Real Lives 2010
My name is Maulidi Diouf and I was born in a village in Benin’s Borgou Province, not far from the town of Parakou…at least, that’s what the simulator tells me. “Real Lives 2010” puts the player into a random simulated body that they must manage from birth till death. Gender, nationality, location of birth…all of that is randomized with every new game, giving you a different experience every single time. Before I begin seeking medication for multiple personality disorder, I’d like to thank Bob Runyan from Educational Simulations for sending me a free review copy.
The simulator starts off by throwing a good deal of information at you, which is organized along the top of the window via tabs. The game will proceed to assign you an avatar and describe what your family is like on the “self” tab…how old your parents are, whether or not you have any brothers or sisters, that kind of thing. You’ll also see a plethora of statistics that point out your strengths and weaknesses, along with a map that allows you to see just where your avatar lives in the world. The simulator is turn based and advances your avatar one game year every time you end a turn, though a diary is available to track relevant events. Those of you who hate to write need not worry, the game does all of the work for you.
The “family” tab allows you to see information about your family and your living situation. The game also takes things like healthcare, water quality, and other important needs into consideration based on how wealthy your family is and where they are located in the world. Your household income is considered and you’ll have choices based on that as far as how lavish your living situation is.
The “country” tab is a nice touch, giving you informational resources on the country you’re currently living in. The game makes available a web browser that searches your simulated hometown on Google maps, giving you access to a plethora of information on the real deal. You’ll also be able to see from a political, society, and health standpoint where your country stands in the grand scheme of things.
The “stats” tab keeps track of your progress visually, allowing you to see how your avatar has grown over time. Health, happiness, artistic ability, strength, endurance, conscience, intelligence…basically all of the skills that you found over on the “self” tab.
Finally, you’ll be able to change how your avatar lives out their life by heading over to the “actions” tab. You’ll have access to different choices in various categories like education, relationships, residence, finance, leisure activities, and career. You can invest extra cash here as well if you have it into a variety of different packages, be it bank accounts, mutual funds, stocks, land, jewelry, and etc.
As the years progress, your life will change for better or for worse in unexpected ways. It does an excellent job in simulating random events that connect you to your avatar, making you sorry that they happened to break up with their mate or whatnot. I enjoyed trying to take my avatars through their years in the most efficient manner possible, but the game’s realism reminded me just how cold of a mistress life can be. Most of the time, I found myself working my tail off, barely making ends meet, and accomplishing very little despite my best efforts…sound familar?
My favorite part of the game is focused on its educational value. I could easily sit my eleven year old in front of this game and allow him to have at it, without having to worry about mature rated content. As events occur in the game, statistics pop up showing you how likely that event will occur in real life and to whom. Coupled with the “country” tab’s Google maps feature, this game provides an excellent educational experience. In fact, I’d recommend it for use in the classroom, if it isn’t already.
Another nice feature that the game incorporates is the character creator, which does away with the randomization and allows you to pick and choose where your next avatar is born, among other things. This can save you from having to continuously start new games to get the experience you were looking for. You can also edit which events pop up in-game.
The only thing that I could possibly suggest in regards to game improvement is to allow the user to increase the size of the text. The diary was particularly difficult to read, though I was able to copy and paste the text to MS Word utilizing destination formatting. This allowed me to see anything that I may have missed or forgotten. I also couldn’t find an options menu that allowed me to change the game’s interface or video resolution. Having more functionality would make this game a bit easier to play.
Overall, “Real Lives 2010” is a fun diversion if you’re into simulation games at all. It may seem boring to those who can only get their kicks by screaming profanities over a headset while playing Call of Duty, but the rules and mechanics are user-friendly enough to appeal to players of all ages. The educational value it provides pushes the simulated experience over the top, allowing players to learn as they play. More functionality in regards to the interface and game options would make this game even better, but this doesn’t break the game by any means. There is a playable demo on the site linked below, should you wish to try before you buy.
Final Verdict: 6/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Real Lives 2010” by visiting the official page, located here: