Opinion page by Duane Alan Hahn, a.k.a. Random Terrain.
Page Table of Contents
When an item has an assigned place where it should be stored and it's put back there every time, people will always know where it is if they need it in a hurry. You can't lose it if you always put it where it belongs. There's also no clutter to trip over when everything is put where it's supposed to go.
Your game could show how needed objects might get lost if they're not put away. Another idea would be to show how clutter can slow down the player. When objects are put back after they are used, the player can move twice as fast since the playfield isn't cluttered with objects.
A lot of people sit around dreaming about something they'd like to do, but they never get up and do something about it. Showing up and starting down the path to the goal is more than a lot of people do. It doesn't guarantee success, but it gets a person closer than other people who are just sitting on their hands.
Your game could show how just showing up means that the player is 80 percent more likely to succeed. For example, in a tribal simulation game where NPCs are hunting, fishing, fighting and so on, if the player shows up to participate in one of those activities, there is a much greater chance of success. So if the player's tribe is low on food and OK in other areas, the player would be smart to focus on a food activity.
It's harder to get the ball rolling when it's at rest since objects tend to "keep on doing what they're doing." Once the ball is rolling, momentum makes it harder to stop. For example, just showing up, starting a project, and working on that project a little bit every day creates momentum and it should become increasingly easier to finish that project. Starting is where the magic begins. Sitting around waiting for inspiration usually leads to more sitting around.
Your game could show that success is like a campfire that needs to be fed regularly or the fire will go out. In a business simulation, money must be spent on advertizing so the public won't forget about the product or service.
Deal with a problem early before it gets too large to handle. For example, a small dragon is easier to kill than a full-grown dragon that is larger than a bus.
There are many ways that your game could use this concept. The player could destroy a robot replicator before there are too many evil robots to deal with. Another idea could be that fixing an item would be quicker and easier than letting the damage go too far until the item is unfixably broken and needs to be replaced. Replacing the item would cost more and waste a lot more time than fixing it.
In a game, this could be merged with 'nip it in the bud' to get rid of the weakest items or parts before the whole 'chain' fails.
Sure, it means "don't procrastinate" but you can go further and say "maintenance is preparation for the unexpected." You can't wait until the last second to fix everything because there's not enough time. For example, if you do a small amount of work every day to keep your house clean and tidy, you won't need to run around trying to clean and put things away when unexpected visitors arrive (becoming irritated and embarrassed that you couldn't get it all done). In a game, the player could learn that taking care of things before they pile up and become unmanageable is the way to go.
One person doesn't have to lose for another person to win. The success of others will provide opportunities that can help everyone succeed.
Your game could show how cooperation can be better than cutthroat competition. Check out the cooperative games at Amazon for inspiration.
When you stick your nose into other people's business and try to help, it can feel like you hit a wasps' nest with a baseball bat. The Prime Directive isn't just for Star Trek.
Your game could show how helping someone is a good idea, but only when asked for. Rushing in uninvited to help someone is service to self, not service to others. Helping without consent is imposing your will. It's forcing your control over others.
A good or bad action is like a stone thrown into the center of a small pond. The ripple will go out, then eventually bounce back to the spot where the stone hit the water.
Your game could show that the ripples from invited helping and other good deeds bounce back and benefit the player. Ripples from bad deeds bounce back and damage the player.
Although big risks can bring big rewards, if you get greedy and go for those ‘two birds,’ you could lose the bird or points or treasure you already have and end up with nothing. Play it safe or risk everything is a nice dilemma that is in many video games.
You'll miss an opportunity if you wait too long. You want to be patient and wait until the time is right, but as soon as the time is right, you better make hay while the sun shines.
This could also be called "don't slow down or celebrate until you reach the end zone or the finish line." This has happened in all kinds of sports, including American football. A guy will slow down and start celebrating as soon as he thinks he's about to reach the end zone, then he'll get tackled or the ball will get knocked out of his hand. Goodbye touchdown. Slowing down, showboating, strutting, dancing, fist pumping, and so on before the task has been completed is usually a sign that the person is an egomaniac or an idiot or both.
Your game could show that success is more likely if the player stays on his or her toes. Anything can happen between the player's current position and the goal, so he or she needs to pay attention.
Don't tempt people. Keep your stuff locked up and out of view or even a saint might be tempted to steal from you.
Your game could show that items can be stolen if the player is reckless.
Be vigilant and deal with time limits and avoid atrophy. This can apply to exercising your muscles and your brain. It can also apply to many other things such as practicing a skill, avoiding long-term storage of machines, taking a paid vacation within a certain time period, using food before it expires, and so on.
Your game could show that certain objects have expiration dates or that there is often a window of time when something can be done. If the player misses an opportunity, another opportunity may appear, but it may not be as good.
Global development requires paved roads, mobility, education, access to jobs and services, access to clean water, food, plumbing, and electricity. In a game about societies, the player could improve impoverished areas and Third World countries by building paved roads and making sure that citizens can get clean water and food. The addition of plumbing, electricity, education, emergency services and so on would improve things even more.
I can't find a good idiom or saying for this one, so I made my own. If you use up a resource that is necessary for your survival, you're probably going to die. For example, if your tribe depends on the fish in a lake to survive and overfishing would deplete the supply, preservation of resources becomes important. Sustainable fishing makes sure your tribe will always have fish to eat. If you don't protect your resources and decide to gobble up everything for a quick temporary gain, everyone loses.
Your game could show how overuse of certain renewable resources can lead to starvation or other problems.
I can't find a saying for this one either. Below is a list of unwise multitasking where both jobs end up being poorly done or taking longer than they should:
Wise multitasking is putting clothing in the washer or dryer or putting food in the oven, then doing shorter jobs while you wait. Some people unwisely do the shorter jobs first, then start the washer, dryer, oven, or whatever it is that takes a long time without needing their attention. It's inefficient. The time they needlessly waste could be spent on more enjoyable activities. A game could be made to teach that shorter jobs can be done while waiting for longer jobs to be finished. Below is a list of wise multitasking:
Cleaning a mess while it's fresh can save a lot of time and energy. For example, if you are cooking and get sauce or gravy on the stove, it's quicker and easier to wipe it off right away. If you let the mess sit there for many hours, it will become much harder to clean up. A quick swipe of a damp paper towel or dishcloth is so much easier than scrubbing away at a dried on mess.
Same thing for a kitchen sink. If you wash down the mess when it's fresh, nobody will have to stand there for 10 minutes scrubbing the sink out many hours later.
This is similar to nip it in the bud. Your game could have messes that the player has to clean up and the longer the player waits, the darker a mess object gets. Cleaning up a fresh mess object would be instantaneous. Every time a mess object gets a notch darker, it takes even longer to remove.
Some people clean up their own messes, put out their campfire before moving on, refuse to litter, and generally try to leave it no worse than how they found it, even if they can't find the time to make it better. They have a pleasant, helpful, ‘for the greater good’ way about them. A smaller percentage of those people do more than cleaning up after themselves. They'll pick up litter that others have thoughtlessly tossed on the ground, help scrub away or paint over graffiti, and do other things that leave it better than how they found it.
This is similar to what goes around, comes around and a place for everything and everything in its place. Your game could show players that going above and beyond what is expected can bring unexpected benefits.
The Good and the Bad
Negative ions are good for us. You might want to avoid positive ion generators and ozone generators. Whenever I need a new air cleaner (with negative ion generator), I buy it from surroundair.com. A plain old air cleaner is better than nothing, but one that produces negative ions makes the air in a room fresher and easier to breathe. It also helps to brighten my mood.
Never litter. If you can't find a trash can, take it home and throw it away there.
Hydrofracking is bad for you, your family, your friends, and the environment.
Unfermented soy is bad! “When she stopped eating soy, the mental problems went away.”
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