I’m no artist, but I play one on my computer

Imagine my delight when I stumbled across a new game on Yahoo called “Artist Colony.” Great! An opportunity for us not-so-creative folk to live the artistic life, if only vicariously. I downloaded a trial version of the game, and gave it a whirl.

I should have known better. The game, based on the SIMS model of gaming, is all about managing a community. In this case, it’s a run down artist colony that a couple of guys are trying to rehabilitate and repopulate (preferably with cute female artists). In the first hour of play there was very little art-making, but a lot of cleaning up debris and learning how to keep your artists rested and happy.

While the game was not nearly as satisfying as I had hoped, it was in some strange way educational about the world of the artist.

First off, an artist’s creativity is significantly enhanced or upset by the quality of his or her love life (I’ll buy that one).

Also, the price a person is willing to pay for a painting appears to be completely random. If you wait long enough there’s sure to be a dealer who will offer far more than the painting is worth (again, depending on the economy, I’ll buy that one, too).

A lot more time is spent working on non-artistic activities in order to sustain the making of art. I know of many artists who will attest to the truth of that.

However, there was one aspect of the game that I fear only perpetuates poor stereotyping. Every once in a while, a psychedelic looking “magic flower” will appear somewhere in the colony. In order to inspire your artist to create a new work, you must place them next to the magic flower (a lotus? a poppy?) until their inspiration levels are fully charged. Sigh…

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