The Ryan Lambie Column: Real life problems and their video game solutions

Ryan reckons that the answers to all of life's problems may be found, to paraphrase Steve Martin in Grand Canyon, in games...

Mr Ryan Lambie's amazing joypad.

As we all know, the entire world is going to Hell in a handcart – crime is rife, nobody has any money, we’re all suffering from greenhouse effects, and the government has absolutely no idea what to do about it. In short, we’re all doomed. Or that’s what the Daily Mail seems to think, at least.

Thank goodness for video games, then: if you know where to look, there are solutions to be found for all the world’s ills…

Problem: The recession Solution: With the world currently in the grip of financial armageddon, it may be timely to take a leaf out of Animal Crossing‘s book. As well as featuring the most genial, benevolent bank manager ever – Tom Nook, who will never repossess your house, no matter how long you take to repay your mortgage – it’s also incredibly easy to make money, irrespective of your age or qualifications. You can collect shells from the beach, catch fish or dig up fossils and sell them for a quick buck, or if all that’s too strenuous for you, simply shake a few trees for an easy bag of coins.

Problem: Housing crisis Solution: Mayors! Overcrowding, housing shortages, or urban decay dragging down the image of your otherwise bustling metropolis? Then take a tip from Will Wright’s Sim City – send in Godzilla to smash everything up, leaving you free to start over and build plenty of shiny new homes.

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Problem: World hunger Solution: If we followed the lead of some classic video games, nobody would ever have to go hungry again; Final Fight‘s advice, for example, is to simply smash every barrel, box and container you can find. They’re a veritable larder of free grub, containing such culinary delights as pizzas, hamburgers and root bear, or apples, grapes and bananas for the health conscious.

Problem: Obesity Solution: Over indulged and under exercised? Take a trip to the gyms of San Andreas, where a few minutes on the treadmill will have you trim and buff again in no time.

Problem: Bullying Solution: If you regularly get sand kicked in your eyes on the beach, why not follow Altered Beast‘s example and punch a wolf in the face. Doing so will release glowing orbs which have a remarkable, steroid-like effect on your physique. Or maybe you’re a policeman in a futuristic, crime-ridden city – if so, you’ll be pleased to know that freshly killed felons contain these glowing orbs too.

Problem: Education Solution: In the land of video games, schools are redundant. Books take seconds to read and potentially complex skills – whether you want to become a butcher, blacksmith or apothecary – can be learned by simply clicking ‘yes’. Also, remember there are no qualifications in video games – only ‘levels’. You won’t have to pass any exams to gain these; if you can be bothered, they can be earned by wandering out into a field and killing monsters…

Problem: Fascism Solution: In the future, when Big Brother rules the world and our cities have become surveillance-ridden prisons, and you can’t even send a text message in private any more, there’s only one solution: strap on your trainers and deliver said message verbally. Beware though, this will only enrage The Man further, and you’ll more than likely become a target for trigger happy maniacs in black helicopters – particularly if you look like Bjork…

Problem: Vandalism Solution: If your street is a horrifying mess of graffiti and broken glass, or your living room is in a state of disarray following a particularly debauched house party, simply walk out of the vicinity and back in again. You’ll find order magically restored – though any enemies you previously killed will have reappeared again too, natch.

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Problem: Death Solution: If you’ve been badly wounded in a fight, simply hide in a dark alley for a while – your wounds will heal and your health will be miraculously restored. It works for Master Chief, at least.

Alternatively, why not beat up the tiny floating blue dwarves that lurk around your campfire every evening, and feast on the life-giving elixir they leave behind…

Ryan writes his gaming column every week at Den Of Geek. Last week’s is here.