The Five Principles of The Simpsons Tapped Out

The Simpsons Tapped Out. Heard of it? It’s a game played on smart phones and tablets and it’s highly addictive. Here is a brief rundown:

A nuclear meltdown has destroyed Springfield and for some reason Homer has survived and must rebuild everything. You, the omniscient hand of Springfield must manage resources in order to resurrect the town. You are to assign characters tasks to make money, earn experience and gain new items, buildings and land.

You are solely responsible for the layout of your new town; where structures are built, placements of roads, how much land your purchase, et cetera. There are various things you can do to increase the earning power of characters’ jobs and real estate which will earn you more money and experience.

Basically, Tapped Out parallels Sim City in many ways, it’s just funnier and simpler.

So, why am I writing this post? Is it to review a time-wasting, horrendously wonderful video game? Nah. This post is an eye-catching, humor-based look at some principles that can be learned in many ways in life, but we’re just going to put it through the filter of The Simpsons Tapped Out. For real!? Yeah. If you look hard enough, you can find principled information in many stories and experiences that at first glance may not seem to contain anything of worth.

If you don’t already play Tapped Out, am I recommending you to start playing it? Well, if you want to start something that will distract you from doing anything else, then yes, start playing it. If you already play it, am I saying that this post will make you a better all-seeing, ever present hand of Springfield? Without a doubt.

The Five Principles Of The Simpsons Tapped Out

The Importance Of Time Management

Within The Simpsons Tapped Out, accomplishing anything takes time. You can assign characters various jobs ranging from six seconds to several days and these jobs happen in real time. Houses and buildings can take hours or days to build. Earning money from these buildings takes hours as well. You don’t have to be logged in and sitting in front of the game for eight hours for Ned to have an emergency bible study, thank God! But the point is that the task still takes eight hours. If you wish to maximize your earning potential and efficiency, you must pay close attention to the time frame of when characters are finishing their jobs and when buildings are paying out money. If you’re crazy like me and like to sleep a few hours during the night, well then, it’s important to have your Simpsons characters dutifully completing jobs during this time of your own inactivity. The same goes for any time you’re occupied in real life. Any time you can’t be tapping your phone and managing Springfield, all characters should be busy and all buildings should be maturing in accordance to when you’ll be able to get back to the game.

The principle here is to make activities in your life fit around what is truly important. Prioritize where your time and energy should be spent first and build the rest of your timeline off of that. The more you can identify what is going to happen and when it is going to happen in your life, the more productive you can be.

Be careful though… The more involved you become with The Simpsons Tapped Out, the more you’ll start scheduling your real life around your tapping. Trust me, it can get ugly.

Having Your Essential Stock Pile Of Cash

This is something you’ll read on probably every financial advice website, blog, pamphlet and brochure in existence: Have some sort of savings set aside for the unexpected and emergencies. It’s sound advice and it is essential. Tapped Out follows a general plot line of rebuilding Springfield after a meltdown, but it’s a pretty loose plot and things come up all the time that require moderate and large amounts of cash in order to move on. If you don’t have this cash on hand, you can do one of two things:

    Remain as is and become stagnant.
    Earn more cash and move on.

Obviously becoming stagnant is not an option otherwise you wouldn’t be reading these words right now. You’d be in a state of inaction growing mold. The only other option is to earn this cash. Fine. So you go on an earning blitz, using our prior principle and maximizing your efficiency by utilizing all characters in sync with your own real life schedule. Oops, then something else comes up, you get three new tasks ALL AT ONCE!! You have to build The Businessman’s Social Club, El Chemistri AND The Adult Education Annex all right now! And you need almost five hundred thousand dollars to do it! If you would have had a stock pile of cash already in your coffer, you would have these things taken care of and rollin’ on easy street. But instead, you’re bogged down in the monotony of tapping house after house after house…spending hours on a damn game that is supposed to be enjoyable but is honestly feeling like a job now! How did this happen!? It doesn’t matter, you just need to keep tapping. You lose sight of the true point of what you’re doing.

Our real life parallel? Quite similar to the game, actually. When you find yourself in a life situation in which having some savings set aside would have been helpful, you find yourself working exponentially harder than you should have to because you were ill prepared. Your hard work is compounded with stress and anything else that may come up in life at the same time. Life has a way of doing that as I’m sure you know… beating you down several times in a row, or from several angles simultaneously. You become engulfed and dare I say ensnared by this situation. You’re scrambling to come up with a few hundred bucks to fix your car to get to and from work and drive to the grocery store and pick up your kids. It’s a few hundred dollars, not the end of the world and in the grand scheme of things, not even a big deal. But. That small amount of money is causing you to lose sight of what is important. If you had already had that money set aside for an emergency such as this, you’d be grateful for it and think highly of yourself for your foresight and planning, your car would be fixed and you’d have moved on with life, able to focus on bigger, better and more important things. Much better situation, yeah? But instead, you’re stuck with all your available energy and focus on the lack of a few hundred bucks. I don’t wish that for you. Save some damn money.

Exploit Your Strengths

Some of the characters in The Simpsons Tapped Out are better at earning money and experience than others. Some of the buildings earn more than others. That’s really all I have to say about this particular aspect of the game, it’s pretty straight forward.

Moving on to real life. If you’re anything like me or any other guy on the face of the globe and you see an athlete in the peak of their performance, you instantly become inspired and put on your running shoes with the intention of running ten miles. You hit the floor and immediately begin doing push ups. Or if you see anyone with any great level of success, you latch on to that energy and let it move you. That’s great! Harness that! But harness it in the appropriate ways and in the appropriate areas.

If you’re a thirty one year old white guy who stands under six feet tall and you watched the NBA finals recently, like me, you may have been inspired to practice your game a bit. Now I’ll just say this: I have zero chance of playing in the NBA. This is an extreme example, sure, but it illustrates the extreme end of this point. I know I’m really bad at basketball, I’m not seventeen years old or however old players start professionally playing these days, and I’m not tall. I know what where my zero percent chances lay, I know my weaknesses and thankfully, I know my strengths.

Learn what it is that you’re naturally good at. Become better at it and use that to your advantage. Carve out a niche for yourself, develop your own position, start your own company. Do whatever it takes to make your strengths work for your to the highest degree possible! Why wouldn’t you!?

Get Good At Networking

In The Simpsons Tapped Out, you can add friends and travel to their unique Springfield and carry out tasks to earn money and experience. These same friends, in turn, can come to your Springfield and carry out tasks. It’s a mutually beneficial situation. As it’s put in the game, “Add a friend — it’s a social game for crying out loud!” Maintaining these relationships takes minimal effort and the returns FAR outweigh the cost! Gaining the ability to visit and see others’ Springfields also gives you creative ideas and inspiration.

Knowing people opens up opportunities to you that may otherwise be closed off. If you want to set yourself up for the best shot possible in whatever it is you’ve chosen to do in this life, it’s only going to benefit you to know people. And to know more people is simply more potential opportunity. Also, when you’re walking around town with someone and people keep saying hi to you, you’re perceived as kind of a big deal, which is pretty rad. My friend Ben is a networking genius! I’m currently in the enviable and advantageous position of being mentored by him in several areas and this is one area I’m more than happy to be given advice. Surrounding yourself with people who can give you such valuable advice is one of the finer moves a human can make in this lifetime.

I am going to repeat this because I think it’s that important:

Knowing people opens up opportunities to you that may otherwise be closed off.

The Instant Gratification Of The Donut

In Tapped Out, as may not surprise you, donuts play a key role in the game. Donuts are exceedingly rare in game play, but incredibly valuable. You begin with a handful and can slowly accumulate more through leveling up and at other random times. Donuts can do a couple things for you. You can speed up the length of time a character takes to complete a task or a building takes to mature or you can purchase premium items with donuts. Let’s delve into donuts a bit more in depth. EA, the creator of Tapped Out, was absolutely genius with the construction of this game. They make donuts common enough where you can feasibly spend lots of time trying to save up for a few items here and there and get some cool stuff. Or. You can actually buy donuts with real currency. I dissected the game a bit and figured out the average cost of a donut if you were to buy it with US currency and it ended up being $0.08. Eight cents doesn’t sound too bad, but when you start looking at items that cost you 250 donuts to buy, well… it adds up quickly.

The appeal of these items with the people that play this game is stunning. I don’t normally get sucked in to “this stuff” and even I have been tempted to purchase donuts a few times just to get something.

So, you’ve got donuts. I can’t stress enough how poor of an idea I think it is to utilize donuts to speed up game play. You make Chief Wiggum patrol Springfield, which is an eight hour job and pays $275 and yields 70 XP. I believe it costs six donuts to speed up this job to take a few seconds and yield the same reward as if you had let it play out for eight hours. This pays off one time. One lump sum and the job is over. You’re also six donuts closer to the pastry poor house.

In my mind, it is a far better investment to spend donuts on premium items, most of which give you a blanket percentage boost on your money and experience earned. For instance, buying an apple or orange tree, which are both premium items and cost 20 donuts, each boost your money and experience earned on everything by 0.5%, forever. And since we’re all long-term thinkers, this is obviously better than instant gratification, right? For a somewhat mature Springfield, it’s very common to earn $50,000 per day. Having one extra orange tree will pay you, at this rate of income, an extra $250 per day, forever. Currently, in my Springfield, I have a moderate 13% bonus rate due to premium items. You can do the math. Spend donuts wisely and they will pay dividends forever.

Donuts in real life can be something as simple as looking at food and lifestyle. Donuts are a perfect parallel for donuts, actually. Donuts are great! Who doesn’t like donuts? Terrorists? Robots? If you really think though, honestly, what are the benefits of donuts? The true, good benefits? Well, they’re good right now. They give you a full, satisfied feeling when you eat enough of them. They’re beneficial for boosting your blood sugar and they’re delicious. That’s about it and those reasons are pretty superficial.

Nobody has ever needed a donut in particular. Donuts are expensive, they’re terrible for you in many ways and they have no long-term benefits. Why would anyone in their right mind want to subject themselves to the ravages of that much sugar in their bodies that quickly, essentially poisoning their bodies? Tooth decay, weight gain due to mostly empty calories and on and on. People want donuts and they want them now. Two reasons, because they’re quick and convenient and because they’re delicious. Nobody eats donuts because it’s the intelligent thing to do. If you’ve got a dollar per day donut habit (is this a reasonable amount for a donut? I don’t know) you could STOP eating donuts and transfer that same amount of money into a gym membership. You could take that same amount of money and create a healthy food habit. You could take that 25-30 dollars per month and simply save it. Simple things like that, in place of your donuts will make a huge difference and creating the habit of making intelligent, long-term decisions like this will also pay dividends forever.


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