The current Mega Millions frenzy that has everyone running around buying lottery tickets and dreaming of what they’d do with $1.6 billion is nothing compared to playing with 100 times that amount.
That’s the figure you start with in an online, choose-your-own-adventure style game called “You Are Jeff Bezos,” in which you wake up with the Amazon CEO’s vast wealth and get to figure out how to spend it. Motherboard pointed at the game, created by Kris Ligman in Twine, on Monday.
The simple, text-driven game starts with the player waking up as the world’s richest person. Each option for spending a chunk of Bezos’ fortune comes with a price tag, and as you advance through the game, you chip away at the $156 billion that Bezos is worth.
Huge, modern problems such as repairing hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico ($139 billion) and ending homelessness in the United States ($20 billion) are among spending-spree possibilities. But paying off student loan debt ($1.5 trillion) is even out of reach for Bezos.
As I played and advanced through the game, I realized just how hard it was to spend $156 billion.
Even after hiring 100,000 teachers, ending homelessness, funding NASA for a year, abolishing the electoral college, paying back taxes to the EU, doubling every Amazon employee’s salary, supporting 10,000 artists in residence for four years each, and fixing the Flint, Mich., water crisis, I still had $90 billion to play with.
I started to get bored with being this rich.
To end the game, I donated everything I had left to Puerto Rico.
In the end credits, Ligman offers a disclaimer around some of the numbers that show up in the game: “Let’s be honest, this game is mostly just a thought experiment. A lot of the numbers here are totally fake, based on cursory internet searches, and should be taken with a large grain of salt.”
Regardless, if your financial decisions are based on working with a lot less money and solving problems related to your own ability to make ends meet, being Jeff Bezos for a minute is certainly eye opening. And it kind of made me wish I could — or he would — throw more of his real money at a variety of crises.