Discovering what life is about

Play the levels of the game of life

Life Is a Game. This Is Your Strategy Guide.


Play the levels of the game of life


Real life is the game that — literally — everyone is playing. But it can be tough. This is your guide.



You might not realize, but real life is a game of strategy. There are some fun mini-games — like dancing, driving, running, and sex — but the key to winning is simply managing your resources.


Most importantly, successful players put their time into the right things. Later in the game money comes into play, but your top priority should always be mastering where your time goes.



Life begins when you’re assigned a random character and circumstances:


Play the levels of the game of life


The first 15 years or so of life are just tutorial missions, which suck. There’s no way to skip these.


Young adult stage

As a young player, you’ll have lots of time and energy, but almost no experience. You’ll find most things — like the best jobs, possessions and partners — are locked until you get some.


This is the time to level up your skills quickly. You will never have so much time and energy again.


Now that you’re playing properly, your top priority is to assign your time as well as possible. Every single thing you do affects your state and your skills:


Play the levels of the game of life


This may sound simple, but the problem is you won’t always know what tasks to choose, and your body won’t always obey your commands. Let’s break it down.


How to obey your own commands

Many players find that when they choose to do something — say “go to the gym” — their body ignores them completely.


This is not a bug. Everybody has a state, which you can’t see directly, but looks something like this:


Play the levels of the game of life


If your state gets too low in one area, your body will disobey your own instructions until your needs are met. Try studying when you’re exhausted and hungry, and watch your concentration switch to Twitter.


Your willpower level is especially important. Willpower fades throughout the day, and is replenished slightly by eating, and completely by a good night’s sleep. When your willpower is low, you are only able to do things you really want to.


Every decision you have to make costs willpower, and decisions where you have to suppress an appealing option for a less appealing one (e.g. exercise instead of watch TV) require a lot of willpower.


There are various tricks to keep your behavior in line:


Keep your state high. If you’re hungry, exhausted, or utterly deprived of fun, your willpower will collapse. Ensure you take consistently good care of yourself.

Don’t demand too much willpower from one day. Spread your most demanding tasks over multiple days, and mix them in with less demanding ones.

Attempt the most important tasks first. This makes other tasks more difficult, but makes your top task more likely.

Reduce the need to use willpower by reducing choices. If you’re trying to work on a computer that can access Facebook, you’ll need more willpower because you’re constantly choosing the hard task over the easy one. Eliminate such distractions.

A key part of playing the game is balancing your competing priorities with the state of your body. Just don’t leave yourself on autopilot, or you’ll never get anything done.


Choosing the right tasks

Choosing the right tasks at the right time is most of the game. Some tasks mostly affect your state, e.g.:


Play the levels of the game of life


Others mostly affect your skills:


Play the levels of the game of life


You need to put time into things that ensure a healthy state — like food and sleep — to keep your willpower high. And then you need to develop your skills with what you have left.


Some skills are more valuable than others. Good ones can open up whole paths like a tech tree:


Play the levels of the game of life



Others are dead ends:


Play the levels of the game of life


Combinations of skills are the most effective. It’s very hard to max out one skill to be the best — in fact, that’s often impossible. But it’s much easier to get pretty decent at lots of related skills that amount to something bigger, e.g.:



Play the levels of the game of life



See how psychology just helped you become both rich and attractive? You should study that.


Where you live

Your environment has a constant impact on your stats, skills, and your chances of leveling up.


It’s possible to play the game well almost anywhere, but it’s a lot easier in certain places. If you’re female and in the wrong country, for example, you can’t unlock many achievements.


The odds of anyone being born in their optimal location are virtually zero, so research your options, and consider moving early. Location is a multiplier to all of your skills and states.


Finding a partner

Attraction is a complex mini-game in itself, but mostly a byproduct of how you’re already playing. If you have excellent state and high skills, you’re far more attractive already. A tired, irritable, unskilled player is not appealing, and probably shouldn’t be looking for a relationship.


Play the levels of the game of life


Early in the game it can be common to reject and be rejected by other players. This is normal, but unfortunately it can drain your state, as most players don’t handle rejection or rejecting well. You’ll need to expend willpower to keep going, and willpower is replenished by sleep, so give it time.


80 percent of finding someone comes down to being your most attractive self, which — like so much in life — just means putting your time in the right places. If you’re exercising, socializing, well nourished and growing in your career, you will radiate attraction automatically. The remaining 20 percent is simply putting yourself in places where you can meet the right people.


Money money money

Later in the game you’ll have to manage a new resource called ‘money.’ Most players will find money increases throughout the early game, but that this actually introduces more problems, not less.


Play the levels of the game of life


The most important rule of money is never to borrow it, except for things that earn you more back. For example, education or a mortgage can be worthwhile (but are not necessarily so, depending on the education or the mortgage). Borrowing to buy new shoes is not.


Depending on your financial ambitions, here are a few strategies to bear in mind:


- Not fussed about money. The low-stress strategy: simply live within your means and save a little for a rainy day. Be sure to make the best of all the time you save though, or you’ll regret it.


- Well off. Choose a career and environment carefully, and be prepared to move often to move up. You’ll need to invest heavily in matching skills, which will cost you time, and be careful not to abuse your state or you’ll burn out.


- Mega rich. Start your own business. It’s almost impossible to get rich working for someone else. Riches do not come from work alone, they come from owning things — assets — that pay back more than they cost, and your own company is a powerful asset you can create from scratch. Compound your winnings into more assets, and eventually they can remove your need to work at all.

Later life


Your options change as the game progresses. Marriage and children will reduce your time and energy, and introduce more random elements into the game (“Emergency diaper change!”). This makes it harder to develop yourself as quickly.


Older characters usually have more skills, resources and experience, unlocking quests that were previously impossible, like “owning a house,” or “writing a (good) novel.”


Play the levels of the game of life


All players die after about 29,000 days, or 80 years. If your stats and skills are good, you might last a little longer. There is no cheat code to extend this.


At the start of the game, you had no control over who you were or your environment.

By the end of the game that becomes true again.

Your past decisions drastically shape where you end up, and if you’re happy, healthy, fulfilled — or not — in your final days there’s far less you can do about it.


That’s why your strategy is important. Because by the time most of us have figured life out, we’ve used up too much of the best parts.


Now you’d best get playing.

Ref :


If This Life Is A Video Game, What Are The Winning Rules?


Play the levels of the game of life


Alex Zhavoronkov, PhDContributor


Expert in AI for healthcare and longevity biotechnology

Life as a Video Game: Starting Scores

Life as a Video Game: Starting Scores INSILICO MEDICINE

If life is a video game or a simulated reality, what are the rules and how are we being evaluated?


One approach for developing and testing Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is to create and place autonomous intelligent agents inside realistic simulations—but with no obvious objective. This strategy is not so different from our lives. We do not have a clear objective for winning the game of life.


It is a problem often addressed by religions. Many spiritual systems provide a set of restrictions, then propose a judgment at the end of life. On a distant day of reckoning, a powerful or omnipotent deity will review the choices we made, and decide whether to punish or reward our character.


For most religions, life is a test


In various traditions, we’re given a set of rules (e.g., commandments). If we break them we’re grossly punished, and if we don’t break them, we're rewarded with a "better world." I would like to point out that most worlds dangled as a reward (e.g., heaven) would never sell as video games. They do not offer an ability to play god, kill at will, or otherwise appeal to our primordial instincts.


Video games are increasingly adaptive. Many games adjust to fit a player’s need and offer alternative scenarios, quests and endings. Early decisions can result in dramatically different finales. For some, character properties can be ported into sequels. Game worlds are fundamentally expanding, and this is only the beginning.


How do we evaluate the game within the game?


Let’s imagine we are playing a video game where our performance will be monitored at every step, but the rules and metrics are not known to us. As a reference, we might think of games like SimCity, Minecraft, and Civilization, which allow for violence-free (or at least defensive) gameplay. Others, like Assassin’s Creed, require the player to kill in the service of a "greater good." We will always need to make moral choices.


As technology advances, it’s possible to live in relative peace. Hence, we’re able to consider more altruistic ways to make our game more entertaining, expansive, and inclusive. But how will we evaluate our performance?


There aren’t many factors available. In today’s economy, people often use money as a metric for success. Others value reputation, though it’s commonly tied to sums of money earned or donated. Surprisingly few people view the remaining years of their life as a major asset, and even fewer calculate the amount of good they have generated during their life.


Life as a video game: possible performance metrics

Play the levels of the game of life

A multi-parametric measurement system for human performance and achievements

How to focus on generating good?


A simple way to assess your performance in this life is to calculate the number of Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALY) you generated during your lifetime. Unless the objective of this game is to engage in violence, maximization of global QALY is one of the most promising strategies.


Let’s say we’re born with approximately 100 life years. Next, we suppose 70 years of life will be spent in good health with optimal performance—so, at birth, we have 70 QALY. As we progress in life, we convert QALY into money and reputation, and we earn experience points. Through valuable actions—such as supporting others, giving birth, advancing science, engaging in medical research, and even paying taxes to support these activities—we generate QALY for others.


It’s a popular concept in health economics, with many derivatives. If the idea is new to you, I recommend William MacAskill’s book Doing Good Better and suggest you consider reading up on effective or quantified altruism. Though I disagree with certain priorities and lines of thought within the field, I do believe that estimating QALY is one of the most rational ways to quantify individual and group actions.


In the video game of life, we must grope our way toward the best metric for our performance. If this life is a simulation QALY may serve as a form of the universal points system. At least until the theoretical limit of human longevity is reached and we will need to develop a better reward function probably focused on exploring and improving the universe.


In my opinion, the most logical path is to maximize global QALY. This means not only more quality years of life, but also more of the tremendous benefit our quality years bestow on the culture at large—more innovation, advances, and exploration. By growing QALY, we increase the net present value of life and support an abundance of characters in building a more interesting and altruistic world.


A winning strategy in the video game of life


To truly maximize QALY, we should focus on extending human lifespan, while augmenting human abilities using advances in science and technology.


It’s impossible to extend human lifespan without also developing technologies to allow us to resist stressors, including radiation. Such augmentation would allow us to explore every aspect of our environment and eventually live outside the confines of this planet.


Life as a Video Game: Starting Scores


Starting the game of life: Money, Life, Reputation, and Karma (QALY) starting points INSILICO MEDICINE

Unfortunately, all of us die, or at least this is our current paradigm. We might end our lives with money to be passed to offspring; alternatively, we might donate our estate in such a way as to bolster our posthumous reputation or benefit humanity in a meaningful way. The birth and upbringing of a child will generate over 100 global QALY, as a child is also likely to reproduce and contribute to the longevity of others. Reproduction increases but does not maximize global QALY.


Caring for an individual or a group may also increase QALYs. For example, saving one child from pediatric cancer may generate up to 100 QALY. Approximately the same number of QALY would be generated by saving 20 grandmothers from a terminal brain tumor. A very productive doctor with a few million dollars in resources may generate thousands or even tens of thousands of QALY.


But the problem with this approach is that the quality of life goes down with age, there is a gradual accumulation of the many forms of damage gradually manifesting into a plethora of diseases and everyone eventually dies.


Life as a Video Game: Final Scores

Play the levels of the game of life

Ending the game of life: Money, Life, Reputation, and Karma (QALY) final scores


Global QALY may be maximized by setting an objective to slow down, prevent or reverse the aging-associated damage. Extending the life of every human being on the planet by just one year would result in about 7.5 billion QALY, and much more in net present value. If you increase the healthy productive longevity of everyone on the planet by just a couple months, you are a QALY billionaire! Implementing QALY as the universal common denominator for individual and organizational performance benefits us all.


Setting the development of preventative and rejuvenating therapies as an individual and group objective for ourselves will have many benefits in this game of life.


Advances in artificial intelligence, electronic communication, and interconnected mobile devices have made social credit systems newly viable—this is a major innovation. As China develops its own social credit system, it may be worthwhile to consider parameters that go beyond compliance with the law. We can include many other dimensions of individual performance.


As governments continue to develop social credit systems, there’s a window of opportunity to focus on QALY as an overall metric for generated common good. Public lobbying and sentiment change will be necessary to prioritize QALY over other commonly-accepted metrics of achievement, such as financial, military, and athletic performance.


I’ve always been fascinated by Olympic athletes who spend their entire lives, their resources, and the resources of others in order to marginally exceed a record and briefly outperform another person or group. These records are generally negligible, temporary, and easily forgotten as new records are set. Human augmentation using the latest scientific advances is condemned, instead of encouraged. As the athlete and observing crowd age, any marginal achievements are easily forgotten, without having made much, if any, contribution to global QALY.


Simultaneously promoting activities that generate QALY, while switching to a QALY-oriented social credit system, would likely result in substantial longevity increases, a higher net present value of human life, economic growth, and ambitious plans for extraterrestrial exploration.


Individual and societal QALY maximization benefits

A focus on maximizing global QALY will benefit individuals, organizations, and humanity INSILICO MEDICINE

Productive scientific research into the extension of human longevity results in more QALY than any other activity. One of the most popular approaches for achieving this goal is SENS proposed by the world's most famous biogerontologist, Dr. Aubrey de Grey. SENS recently got a major boost with the advent of Jim Mellon's Juvenescence empire and other notable ventures. Longevity biotechnology is turning into an industry—and rightly so—with credible VCs, pharmaceutical companies, and academic groups joining the fight on aging.


Massive convergence of IT and biomedicine is underway, and many concepts unthinkable just a decade ago are now possible. The AI revolution in aging research (abundantly covered by Forbes contributors) is advancing rapidly. In many areas of the field, pretty much anyone can join and contribute toward increasing global QALY. In a recent perspective article, I outlined the several practical benefits of treating aging as a staged disease to get a better and more holistic understanding of the many biological processes using the recent advances in AI. In my next article for Cognitive World, I will cover the intersection of longevity and AI.


In my opinion, the best strategy for winning this game of life and experience its most exciting quests is to focus on extending human lifespan while augmenting human abilities with advances in science and technology.


Join the longevity quest and let's maximize global QALY together. And if we expire along the way, the world will be a better place when we respawn and play again.


Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD

Ref :


The Game We Are Playing Is Life Itself

Let’s pretend that The Game we are playing is life itself. Everyone is always playing The Game. Sometimes you remember that life is a game, and that’s when you win the game. When you remember that all of life is a game, and your true purpose is simply to enjoy playing the game, and becoming a better player (that is, a better person) by making mistakes and learning from those mistakes, and by suffering and becoming a more empathetic soul, then in those moments the stress of life melts away. You have won The Game.


At various times in this book I have said something to the effect that everything is already perfect, so relax. Maybe perfect isn’t the right word, because obviously everything isn’t perfect. Maybe the right word is “whole”, or “complete”.


Imagine buying a video game. When you open up the box and plug in that little cartridge (I know they don’t come in boxes anymore, but bear with me, I’m old) the game is already complete. It has a beginning, a certain number of levels, and an ending. You start the game knowing very little and you end up beating the last boss, or whatever the final level requires of you.


If, at level 3 of a 12 level game, you look around and say “this game sucks, I don’t know how to proceed, everything is challenging, I can’t get ahead” then you might not think the game is perfect, whole, or complete.

But the point of the game is to challenge you. The point of the game is to slowly teach you how to become a better player so that you can advance through the levels and “win” the game. The point of the game is the game itself. The struggle and the growth and the enjoyment. Mostly, the enjoyment, because if the game isn’t fun, why bother?


Someday you might realize that it can all be enjoyed. Someday (maybe today) you can realize that every obstacle, every struggle, every painful experience is exactly what you need at that moment.

And every “reward” you are grasping for might be exactly the right thing necessary to motivate you to grow stronger in that area of your life. Wanting a beautiful lover might help you care more about looking slightly more attractive. Wanting an intense new surround sound stereo might help you slog through a second job. Or whatever. The point is that the supposedly shitty parts of life are there for your benefit. Everything negative is positive. Is that more trite bullshit? More inane rationalization? Maybe. But it works, doesn’t it? Admit it. Accept it.


And that’s why games are such a great analogy for life. You play games, you don’t work them. In the same way, you should play life. Only you can learn how to overcome your own obstacles and win your own game.

You are the only person who can enjoy playing your life. You are living a single-player first-person choose-your-own-adventure from inside your skull.


Stop looking around at your level 3 existence and complaining that everything is not how you want it to be. Figure out how to get better, get stronger, and move forward to ever-higher levels. You might never win, but you can always play.


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