Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Defense of The Sims Games

My mother has always enthused the life lesson to me that you shouldn't care what others think of you, and that you should never be ashamed of the things you like or enjoy. Even so, I've found that for the past 10+ years I have received a lot of flak from people who like to tease me because of my decade-long fondness for The Sims games. Friends of mine that enjoy playing video games have delivered such lines to be as, "So it's a simulator . . . That's it?" and "That's so boring, where are the guns?!" and "I will never understand how you can play a game for so many hours when nothing happens!"

For all those naysayers out there, I've got some news for you: The Sims and all its predecessors is not a game in which nothing happens. There is plenty to do in the world of the Sims that all of you non-simmers can't see because it's right under your nose. These are games that attract a variety of people for the many unique features that can't be found in your typical FPS or MMORPG. Now that The Sims 4 has been released (and I've already logged a fair number hours into playing it), it seems like a good time to write a little bit about what these games have to offer for a wide variety of players.
A Game for The Stylish
Whether you have a knack for arranging furniture in the real world or you have the random urge to create your own dream house, The Sims has a unique array of tools to allow you to get a real work out of the creative part of your brain. Maybe you see yourself as quite the fashionista and you feel that the Sims you create should reflect your own great tastes in the way that they look as they walk out the door.

The Sims 3 is perhaps the best game for those who want to use this game as a creative tool, because it implements the Create A Style tool (often shortened to CAS, which can also refer to Create A Sim), which allows you to customize outfits, furniture and plenty of building elements such as designing walls, floors, windows and other architectural features. This is a game where you can really let loose and there aren't really any rules. Even the laws of gravity don't apply (*Hint* using the cheat 'moveobjects on' is especially helpful with any gravity-defying parts of your creative vision)!
A Game for The Storyteller
Back in my youth, I used The Sims 2 photo album tool as well as the video feature to recreate plenty of stories using my Sims to help play out the stories and movies that previously could only exist in my head. Whether it's taking pictures in the game and physically typing out your story or filming your Sims acting out a script, you are able to tell stories in a new and unique way using this video game. These videos and pictures allow you to bring a visual element to your stories in a very easy way that would otherwise be impossible unless you're a graphic designer or an illustrator.

Not only that, but you can even play out stories withing the Sims games just by playing and creating a Sim or a family with unique aspirations, flaws and personalities. You give them jobs, build up their skills, and get to play around with how they react to others and perhaps may decide what they will do based on trying to achieve unique goals or doing your best to have them stick to the characters you have given them. The Sims 4 has a unique system where it gives you goals for your Sims to accomplish based on their personal goals and aspirations, and playing the game to try and achieve those goals is a great way to stay in character and to have a lot of fun at the same time :)
A Game for The Sociopath
Come on, admit it; there is a small part of us that would like to create a house full of people, throw them in a swimming pool and then take away the ladder (*Important Note* The Sims get smarter as the games evolve. In The Sims 3, your Sims have actually learned how to climb over the edge of the pool XP Better make sure to fence your Sims into the water! :P). In every Sims game, you essentially get to play God, and anyone with a God complex will surely enjoy creating something and then wiping it out just as quickly while watching the results. 

For anyone that might be a bit horrified with what I'm saying, you should know that the deaths in The Sims 3 are actually pretty funny. Whether it's a naughty ghost hiding in a toaster that scares your Sim to death, or having a meteor or a satellite from outer space falling on your Sim out of the blue as they're lounging on the grass, or in The Sims 4 your Sims can actually meet their maker by laughing too hard, of all things. So go ahead and pick your poison - although I'm not sure if 'Death by Poison' exists in any of the game yet. In The Sims 3 they do have a 'Death by Jellybean' that is pretty interesting, so it couldn't hurt to try that one out.

Funny story - once I gave one of my Sims in The Sims 3  the Unlucky trait, because I wanted to quickly to kill them off as part of the story of the other Sim I had in the household. But what I didn't realize is Unlucky Sims can't die prematurely in any way because when the Grim Reaper appears (as he does in every game), he feels so sorry for your Sim that he gives them another shot XD
Bonus points to anybody who recognizes the Sims in this picture :P
The Sins 4 was released on September 2nd, and if you want to give this game a shot, I highly recommend that you try it out :) Unlike other video games with a number as part of the title, it doesn't matter what order you start in - you can pick up 2, 3 or the original and can have a great time simming away. Each game offers an entirely unique experience, and there's nothing that says that the newer the edition is, the better it is. I go back and play the original game and have just as much fun with it as I do with the newest installment. So grab a copy of one of these base game today, and if you're already a big fan of the franchise, then Keep On Simming :D

Have any unique stories of your own experience with any of these games? Maybe you can list some other reasons for newcomers to try out these games that I haven't covered here? Let me know in the comments below!

4 comments:

  1. I've loved Sims for a long time too but generally don't talk about it because people think it's boring :( I like it for self made challenges - genetic and legacy types because they can be quite tricky!

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  2. I have always loved the Sims! Between the house building, the character/family creation, and yes, even the occasional sociopathic tendency there is just so much fun to be had! Definitely not a game where 'nothing' happens.

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  3. I LOVE The Sims. I don't even care if anyone has anything negative to say about it. It was one of the first games I ever got addicted to (and I seem to still be addicted to it today, haha). Did you know the original The Sims was one of the FIRST games where there was a 50/50 male/female audience split? Before, games were considered "boy" games or "girl" games. I think The Sims showed that you can have a gender neutral game that everyone enjoys - I think it paved the way for casual gaming as a niche!

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    1. Wow, I actually didn't know that! That's definitely notable! Thanks for the info Mia :) So have you picked up the Sims 4 yet, and do you have a favorite among the 4 base games? I'm very curious.

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