Friday Filler – When to Go and How

Thank Grog It’s Firday! 

It has been an interesting week. And by “interesting,” I mean the kind of “interesting” that one says when asked how a crappy week went, without wanting to “bum out” the person who asked.

But, I’m not going to lie. “Interesting” doesn’t really cut it…

Life is full of inevitable avoidance with inevitable consequences.  There is no doubt about it. The “cycle of life” has a conclusion, and the fact is, it is rarely when, or how we expect it to happen.

We have been speculating all week about the “death of TSTO.”  Speculation runs wide and wild, from “This is it…the game has been put on life support and is sliding into a coma,” to, “They will never let this die! It’s too important to too many people…and it is still vital!”

The fact is, I’m really not sure what to expect, or how I feel about it. Because, after spending the last couple of days looking back at countless posts from the past, there is little doubt that TSTO will never see the “glory days,” again.  We have slid into the same weird predictability as a modern day Rolling Stones concert tour.  The kind of thing that leaves you saying, “Man…I saw them when they were great…for a whole lot less money. Keith looks like the Crypt Keeper, and Mick is gonna break a hip trying to prance around…he’s too old!” (And had heart sugary this week).

OK. That was kinda mean.  But, the fact is…TSTO hit its peak for all practical purposes a couple of years ago.  Now, just like hearing “Honky Tonk Woman” played by a high school marching band, you get the sense that “Yes…that’s the song…I recognize it…it’s kinda the same…but, it isn’t as good as the original.”  The game (when there IS a game to be played) has been reduced to 4-hour chunks of grinding, and a plethora of items and characters that definitely feel like they belong on the clearance table at a “Ross Dress for Less” store.  “Brand Names…at Clearance Prices!” Out of date, and presented without much flair.

The question needs to be asked, “It is time to let TSTO go, before all sense of dignity is lost forever?”

Sorry. That is a dark analogy.  But, as I said…all things in this life come to an end. Everything. And as a game, TSTO may have reached a place in the cycle that is just more trouble than it is worth to keep alive.

They have given us a huge chunk of land. Enough land to allow us to get every single item available in the Year Book, which is almost everything that has ever been issued.  They have not killed, altered, or slowed down Donut Farming…house farming…or any other sort of way to accelerate the ability to earn currency.  So, it’s like they want to make sure that we get everything.

And…they have given us a tool to archive our work.  A tool that with a single screen grab can record years and years of building, planning, and creating, in order to keep us from going insane with anger if they turn off the server at some point.

And like it or not…that day will come.

My sense, is that they will give us fair warning.  They aren’t going to just keep us in suspended animation mode. Something will happen soon…good or bad…and we will be thankful just to know the outcome.

There is no doubt that being on the downward slope in the stockpiling of “Life Currency,” (as in I’m getting old)  that I see things with a different perspective. I have lost a great number of friends in the past couple of years. Most younger or near my age.  Some have fought long battles with persistent illness, while others have just “croaked” with a sudden blast of circumstance from heart failure to brain hemorrhages. Every time, I ask the same question, “Do I want to go fast, or have time to say goodbye?”  I always opt for the latter. I feel the same about TSTO.

This is an admittedly morose way to reflect on the possible death of a game.  And it seems callous to compare the loss of a life to the loss of a game, even though many of us have dedicated almost 7 years to it…playing, blogging, and building a community.

But, thinking that somehow something you love is going to go on forever, is simply not realistic. And hoping to choose the way in which you say goodbye ends up being the only option you have.

I’m not done with TSTO yet. I’ll keep building, and creating, and upgrading as long as there is life in the server.  But, I will take regular snapshots of the progress…never really knowing when the last one, will truly be the last. I’ll “keep hope alive.”

I wish it was that easy in life.

Nothing in life is a “sure thing.”  The only “sure thing” is that it comes to an end, for everyone.

This week, after getting amazing news about my friend Terri’s cancer prognosis a couple of weeks ago…the prognosis flipped.

I got a tearful call from her husband last weekend, that the cancer came back, with a vengeance…and has invaded her spine and is moving rapidly toward the rest of her system. Due to the pressure the tumors are putting on her spine, she has lost the use of most of her body…and the very best prognosis, is to extend her life by a few weeks and maybe months, with massive doses of radiation, and more chemotherapy.

He told me that when the doctor delivered the news, the doctor was clearly shaken up and emotional. Terri simply said, “I’m so sorry…this must be very hard for you…it’s OK.” She is that kind of person. Unflinchingly sweet. There are so many crud-buckets in the world who should go instead. But, that’s not my decision either.

Writing those words is brutal. It makes it real.  I’m praying like mad for a miracle. But, the fact is…I’m not sure what I am praying for.  A few more weeks? A complete “God came down and healed her” kind of miracle that only happens at Lourdes, or when there is a face of the virgin on a tortilla involved? Or am I praying just because I feel helpless to do anything else.

I made up my mind to just keep hoping and praying.

But after a week of uncertainty, and speculation (about something that actually mattered), Deb and I got a call while we were driving to work this morning.  It was Terri and her husband Kevin. Upbeat…and sounding very much like she isn’t going anywhere soon.  Radiation is helping. She is getting some feeling back in her legs…but her voice was chipper, happy, and had the power to wash the pain away in an instant.

It humbled me. And made me realize that you simply can’t give up hope, or spend time speculating on things over which you have no control from the outside.  We are but spectators in this…but, her cheerfulness and thanks for the love, support and prayers, was enough to make me start cutting deals with God again.

So yes…I have been a bit distracted from lamenting that there hasn’t been an update in TSTO.  The fact is, I got the kind of update I wanted this morning. And I’m not going to give up hope.

Keep the prayers coming. Keep the prayer throttle on full. She is convinced that it is working…and who am I to argue with someone like Terri?

Sorry for the “Bummer” post. But, choosing to place my attention on a struggle for real life …or the life of a virtual game…it’s not even close.  Be happy with the fact that TSTO is still up…and may surprise us all. Or, will become a snapshot of virtual lifetime spent.

For the rest of us living “normal lives,” it’s all just another reminder to make sure and not waste time on things that don’t matter. Love one another. Tell people you love them. Don’t let the silly stuff get in the way of enjoying the stuff that matters.

And, never give up hope.

53 responses to “Friday Filler – When to Go and How

  1. Wow… a post too deep for a gamming blog, but it helps to get a real perspective. Things that really matter are beyond any screen.

    Best whises for all in suffering.

  2. Thanks, Patric, and best wishes for Teri moving forward. I’m not religious whatsoever, but even I feel compelled to send prayers her way. You really put the game, and life, in perspective.

    Personally, I feel like the game has already ended for me and all I’m waiting for is closure via some form of confirmation. If EA pulled the plug today, that’d be preferable to the current state of limbo. Sadly, I think I’d welcome it.

    I feel like the game started to end for me when EA stopped having major events. I miss friend interactions and now miss crafting too. And, frankly, not only is the 4-hour grind actually still there, but I feel things are even more rushed now by a self-created need to complete the mini-major events “on time,” meaning each portion within its one week period, although I know I could easily do that if I still played at my former pace.

    Thanks to past temporary glitches that I fully utilized (like characters getting stuck at the Walking KEM to allow for unlimited collection) and some excessive donut purchasing when I first started playing just under 2 years ago, I now have to spend roughly $8M on RTT farming (50+ trucks) every day just to avoid the money cap, even when I’m now down to typically collecting just once a day even with most of my characters still going on visual 4-hr jobs instead of 24-hr ones like I would if money or donuts mattered to me anymore. In this regard, farming has gone from fun and useful to a daily chore. I have 21,000+ donuts and just shy of 1,800% and could easily significantly increase either if I cared enough. Since Halloween I’ve picked up every premium item available to me simply because I could, and I have become a plopper in a town that I used to love to design. My town just grew too much, too fast.

    My last string of interest is quickly unraveling too. When I started playing, I was always on a quest to catch-up and to get all of the beloved characters I missed before. Prior to the Yearbook Mystery Box, I needed 24 characters and I’m now down to 16, not bad for a two-year player. But sadly, the ones I’m missing were all prize track characters. EA will either never re-release them or, perhaps more likely, make another giant box which includes all/almost all of the items excluded from the yearbook (which isn’t all that many anyway). If that happens, my last remaining quest will be over and in a rather unsatisfactory way. It was fun when I was collecting a few missed characters per event. I didn’t even mind snatching around 150 items from the yearbook, including 8 missed characters and numerous NPCs (which never drew my attention before, but now I even have most of those and will surely get them all quickly if/when everything becomes available), but that quickly ended and the writing is on the wall. This need to get every character used to be fun, and I thought it’d give me satisfaction once I finished. But what fun will be left if EA soon makes it all available all the time? Any “skill” or dedication will be replaced by an ability to simply get anything you want, at any pace, 30 donuts (or whatever that final box may cost) at a time. I fear the quest, and the fun, is over.

  3. Thoughts and prayers to both your friend and you

  4. Life is an invisible river that draws us away, taking us on unpredictable paths. Sometimes, swimming against the current, we have the impression of being able to decide the trajectory of our path, but it is only an illusion. Hope is our lifesaver, which leads us to believe that an oasis of peace can also happen to us. In any case it is important not to miss a moment of this journey, however UNIQUE, taking the time that is given to us and the people that it brings on our way, selecting, and this we can really do it, what is important not to lose and what instead is! HOPE GOOD TO ALL!

  5. Thanks for sharing Patric, your words put things in perspective.

    Don’t know if this will be of any comfort but I do believe there is some kind of continuation of consciousness after death. I am not religious or even sure about the existence of God at least not as portrayed by religion, but I do feel deeply that there is something greater within us beyond meagre flesh and bones.

  6. Sorry to hear about your friend Patric I can only imagine it’s as emotionally painful for everyone close to her as it is physically painful for her. Similarly I had a small health scare myself earlier this week that meant I had to have a day off work whilst I was kept in hospital overnight (I work early morning shifts) when I messaged my colleagues to let them know they were all on tenterhooks waiting for me to update them with what was happening. But thankfully I was given the all clear and released the next morning.

  7. Keith1Roon991

    If the servers are switched of would the game stop working on my device or would I still be able to play, design and complete tasks, just a thought.

    • I was wondering that also. I’m sure they could update in such a way that this could be possible. Presently the game seems to be tethered to the mothership!

  8. As long as there is Hope …. whether it’s a friend’s health, or a Game App in it’s final years (months) …. then it’s not a bummer. It just means rethinking things from what Game App will replace TSTO when it’s time, to when will we get more funding for cancer cures (vs. just early detection and/or type of radiation / chemotherapy).

  9. Thanks for this post, Patric. I hope your friend will recover!

  10. Personally I’m glad the game is taking a break, and wouldn’t mind if it stayed this way. For me it’s more of a compulsion than particularly enjoyable at this point. Springfield has gotten huge and unmanageable. I kind of want to get everything I want from the yearbook box, finally finish organizing my town, and be done with it. Too much tapping, too time consuming. I’m tapped out, but a tapped out addict. It would be nice to be free of this game if there were nothing left to get. Just take a look at my masterpiece and be done, and do something more productive with my time. I’m a freemium player anyways. Know many will say I could just stop playing, but what if I miss something really cool? I would have stopped playing after week 1 if the stonecutters event didn’t pop up and excite me. No other event since has compared for me.

    • Interesting admission. So, you would like to go cold turkey, as long as someone else is responsible for killing the turkey? I get it…

  11. Wow…dont know where to go with all that info! Continued prayers and good stuff her way. I know everytime my dad has some of his skin cancery stuff taken off his head it could come back as “this is it – we cant fix this this time”. I’m sure he wouldnt tell me it was that bad even if it was. Living life holding your breath for diagnoses SUCKS!!! One day at a time i guess. Good days bad days. Don’t sweat the small stuff i guess. I hear my daughter complain about teenage life 24/7. Geez i wish those were the size of my issues these days. Family is important. Friends too. This game is a distraction from life and problems. Thats why we neeeeeeed it!!! Lol
    Nothing but best wishes for all of you having a hard time!!!!❤❤❤❤

  12. Patric, I am still praying for Terri and her family. Please send her my love. Everything constantly changes and right now Terri and so many other important things are happening. Our community and this fun little game has been great over the past 7 years. We can always hope, but the fact is that change is a part of life and sometimes change is good. Hugs to all.

  13. Rusty Shackleford

    First off, nothing but love and respect and prayers for Terri.

    As for TSTO, I am a remainer as in I think will remain for some time yet.

  14. I’m not sure if people have already said this, but I wonder if EA is trying to make us miss long events, stop the mini games, and then make us speculate it’s the end so when the next event comes we all get excited and appreciate the game a bit more…and possibly make them a few more dollars. Just wondering….

    If so, enough already EA, you’ve made your point. I miss you. I will be more appreciative. Time to come back now.

  15. I find it interesting about the profit side of thing. If you take a bank for instance, they of course chase new streams of income from the latest fangled investment product all the time. But, the meat of a banks income still comes from basic services like custody and asset management. So, it maybe, that whoever now owns TSTO recognises that while it’s not a massive instant profit maker. It does generate a regular income and comes with the brand recognition of ‘The Simpsons’ name.

  16. I have slowly come to realize that TSTO is coming to an end….
    It’s like the episode where Marge is successful at canceling the “Itchy and Scratchy” on the Krusty Show and the kids come out of their homes, rub their eyes and go play outside…
    I’m going to step out of my house, rub my eyes and play outside.

  17. Not a bummer post in the least. A wonderful if you’ll pardon the use, eulogy, for a game that united many of us for a time in a wonderful sense of belonging. If it is the end then I thank you, the other players, and the developers for bringing me such a meaningful part of my life for seven years. It was a blast.

  18. I had a thought. You know how at fireworks displays they have a grand finale? There’s usually a lull between the bulk of the show and the grand finale. Maybe we’re in the lull. I’m now thinking that EA is going to give us one final grand finale event. Thoughts?

  19. I’m so sorry to hear about your fabulous friend. I have lost both my brother and best friend to this illness over the last few years, but both went with a determined smile on their faces, and insisted myself and those closest to us grabbed life by the proverbials, and enjoyed every second we can.. 💕

    • That is the way to live life! For sure. I hope Terri gets some more time to paint. She is an amazing artist…and it is her happy place!

  20. “(And had heart sugary this week).”

    Yeh, too much Brown Sugar, I guess. . .

  21. …because you gotta have faith!

  22. There are 4 day & 11 hours left on certain premium (donut spending) items in the store. So the next update should be next Tuesday or Wednesday. This fits in with prior updates, right?

  23. Hi Patric,
    You put everything in a very relatable perspective. I understand that such poignant words can only come when you are feeling the way you are at the current moment because “only words that come from the heart will reach the heart”
    I will pray for Terri as we all should continue to also hope for acceptance at what ever life has to offer us.
    Thank You for sharing Patric, all the best.

    P.S. The game will take care of itself and we can go on from there…
    : )

  24. Your post comes on a very interesting day. My mom would have turned 99 today, one week ago I received the news that a NYC friend passed away in his sleep and tonight for one last time, I get to babysit a Golden Retriever neighbor that is moving to New Jersey tomorrow (how the hell did I fall in love with a neighbors dog?) plus it’s cold and dreary in San Diego today. All the trimmings for a pity party of one, but it ain’t going to happen. Thanks to you and your work for Buyijja I say, Peace, Love AND Hope!!!

  25. Anthony Deininger

    TSTO is dead IMHO. key indicators- no major event in several months, sale of IP to outside concern, and the biggest tip off. The continuation of the last event mystery box, why else keep all the premium prizes around at a discount unless you have no intention of continuing the game and to allow newer players the opportunity to get some of the items before pulling the plug? I’m done with it.

    • Sure…all of those points have been made. However, EA would give us a notice as such. So, for me…it’s 50/50 at best that there is another answer. Will it ever be as good as some of the best updates? Not likely. But, it still feels like there is gold to be mined.

      • It’s still making them money, that’s the key. I don’t see them just ending this while it still generates a profit; just doesn’t make good business sense. There are also things that were not made available in the Yearbook which could still be used to tease some more donuts from players.

        I farmed donuts for almost 3 weeks before getting burnt out on it, and I kinda feel from that experience, that most players probably don’t engage in that activity to a very large degree (or at all) especially those who have to work full time. Fortunately I run my own business from home, and there were no critical issues that needed to be addressed during that time, or it would have been a waste.

        That was an apt analogy made with your friend’s situation Patric, and it’s just really hard to know even when the “professionals” make a prediction. I’m hoping that they’re wrong about the timeline, and it sounds like she’s an incredible human being with an awesome attitude towards life. Best of luck to her.

        • So…yes…it is creating income. But, by gaming standards, it’s a pittance. You have to take staff and subcontractor wages out, as well as server costs, etc. And then there is their version of “support.” So, $300K a month (which is the last figure I saw) gets eaten up pretty quickly. But, again…I don’t think anything huge is going to change.

          And yes…Terri humbles me. A lot to learn from her.

        • I agree with your comment about the business end of things. EA wants to make money. So why end this game and lose many thousands of potential customers? I can see them wanting to end this game if it’s not making money. But if that’s the case, then wouldn’t EA want to provide us with a new alternative? If they were smart about this, they would give us one last, big event that would tie in with a new game from EA. Something we could all transfer to at the end of TSTO.

          • Well, I guess that freemium mobile games are basically more or less “out” these days, at least for EA. Sure they’re still pretty profitable I guess, but these days “Games as a Service” is the new “hot stuff”: why make a free game with continuing income through in-game purchases when today you can even make a (possibly better) 60$ game that still brings continuing income through in-game purchases? 😉
            And a new Non-Simpsons Pseudo-Tapped Out? Wouldn’t touch it. I started playing this because it’s a Simpsons Game and I don’t believe EA can match this game (or match what this game was back when it was good) with whatever new universe they come up themselves…

          • Indeed, if they can keep a game like Dungeon Keeper running at a measly 5K, then I think we’re safe.

  26. I think a lot of people would be OK with letting TSTO go bye bye if they thought there was another game like it we could all move onto as a replacement. You would think EA would want to introduce a new game with a similar (or identical) form of game play. They have a ready audience ready to buy into such a new game. There’s got to be another universe of material to mine for content. Or perhaps EA could create a new, unique universe. It was nice to be able to play with the Simpsons and Springfield, but it might be fun to create something truly unique. In other words- EA could create a game that has nothing to do with a tv show, movie, etc. I’m rambling. Sorry.

    • Yeah! Like…say a game where you could build your city, and have your own characters, and design cool expansive buildings. They could call it, “SIM City!!” Oh. Wait. EA owns that too.

      • I’ve played various versions of Sim City over the years (including the original version from YEARS ago). It’s not quite the same. First of all, Sim City has no characters. However- I’ve always felt that they could easily combine Sim City with The Sims. (Simpson’s? Sims? Coincidental?). 🤔

        Anyway……there are other similar (there’s that Sim again) games. Family Guy, etc. I think what I’m suggesting is another game in the genre that EA could create as a new alternative for TSTO to which we could all move. I thinks it’s silly for EA to just let us all go. Don’t they want to make more money off of us?

    • I’m ok with Tsto coming to an eventual end. I would prefer a gradual demise rather than a sudden one. I have enough “stuff” to happily design for many many weeks. Lol. I however, would like to see one more “Yearbook” type of mystery box that has everything that this one did not. Black Friday perhaps? I would also like a few more features such as the elimination of item limits in our towns, the ability to sell inventory, a collection tool for character tasks, a plus style track to our railroads, open up Springfield Heights ectera. I hope the game stays up and playable even after the end of “new” content but if not, I’ll gain back the hour or so a day I play and apply that to something new. Lol

  27. Disney and cancer f*ckin’ sucks, man

  28. Hopefully something will come, good or bad because after waiting 3 years for a decision still to be made on Brexit I can’t go through it all again with TSTO!!

    • You guys have certainly earned your “patience points.” At least with you, it is only ONE issue. Our “problems” are a constantly moving target.

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