I just watched this trailer for the new SimCity and although I am sure it will be a great game, I was a bit bummed out by its idea of man. In the trailer, it is stated that Sims need two things, money and happiness. For the first they need a job, the second can be bought (I love how upfront the guy talking in the trailer is about this).
Need No. 1 - Work?
Now I don't know about you guys, but I actually prefer not to work and spend my leisurely. Of course, in the western world you usually need a job to make money to get food, shelter, etc., but if this guy is building a casino town, why not just take all the sweet casino money to your Sims and have them play videogames the whole day? I guess in the western world a meaningful life without slaving away in some corporation, making money for other people is hard to imagine.
Need No. 2 - Consumption
Of course it is hard to enjoy life without some shelter, food, video games, home theater, you know, the basic stuff. But apart from that, I personally don't really enjoy shopping all that much and I seriously doubt that it makes one happy.
Now I am not sure that it would make for a better game, but what if SimCity had a more, let's say balanced idea of people's needs. So after providing the Sims with some money (through jobs, social welfare, thieving..) or providing the basic necessities directly, their happiness could further increased by reducing working hours and increasing time and venues for recreation and social acitivities. Then again, maybe Sims are not supposed to be people but only their hollow, capitalistic image.