Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Game of Life and a New Year

Last night, we celebrated New Year's Eve with our annual shrimp fest, family game night and sparkling cider.

We bought the game 'Life' and chose that for the evening.  I had not played it since I was about 8 years old.  It had also been about that long since the Man of the House had played.  So we had to relearn the rules.
It's actually a lot more complicated than I remembered.  And as I played, I felt slight tugs of stress creeping in.... the silly game was a little too close for comfort in some life departments!   : )

But the thing that bothered me (hence the stress creeping in) was how much the game had changed.   My son-in-law brought over his older version so we'd have enough cars and career cards, etc.  (We were over the limit on players.) 

His game was quite a bit different- and it's not a very old.   Not only were things less expensive in his version, there were no 'Share the Wealth' cards at all:

These little numbers allow you to do the following:
-Collect half of your opponents' money when they do such things as win the Nobel Prize and win $100,000 for it, win money on a game show or even find buried treasure. 
-They also allow you to force other players to pay what you owe to the bank so you don't have to.
-Or they give you exemptions when you have a lawsuit against you.


I don't know if it's supposed to be a joke, but I really don't like a game teaching my children they can take what others have earned or get out of debt by having others pay it.

The differences between the old and new versions were really amazing in that prices had skyrocketed.

Here are a few of the outlandish costs an 'average' career path with a family might run and some of these were the same in the older version:
Job relocation: Pay $20,000
Wedding reception: Pay $20,000
Redecorate your home: Pay $80,000
Take family on theme park vacation: Pay $25,000 + $5,000 per child
Upgrade computers: Pay $10,000
Furnish baby's room: Pay $5,000

Now, granted, you also get outlandish sums of money and your year's salary sometimes twice in one turn.  It is a game.
But the housing prices had really changed:

The older version's highest priced home was a victorian mansion for $200,000. 
In the newer version, you must purchase a starter home first and then you must upgrade to a better home later.  Here are some of the starter homes versus the upgrades:

Now, I am aware that there are people in this world who don't think much of spending upwards of $600,000 on a home.  I get that.  My dad even told me recently of a couple he knows who wrote a check for over $800,000 for a second home in the mountains so their son could ski regularly and not have to drive back down the icy roads each time. 
But for the average family....and I mean averageprices listed on those game cards are insane!   I, for one, didn't appreciate being forced to sell my ranch-style home that was paid for in order to purchase a far spendier one.  

I get that it's a game.  And we had a ton of fun laughing and stressing over the crazy pitfalls in it. Some of us were loaded down in our minivans with 8 or more 'children'...some of them flying out of the vehicle on sharp turns because there weren't enough seats. (Maybe they were driving under the influence of sparkling cider?)   I, somehow, ended up with no children and enough money and assets to win the game. 
However, I know that in real life I'd much rather have the van loaded down with children than the money or assets. 
From the game: Baby Boy! (Take a life card)  Baby Girl! (Take a life card)  Adopt Twins! (Take a life card)  
I think in reality, we've accumulated quite a few of those 'life' cards ourselves. 

In REAL LIFE, family makes things worthwhile- and although they can contribute to the stresses as well, they certainly make you a richer, wiser, more selfless human being.

As midnight approached, we got ready for bed and waited to watch the ball drop.
 The younger kids wanted to sleep in the living room.  They dug out their favorite fancy glasses, filled them with sparkling apple cider, and waited to toast one another.
 In just 30 short minutes, our littlest girl- who'd been skipping around the house- became so tired she could hardly open her eyes to witness midnight and sleepily drank down her golden liquid before crashing on her pillow.
Immediately after, I did the same.

I hope and pray that 2011 will be a year of refreshed energy, renewed commitments to wholesome goals, ever stronger faith in God and realization of worthy dreams!

Happy New Year!

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