Somewhere in the wilderness out west, my daughter and I found the valley that the creator of the video game The Clones was said to have based the layout of his game on. The story went that while on vacation, and while ruminating on different project deadlines that he was facing back at work, he had climbed to the peak of one of the mountains surrounding the valley. When he had reached the summit, he turned back and looked out over the green fields below, and in that whipping wind and the panoramic curve of the Earth, the whole idea for a video game simulating people and life hit him just like that.
Staring out from that same summit, I had a similar inspiration. I stretched my hand out over the land and explained it all to my daughter. We would buy up the whole area, and we would create a real world community based on the game. We’d cut some kind of deal with the company that held the license to the game. We’d set up the roads just as they were in the neighborhoods of the game, and we’d sell off all the individual parcels of land. People could come and build any kind of crazy houses they wanted to. The streets would all be named after references to the game. There could be shops and thoroughfares where people could buy themed merchandise and furnishings for their homes just like those featured in the game.
I stared out, nodding with satisfaction as if I could already see it all under construction below. But my daughter was still confused about the whole idea. She wasn’t sure why anyone would go for it, why they would want to come live here. I just shrugged as we turned to head back down the path that had led us to the summit and I told her, “There comes a point with any simulation, if you take it to one extreme or another, where it eventually coincides with reality.”