks that are impossible to accomplish using traditional (and dreadfully boring) web analytics solutions.

What makes VisitorVille unique is immediately clear: VisitorVille does not represent website visitors simply as numbers or graphs, but as real people in a real environment. You can monitor your site traffic as if you were people-watching in a big city.

Visually it’s like the Sims, wherein you have wee people representing your site’s visitors, walking round in cities that represent your site, inside buildings that represent your site’s pages. Sometimes you’ll see buses representing search engines transporting said visitors hither and yon. I gotta say, it’s pretty innovative, but for a site stat junkie like myself, it’s such a bad idea.

I used to have a copy of the first Sims game on my old computer; I had two families, the Goths, which, if I’m not mistaken, was a default name for a couple of the character archetypes, and the Montags, who I’d actually made into Goths — well, as much as the first Sims game would allow. Over the course of my playing career, I’d discovered the cheat for making as much Simoleons as you wanted, so both families had these giant ostentatious homes that had all mod cons, needless to say.
When I realised I was wasting far too much time micromanaging their lives, one day I had the Montags, who were a couple, invite the Goths, who were a couple with a preteen daughter, round for a party, or whatever Sims do. I assembled them in a room to the size of a bedroom, and removed all the doors. Then I replaced most of the walls with floor-to-ceiling windows, and on the remaining wall space, I hung that lovely clown painting that Sims tend to find unsettling. I then added a hi-fi system, which I had constantly blaring country music at an elevated volume. Eventually my Sims wanted to listen to something different, so one would occasionally walk over and change the station. After observing the Goth’s daughter change it several times, I decided to set up a fence round the stereo.

As the subjugation party continued, more and more piles of rubbish started accumulating, which made my Sims more and more unhappy, and after three Sim hours, every member of the group had soiled themselves at least once, as I’d built no bathroom. Also, since they were falling asleep standing up, I’d graciously put a coffee maker in the room to keep them awake (what, the country music wasn’t doing that by itself?), which naturally caused more ‘accidents’.

As you can well imagine, everyone’s moods were well into the red, and I began to feel sorry for them, as I realised they hadn’t eaten in several hours. So I graciously gave them a gas grill, and selected the person least capable of cooking to make barbeque for the party. Ruh-roh!
It only took two minutes for the first of the fires to start, if memory serves me right. The entire house went up in flames, but thankfully, everyone in the room burned to death long before that happened. The party, from pleasant start to immolated finish, took about three hours of my time; after which, I uninstalled the game, and haven’t played it since.

A quick whirl on Google shows I wasn’t the only sadist, which isn’t too surprising. Now I need to find those screenshots I took..

So yeah, VisitorVille! I’m quite sure it’s pyromaniac-proof, but… wouldn’t it be a tragedy if it weren’t?

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

National Winter Hibernation NOW! / Overdue culling on January 18th, 2009

Yes, ubernyms on February 3rd, 2007

6 have spoken to “It’s not cruel, it’s.. ‘playful’”

  1. PBShelley writes:

    Huh! YOUR Sims experience was remarkably like my own! You’d figure brick houses wouldn’t burn, but they DO make such lovely ovens 😛

    Yes, Bella Goth was her name, a real cutie, while she lasted. I had a few families going, and (of course) made Lily and Eden as roommates LOL (I’ve been working on this story for a loooong time :-P)

    You REALLY needed that Simoleons cheat to really have fun though LOL

    *sighs wistfully* Ahhh.. the good ole days o.O

    PBS & the Godwin family

  2. Zip Gun writes:

    That VisitorVille thing looks so freaking cool. I hate looking at my site stats, because the shit makes no sense to me, but this makes it all pretty and stuff. Neato.

    As for the Sims, who DIDN’T abuse their Sims at some point? Absolute power, etc

  3. SafeTinspector writes:

    Never played sims. Once played Fortune Builder.

  4. Davecat writes:

    Was Fortune builder anything like Populous?
    You’ve got your own family to take care of — I don’t fault you for not playing The Sims, as it’s a black hole for free time..

    Zip Gun
    Do you use SiteMeter for your statly needs? Checking your stats with it is pretty straightforward, although it lacks VisitorVille’s virtual landscape..
    And I recall when you yourself first got The Sims, you were having a bastard of a time with that one family and the Haunted Pool — people get in, and they keep swimming until they die. ‘O, you have to put a ladder in the pool so they can leave!’ Good lord, that’s some shitty A.I. Like with the fencing I’d put up round the stereo during my experiments? It was only as tall as a Sims knees. Fucking climb over that shit, you imbeciles!
    O well. Their lack of developmental training was my gain..

    PBS –
    Hopefully Sim Lily and Sim Eden escaped The Great Immolation.
    So were they roommates, or were they.. sexy roommates? 😉

  5. PBShelley writes:

    Greets DC & the exquisite Sidoree,

    Lily was innocent of course, but Eden had lots of um… er, “friends” let’s say. Their house got awfully crowded after awhile, and Lily had trouble finding the bathroom, EVEN THOUGH I PLANTED ONE NEXT TO HER BED!

    Good fun.

    PBS & traumatised Lily & frisky Eden, who gave Bella Goth a run for her money and bought her snooty house LOL

  6. SafeTinspector writes:

    Fortune Builder is more like Sim City, I suppose. Its very old, and it may be the inspiration for Sim City for all I know. I wrote a review for it once:
    GameFAQ: Fortune Builder

    More investment based than civics based than Sim City, though. Which is why it came ot mind when I read your story.

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