The games section of a newspaper can be a tough environment for flourishing writers, what with the challenge of finding entertaining topics or games that people are familiar with However I think I would be hard pressed to find a person who hasn’t heard of The Sims.
The Sims, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past 14 years, is a game where you basically create people and control their lives. From building a house, to a career, to even a family, you dictate it all like some weird, obsessive deity. And boy, did we love it! By 2013 (Even before the release of the newest game) the franchise had sold 175 million copies, making it one of the best selling video game franchises of all time and marking itself as an icon in the industry.
I remember rushing home from school just so I could sink hours of my own life into directing the lives of others. But why? Surely our lives are just as interesting and interactive? Why were so many people attracted to this world?
Why were so many people attracted to this world?
Social Life. First let’s look at social lives. You won’t get along with everyone in the world. There will always be people who don’t find your jokes funny, who find you too eccentric or boring, or who just plain don’t like you. The same is true in The Sims; no matter how much you compliment nor how many stories you tell, you’re guaranteed to have characters who will just keep on insulting and fighting you. The solution in this case is simple, put one in a pool and delete the ladder; now wait a few days until the grim reaper arrives. Sadly we can’t do this in real life (They’d probably figure how to climb out for starters), so instead we must settle for exchanging unsentimental pleasantries and stunted small talk. I know which world I prefer.
WooHoo was definitely one of the reasons I got into the game. Being a twelve year old boy, my first dose of testosterone had just hit the blood stream when Sims 2 was released. At this point, a new topic clouded my mind, sex, or in simlish ‘WooHoo’, and The Sims was a good starter point for my research. Sadly in both worlds I came to the same conclusion; WooHoo was very hard to get and very mysterious.
Nine years later not much has changed, but I have noticed one big difference, the location. In Sims 1 the one place you could WooHoo on was a ‘Vibromatic Heart Bed’ and if you didn’t have one of them, you were screwed (Or, more to the point, unscrewed). They changed this in the later iterations but you’re still restricted to beds. Switch to reality and you can behold the sights you can see with a simple walk around your home town, late on a Friday night. Watch as your favourite municipal objects are turned into prime WooHoo stations for some young amorous couples fuelled by Bacardi Breezer’s. From playground swings to transparent bus shelters (Both of which witnessed first hand), the possibilities are endless. This is less of a reason to play The Sims and more of a thank you to Maxis for keeping it classy.
You can simulate endless stories and social situations without any sense of embarressment
Aspirations. Sims definitely have it easier here. When was the last time you opened the news paper, with a new job in your dream sector, only to shut it half an hour later because you have no experience and won’t even get an interview? We all know that achieving your goals in life can be a long and laborious task. Take, for instance, the fact that the biggest reason most of us are at university for three years plus is so we can get our foot in the door in a particular profession. Juxtapose this with the Sims and they haven’t even heard of university (Unless you buy the expansion pack but even then it doesn’t affect your working life, it’s just a way to up your WooHoo count - which is the second biggest reason people go to uni). The Sims provides a way to succeed in life with ease and in record timing. Ever thought of writing a best selling novel? Well now you can in a matter of hours and at the end of it you get to bask in your virtual glory, weirdly feeling a real sensation of satisfaction and accomplishment, and no matter how vicarious it is, boy it feels good.
Overall, whether it be to elaborately kill a classmate you dislike, or become a rocket scientist, or explore new avenues of life, there are many reason why you could easily get sucked into The Sims. It’s a sandbox of reality where you can simulate endless stories and social situations, without any sense of embarrassment or fear of failure. Or maybe I’m looking too much into it and people like it for the fact that it’s a damn good game.