Thank Grog It’s Firday!!
Did you feel it? Did you feel the earth shake, hell freeze over, and the moon turn blue? The original “Ah Come On! We are still getting good stuff!” Queen of the Bliss Ninnies (and I use that term with the utmost of affection), wrote a pointed, pragmatic, and reality-based “Musings” yesterday on the “State of TSTO!”
And, the shift you felt, wasn’t so much us swapping magnetic poles, as much as the fact that even “She who is the perpetual cheer leader” has come closer to my side, while I have slid closer to the middle.
Let’s be honest…to say that TSTO is on a “downward slide,” is like maneuvering half-way down Stelvio Pass in the Italian Swiss Alps, with no breaks, in the dark…and saying, “Well…this isn’t as fun as it used to be!”
But, I really do think there are a lot of redeeming qualities to continuing to keep TSTO active on my padular devices...especially if I remember James Taylor.
OK… I know…I know. How does James Taylor and the present state of TSTO have any correlation to one another. I’ll get to that.
But, first…that picture of Selvio Pass, as a metaphor for TSTO.
This road is rated as one of the Top Ten Scariest drives in the world. But, the fact is, just like TSTO, there are ups and downs, and thrills, and repeated predictability in the journey. And like any journey, it will eventually come to an end.
I had to laugh, when Alissa seemed to intimate that the best way to cure the current TSTO Blahs, is to start a new town or two from scratch, as a way to recapture the challenge it took to get anywhere in the game.
I get it. But I look at that from a different perspective. If I started a new town, it would be to remind myself how good we have it, and that I would NEVER go back, through all of the levels, and the “challenge” and expenditure of time. Especially, knowing that the outcome is going to land you right here, in the same place.
Perhaps there would be a difference in the way you decorate, or which decorations you buy, knowing so much more about Bonus % and donut farming. But, in the end, you would be reliving your TSTO life…with the same limitations…and the same virtual outcome.
And worst of all, to do it, you would be spending the most valuable thing we have in life…TIME! I have often call time, “life currency.” In reality, it is the one thing that has a finite limit for everyone, and yet gets wasted in mindless endeavors more than anything else we have. To put a twist on an old saying, “Nobody lays on their death bed, wishing they had played more TSTO!”
So, the fact is, while the game is clearly in a winding down mode, or “Hospice Mode” if you want to be extreme, there is still a great deal of pleasure to be gained, even if EA seems hell-bent on limiting our fun.
But, when someone like Ebron (whose design skills are still the “Gold Standard of TSTO”…take a drink, Tippie), says she hasn’t played the game in two months…you KNOW there is a problem.
For those of us who love designing, the Hard Cap Item Limits are without question, the most soul-sucking reality we face, and a good reason to just stop. If we can’t design, then why play? If we can’t create inventive spaces for the items we win by mindlessly tapping every 4 hours during events and updates, why tap?
I continue to play (although far less frequently) for the same reason that I have several James Taylor albums in my Apple Music Library. I like the way his voice and familiar style make me feel…like I am home with a friend.
When I was forming my own musical style, and learning to perform, write, and play not only my own music, but “the music of the day,” James Taylor was in my regular Top Five. While I loved a HUGE range of music (and still do), there was a gentle, peaceful, relaxing tone to his voice and style of guitar, that felt like home, whenever I wanted to just sit and relax with friends. Songs from his first seven records are classic campfire fare, and became parts of my “troubadour play list” when I played piano/guitar bars in college. Let’s face it…nobody sits around the campfire playing Led Zeppelin songs (beyond the intro to Stairway to Heaven). And almost everyone can sing the chorus of “Sweet Baby James.”
But, after years of never missing one of his concerts, I stopped paying the ever-escalating price of admission, to hear the same songs, over and over again. I still love his music, and will still put on one of his albums on long road trips…but, he has become a “touchstone” for a certain emotion, that no longer requires my constant attention and adoration.
Just like TSTO.
These days, even during a “Major Update Event,” I log in for a few minutes each day to do the “Daily Task,” (I skip the Springfield Heights Challenges), and to hit my “Sky Finger” to collect all of my building rents, and a few donuts.
I play both in some respects out of “Muscle Memory” as Alissa put it. I like winning a few Free Donuts now and then. Which of course is silly, because I can farm the equivalent in seconds. But I LIKE the familiarity of the action.
- I don’t send my Springfieldians on tasks anymore. I don’t need the cash or the donuts.
- I keep a ton of characters “perpetually stuck” doing animated jobs that give me pleasure to see. They are for the most part, not characters that are ever in the bland, same old, same old, characters used in almost every update. I almost never collect the task reward, unless I clear one by mistake.
- I don’t do the railyard anymore…because I can’t use the thousands of rail pieces I have already (Item limits again).
- And I WILL NOT continue to sacrifice the designs that I did during the “Good Old Days” when Item Limits were unthinkable.
Do I want to go back and start all over again? Hells…to the NO! It’s why I’m not nuking…or starting a “new game.”
It’s the same old fools game, of trying to relive or alter your past, by thinking about what you would change. If you are smart, and old, and wise…you realize that looking back is a waste of time, because everything you did brought about a result, that got you to where you are today. But, more important, the time spent once, is certainly not worth spending again, when time itself becomes more and more precious.
So, I will take the time now and again, to actually “walk” through my Springfield, and remember some of the fun things I designed, when I didn’t have to worry about item limits.
3-D design took a ton of space and effort, but the results were always rewarding.
And right in the center of my “Old Springfield” (before we were forced to create alternative realities, and huge amusement park areas), is my Zen forest. It took hundreds and hundreds of little plants and trees to create. If I got rid of it, I would have room in my item limits to place newer things.
But come on…am I going to get rid of my Zen forest so I can place some of the garbage from the last couple of updates?? Pffffftttt…. Not gonna happen.
Because when life gets insane, (which it seems to do, more and more these days), it’s nice to have a place to go, where the deeper you slip, the more relaxed and welcome you feel.
Deep in the middle of my Zen Garden, right next to the “World’s Largest Redwood (which I stopped growing, because I didn’t like the way it was going to turn out…tallest is big enough), is a little friend that keeps life in perspective.
It’s a little squirrel…that sits eating on a log. Happy…oblivious to the world around it, and content in having “enough.” If I had continued to expand the redwood, “just because I could,” I would have lost the squirrel, to a big fence, and a sign. Who needs that?
Learning when “enough is actually enough,” is important in life. “More, bigger, faster, more challenging,” so you aren’t bored, isn’t always a good thing. Take another look at the picture of Selvio pass. That kind of “excitement” I don’t need.
The fact is, with age, you learn to savor “home,” in the small things in life. And one of my favorite little James Taylor songs…which is really just a throw-away for the most part, on the Mudslide Slim album, is the song, “Isn’t Nice to Be Home Again.”
Fifty Eight seconds…with a solo acoustic guitar…and the line, “Didn’t we miss your smiling face?” That really says it all.
Because, as I have learned far too many times this past year, there is no guarantee how much “life currency” anyone has. So many friends have left, far too early. What I would give to have more time with them.
So, in the end…I am happy with where we are in TSTO. It takes far less “life currency” to get the same sense of “home,” as well as the familiarity that can be derived from a relationship that has gone on between all of us, for more than seven years.
As long as this community remains “home,” I will continue to play, and be thankful for all that we have shared with one another.