December 5, 2017
During a particularly boring lecture, I stumbled upon an amusing browser game called Student Sim.
I chose to play a college simulator as a student because I found it ironic. But to my surprise, I quickly found myself trying to do well in the game.
Student Sim puts the player in the perspective of a white male going through college in the United Kingdom.
The objective of the game is to earn good grades and have successful dates. This, however, is easier said than done. While the game seems pretty straightforward, going on dates and passing exams is frustratingly difficult.
The game begins by allowing the player to pick a name and distribute 15 points amongst intelligence, charisma and looks. Then, after picking a degree and a best friend, the player is taken to the main game.
The player’s statistics are displayed at the top of the browser so they can keep track of them. Statistics include money, employment status, body odor, facial hair length, happiness, health and grades.
Every week the player is given options on how to spend time and money, whether it’s getting a haircut, studying, eating junk food or going to the pub to drink beer.
The game uses quick-time events to determine date and exam effectiveness, which means the player has to react to certain scenarios quickly.
This technique is good for keeping the player engaged, since the game is tedious, but the rapid option selections can have serious impacts if the person playing the game fails.
The dates with females seemed simple enough, but I found them impossible to complete. There were five meters to watch: two for the alcohol level of the player and the date, two for the amount of beer in each mug and one for the date’s attraction toward the player.
Players also have to consider exams. The player scores based on their academic level on some exams, while on others, they have to do perform certain tasks such as clicking the mouse once every second to maintain a good heartrate, or guessing the number of circles in a grid in five seconds.
After about 10 minutes, I was bored with the repetitive nature of the game. However, I wanted to see how the game ended, so I rushed through it to find out.
Along the way, I figured out how to have successful dates, which included clicking the “small talk” button several times a second. The coolness and happiness meters both reached zero, but the health and academic meters remained full.
Other parts of the game include getting a job and managing money. Depending on whom the player chose as a best friend, they could be employed almost every week and never have to worry about money.
The game forces the player to spend money at the pub, which creates a tight budget and makes it much more likely for the player to neglect hygiene, academics, happiness or all of the above.
The game finally finished at the end of the student’s three years in school. The game is too tedious to make anyone want to complete it, but it’s amusing enough to distract you for a couple of minutes.
As for simulating college life, the game actually does pretty well.
The goal of the game is to get a degree like in real life. However, for some people, maintaining high grades might not be their main concern in college.
The game offer other options, such as finding love, playing sports or socializing, at the expense of your grades and health. But not all people have trouble balancing academics and a social life.
No clubs are offered in the game, which is a big part of American college life. I felt the game was lacking in that department, but it might just be a difference in cultures.
I would recommend the game to anyone who’s bored and wants to have a quick laugh. However, the game does loose its charm.
If you’re looking to peer into the life of an average college male in the United Kingdom, the game provides a humorous but frustrating take.