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The Sims

I never got into the first Sims, I only half paid attention to it’s plethora of expansions or the sequel Sims 2 and it’s additions.  I had friends what played briefly and I never saw the attraction.

It wasn’t until my roommate was playing one day, the 3rd day in a semi seasonal binge, that I started paying attention.  I asked some questions and soon found myself playing my own copy of Sims 3.

I can tell you some things about Sims.  First… try it.  It’s cheap now and if you like Simulations you might find yourself telling stories sooner than you think.  But make no mistake, this is a Simulation.  You can attain a level of direct control but many of the facets are randomly generated from the game itself.

Second, get the expansions.  The core ones at least.  The Stuff Packs are just stuff, naturally.  The full expansions add content such as new careers, places to explore, venues to socialize.

Third, check out the forums or fan pages.  You can download a disgusting amount of additional content for your game for free.  Dresses, couches, house plans, makeup, etc.  I only briefly skimmed one page and saw more than I would ever probably use.  My roommate spends an hour or two there each month picking up new things for her collection.

As for the game.. You start with a single Sim during what we’ll call Character Creation.  You can make this sim tall or short, fat or skinny.  You pick traits like personality, favorite foods and life goals.  You can expand your sim to a full family adding children from toddler to young adult, a spouse.

Gameplay focuses around tasks like cleaning up around the house, watering plants.  A context sensitive menu appears on each thing you click on to offer you options.  More options open if you have certain skills.  I once had a sim who could fix the TV when it broke and managed to modify the Oven to be Self-Cleaning.  Of course, this didn’t mean jack when he tried to fix the teleporter after a rigorous workout and wound up electrocuting himself and died.

On the Sims in your immediate family are within the range of your control, a green gem called the plumbob hovering over their head to signify focus.  You can meet other sims, call them up for chats or invite them to parties.  If you manage to woo them into your family as a married partner then you get them and all their assets to command as you wish.  Similarly, if they leave your family you them and their possessions.

Sims have goals, dreams and desires, that they can sometimes complete on their own.  “Gaze at the Stars” is easy if you have a telescope and the sim will accommodate themselves at their earliest convenience.  In fact the games’ automation can make for an interesting ant-farm approach with you only having to perform a minimum of dialog choices.  Chief among the choices you’ll have to involve yourself in are purchases.  Sims go to work, they make dinner or order pizza, they’ll bath and clean but one thing you will have to do is buy them stuff.  Couches, bookcases, Computers, etc.  Sims will develop Wants about having a thing and you will have to involve yourself to buying that from the shopping interface.

That being said.. you might wind up spending a lot of time here.  This same interface lets you modify the layout of your house, add rooms and decorate.  A function that’s important as a house without a smoke detector is liable to kill a sim.  Add a clock and a picture, raising the decor and relaxation value of the room.  A sparse house isn’t very relaxing and your sim won’t want to spend time there.

This is a game where you can lose days playing and telling the stories to friends about your fake people.  The ridiculous dramas and exaggerated reactions.  I’ll leave you with my recommendation: Buy it, play it, see if you like it.  If you do, get the expansions and drop me an email.  I’ll link you to a website where you can get some mods i’m told “Make the game work.”  I never had problem with the base unmodified game but I hear the mods make the game loads better.

My first Sim was a guy, technically apt and aspired to the Engineering career.  He met his wife socially on the street and married her in short order.  Their daughter aspired to be amazingly famous from day 1 and spent all her time after school playing guitar on the steps of City Hall.  This went swell until Dad died one day and Daugher spent every waking moment in mourning for 3 days.  Get out of bed. Cry. Go Pee. Cry.  Take Shower. Cry.  Make Sandwich.  Cry.

It was barely over when mom died of old age and the process began anew..