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Video Game / Jones in the Fast Lane

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Who Says You Can't Win the Rat Race?
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An old, rather obscure strategy video game from Sierra, simulating a single average Joe's career, released in 1990.

You begin as a person with a modest amount of cash, living in a squalid apartment, with only basic education and no job - the goal is to reach high levels of riches, happiness, education and career. The game itself is styled after a board game, where each turn (representing a single week) the player moves between various buildings on the board to buy things, work, get jobs, leave money at the bank, etc. The game can be played competitively with up to four human players and one computer-controlled player—Jones.


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Tropes in the Fast Lane:

  • Antagonist Title: Sort of, as Jones is your only opponent should you play against him.
  • Bankruptcy Barrel: What you end up wearing if you neglect buying new clothes for a while.
  • The Cameo: The entire cast is made up of Sierra employees, including Mark Crowe, Josh Mandel and Guruka Singh Khalsa.
  • Commonplace Rare: Prices at the Monolith Burger are quite ridiculous—French fries, hamburgers etc. have prices going into tens, or even over a hundred dollars! Though they somehow fill you up for an entire week (so you shouldn't actually take this literally).
  • Confetti Drop: Win the game and Jones will drop lots of confetti to celebrate.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Some of the antics you get into during weekends fall under this category, like staying home playing solitaire the entire time or spending the entire weekend at the laundromat washing clothes.
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  • Life Simulation Game: One of the earliest examples. However, the game mostly focuses on work instead of life in general.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Most characters in the game are digitized photographs. Jones, however, is a highly cartoonish, big-headed fellow, which is quite jarring.
  • Rags to Riches: Pretty much a description of the gameplay (assuming your money goal is set rather high.)
  • Shout-Out: Monolith Burger is featured on the board.
  • Spiritual Successor: It's Game of Life in digital format.
  • Variable Player Goals: Each player can have different money, happiness, education and career goals. For instance, one person could max out the money goal and require tens of thousands of dollars to win, while another may spread them out equally and get a pretty good result in all of them to win.

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