Jones in the Fast Lane
Okay, how many of you classic computer gamers remember playing Jones in the Fast Lane? <raises hand>
It was a simple life simulator developed by Sierra Entertainment back in 1990. This wasn’t nearly as fancy as The Sims, but it was still fun and very addictive. If you were a fan of the game or just want to try it, get ready for some good news!
In this game you set your goals, and up to four people could play and progress up the company ladders. You start out at the bottom doing crap jobs like being a cook at Monolith, but through steady work and attending college classes, you could become an investment banker at the bank or the top job of general manager at the factory.
One of the most interesting parts of the game is the dynamic economy. Prices will rise and fall from either inflation or deflation, and if the market crashes you can lose your job just like in the real world. Of course, this is simplified and there are always jobs available, but it made the game interesting. Sometimes I’ll be the general manager and working for $39 an hour in a strong economy, but if the economy is weak that same position may only be paying $17 an hour. In one extreme case, I got the job when the position was paying $33 an hour, but the economy tanked and ten turns later the pay for that same job dropped to only $14 an hour. Luckily, the pay doesn’t drop once you already have the job (you can still lose the job in a sudden depression), so my character was still receiving $33 an hour and quickly becoming the richest person in the game.
The overall strategy for the game is fairly simple once you get the hang of it. The best part of the game is in the beginning when you have to survive with the lowest paying job in town. Otherwise, it’s not that difficult once you get a decent paying job and can have several weeks of food in the refrigerator. Finishing the game is actually boring since you’re either working at the top job and getting insane amounts of money, or you’re relaxing at the apartment. The most fun comes when you’re playing against live people or you’re challenging yourself to see how fast you can finish the game by taking the least number of turns.
There is no social life to manage here, and buying items for your apartment is pretty much meaningless (except for the fridge) until the end of the game. But watch out for the thief! You may have your wallet lifted when leaving the bank or market store, or he may just visit you in the cheap apartment!
The good news is that this game has been brought back to life through the magic of Adobe Flash. Click here to play the game for free, if you dare!