The Sims: A Transient Addiction

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Apr 16, 2008

Filed under: Game Reviews 67 comments

The experience of playing the Sims seems to follow a very predictable arc for certain people: Brief infatuation leading to a few weeks of intense mania, followed by an abrupt abandonment of the title. It’s like chickenpox: You get it, it gets worse, then it clears up and you are thereafter immune to the thing. There are a few people who contract the lifelong version of the affliction, where they must struggle to keep the symptoms under control to make the living of daily life possible, but among my friends the game burned brightly and died quickly.

The Sims
The game seems to be designed to achieve this effect in people. At the outset of the game caring for your little Sim happy requires your full attention. Just keeping it fed, clean, and employed is an exercise in strategy and planning ahead. As you progress, the Sim acquires items that make filling those daily needs easier. The more you accomplish, the less there is for you to do. By the time your Sim has made it to the top of their occupational ladder, they have become self-sufficient and you’ve effectively put yourself out of a job. There’s nothing really left for you to do but watch.

In most other games you begin with one or two simple, base activities, and as you master them more are introduced, until you’re juggling any number of distinct tasks. In the Sims this process is inverted. You’re thrown into the deep end, and your job is to offload things until there’s no game left to play. The point of the game is to render your input superfluous. I never bothered with the sequel, because I didn’t see how I could ever play the game again. I don’t care what the graphics look like or how many lamps & wallpapers they add or what new hamster wheels they offer for the Sims to run in. These are all just different routes to the same destination, and I’ve been there.

But this isn’t true of all players. Some people derive satisfaction from the game for its own sake. They seem to enjoy watching over their little Sim, nurturing it, guiding it, bossing it around. For me that was simply a means to an end: Get All the Cool Stuff. For the true fans, it’s the point of the game.

I can understand this, because I’ve seen the reverse. Some people (of certain genders which shall go unmentioned) will watch a guy play a shooter or a roleplaying (computer) game and wonder why he does it. You’ve seen the cutscenes, you’ve beaten the game, you’ve seen the story. So why do you keep doing it? For me, killing evildoers and gathering up their belongings is a perfectly valid way to spend an evening.

I don’t think it’s an accident that the Sims – a game which features nurturing and guidance as gameplay mechanics – is popular among a certain demographic group. In the same way I’m not at all surprised that shooters – games which rely heavily on hunting and gathering – have a distinct fanbase of their own. Sure, there’s some overlap and people do cross the lines regularly, but the line is there. It’s a visible line.

Over at they have an article about Sims 3, which is still in development. Actually, it’s still in the prototype stage. They’re going back to the drawing board. The article even goes so far as to call it a “clean slate” approach. They know they want to expand the scope of the game so that your Sims can travel around the neighborhood freely, but beyond that they claim everything is up for grabs.

So, at least one aspect of The Sims 3’s design was firm from the very first meeting. As for everything else… Well, not so much. “The next step was to ask what was wrong with the Sims themselves, and how that could be improved,” Humble says. “That was the initial thought – and then, frankly, our thoughts just wandered. We deliberately went blue-sky.”

So now they are set to throw out a lot of the old Sims / Sims 2 thinking, but they have to work out just what parts of their game are baby and what parts are bathwater. This is a very dangerous move, because the answer depends on who you ask – hardcore gamers like me, or the true fans?

What drew me to the game was the underlying quasi-RPG stuff. Over time, your Sim accumulates skills and items. They could hook into that and try to make the game more to my liking, turning the title into a sort of non-combat RPG. But doing so may very well alienate the fans that have made the Sims the money-making juggernaut it is. Those people drove the community and – more to the point – bought their body weight in expansion packs. EA should be very cautious of jilting them so that they can court me.

LATER: More at Ludus Norvus and Chatty DM.


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67 thoughts on “The Sims: A Transient Addiction

  1. Ryan says:

    Oh, man, that (comic especially) completely sums up my feelings about the Sims. I couldn’t stand playing it for more than a few hours. It was just materialistic nonsense!

  2. Rick C says:

    I’m too lazy to look it up, but there’s a great Penny Arcade comic that seems appropriate to mention, the one that has the line “I’m watching him watching his sim watching TV.”

  3. JFargo says:

    *laughs* The comic nailed it for me.

    The problem with me, though, is that I treat just about every game the way you feel about The Sims. Half-Life? Loved it, got addicted to it, real life intruded, I got busy, stopped playing, put it down and never played it again.

    Same with just about every title I’ve ever played.

    *shrugs* I don’t know why this is, but the smallest break in the addiction of any game seems to “cure” me of it. I can get back into a game, given time to play, but each time the experience is less enthralling. Guild Wars, for example: Love the game, but don’t play it often, and when I do play it’s not as great as I remember it being, so I stop playing for a while. Rinse, repeat.

  4. Dan Bruno says:

    This is a great preview of The Sims 3. Hardcore types might be interested to read more about the new inventory system and buffs (!).

  5. Craig says:

    Every time I played that game, I realized that I was simply running my sim in an infinite loop of day to day life, with no room for variation and a lot of room for slipping up and losing things like my sim’s friends, which ruined his job, which ruined his wallet, which ruined my ability to get him new stuff. No thank you, I’ll get trapped in my own boring day to day life, thanks.

  6. Zukhramm says:

    on the quasi-RPG-thing. The few times I do play The Sims 2, I prefer to play one single sim at a time, trying to create some kind of story for him or her. Problem is, sooner or later my sims fall in love and eventually gets another sim into the houshold. That makes the game impossible, since I can’t in any way handle two of them at once. They both end up terribly unhappy.

    You might be right with that there’s less for you to do the better you get, maybe that’s something that’s kept me from it too, but I’ve allways had having more time to spare a goal, to be able to do the “fun” things, like having your sims playing music or something.

  7. Joe #5 says:

    Oh, man… I used to play The Sims a lot back in the day, just seeing the game in the comics makes me want to dig it out and install it again.

    For me, the game didn’t stop once all my sims’ basic needs were met. That’s actually when the game really begins. Then you can focus on relationships, expanding your family, building a cooler house, having bigger parties, etc. Once you had a large family, then relationship dynamics start really coming into play, and sims start bouncing off each other. In effect, it’s like an interactive soap opera, except no one speaks English.

    One thing that’s often forgotten about the Sims is the creative side of the game… I spent many hours feeding my architectural urges by meticulously designing houses (man, I had no life then).

  8. Tyrel Lohr says:

    I have to admit that the most fun I had playing The Sims was when I added the skins for various sci-fi characters into the mix. I would then have a neighborhood populated by Babylon 5, Farscape and Star Trek characters. It was just fun to revel in their collective misery as some characters flourished and others fell into deep states of depression.

    My playing of the game followed a similar path — playing a lot for while before burning out on it.

    I am still waiting for The Sims 2 to fall into the bargain bin to see how that turned out — but so far it hasn’t. Sigh.

  9. Darin says:

    I’m an excellent Sims 2 driver.

    Made the ugliest group of people you can imagine. Every child was taken into protective custody. Trapped every single individual in the city in the backyard and killed them. Now, its unplayable because there are too many ghosts.

    Didn’t play it again and finally uninstalled it. Wonder what the gender was of the last pregnancy? Oh well. It’ll bother me forever, but somehow I’ll deal with it.

  10. For me, killing evildoers and gathering up their belongings is a perfectly valid way to spend an evening.

    Can I use this over on my side as a RPG advocacy truism? I love it!

    Oh yeah Sims… I lived the same cycle.. I quit way before catching on the base strategies… at that point I was convinced I was only able to produce and maintain deeply depressed people!

  11. Shamus says:

    Chatty: Free to all. :)

  12. Tichfield says:

    Everyone I know who is still addicted to the Sims/Sims 2 (and there are a few) plays it using the infinite-money cheat code, and often the anti-aging cheat code, as well They see the underlying RPG as an unnecessary annoyance.

    Instead, they see it as a simulator. A wonderful Lego set that lets you build people, houses, neighbourhoods and relationships.

    Perhaps not coincidentally, these same friends are prone to writing fanfiction for popular TV series. Wish so-and-so would get together with character X from show Y? It won’t happen on-screen, but you can build a Sims neighbourhood where it happens! And then you also get to choose their clothes, and their friends, and their furniture and…

    It appeals to a certain type of nurturer, yes. :)

  13. Pingback: » A RPG Truism
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  15. WysiWyg says:

    What saved me from being addicted was time, in the game that is. I hate, and I use that word very seldom, the fact that you don’t have realtime in the game. When it takes literally 4 hours just to go down the stairs of the mansion I got (by cheating of course) it drove me insane. That and the complete lack of weekends. There’s a reason as to why we usually have parties and the like on the weekends people!

    I’m not sure if I hope that they finally realise this or not, ’cause I might just end up hooked.

    Oh, and I can tell you that my dear little sister is completely hooked, but the part that she seems to love is building and decorating houses. Go figure.

  16. MissusJ says:

    I’m with Craig (#5), in a way. See, as a Stay At Home Mom of 3 (2 under the age of 5), starting out a Sim was just like my normal life: thinking ahead by hours, making sure everyone get s to the bathroom, feeding, and making sure they get to sleep. The Sim was just better at telling me what it wanted. After doing that all day already, I was not about to do it in my free time too.

    I think I played it twice- on the Xbox, even.

  17. Jeremiah says:

    I only ever played the Sims once. Started the game up, met my neighbor and his wife, seduced said wife away from neighbor, married her, had a child. After that, nothing else I did was nearly as entertaining.

  18. Shandrunn says:

    I decided not to bother with the Sims 2 when I heard that little had been improved on my biggest gripe with the original: the characters are dumb as a box of rocks. I groaned every time two of them tried to go through a doorway in opposite directions, stood there for 10 in-game minutes contemplating their counterpart in their way, and went off to do something entirely different than originally planned.

  19. Shawn says:

    I lasted a couple of months, and bought all of the expansions even. Then I just got bogged down in having too many options and too much stuff to do.

    And anyone will tell you, you always buy a bookcase first thing, and sit everyone down to teach them to cook as soon as you move into the house, so that you don’t burn down the whole house.

  20. Feylamia says:

    I have all the Sims games and expansions and love the game. I go through phases though – sometimes I play it lots and lots, other weeks/months I barely play at all. But I do that with all games, even the RPGs. :)

  21. Jason says:

    I am an avid Sims 2 player. It’s not for everyone, I know. I have bought every expansion for it up to this point and there are still things in the game that I have not done. The beauty of Sims 2 is it combines elements of an RPG with elements of builder sims. The AI has improved immensely with every expansion to the point that if your sims get stuck on something, it’s probably your fault, not theirs.
    I think the original Sims is where most of you had your complaints and problems. Like I said, it’s not for everyone. However, The Sims 2 is a vast improvement over The Sims. Everything about the game is better.

  22. Sandrinnad says:

    oh dear….I’m not big on the shooters and I couldn’t stand the Sims….where does that leave me? RPGs :)

    For the most part though, those I know who did enjoy it followed about the same pattern as you described – whether they tried to make a happy Sim-life or just kill all their neighbours by walling them into the bathroom….

  23. Xiphos says:

    I like The Sims AND first person shooters.
    I like The Sims because of the way you can tell little stories with each person, running little sitcoms and dramas or just making interesting people, like pirates who are also master chefs.
    I alike first-person shooters because of the the skill-based gameplay and immersive environments.

  24. Rhykker says:

    Again, loving the mini-comics.

  25. Stu says:

    If you’re especially bored/curious or downright twisted – here are some interesting challenges (I know they are possible because I’ve doe them myself – but without the cheats/test mode it could be a little more tricky)

    … please don’t judge me. 8^)

    1) Include ‘Death’ in your family’s photo. (Death’s a capricious thing, innit?)

    2) turn your family tree into a cyclic graph. (this raises some issues of morality)

    3) Investigate the effects of undead reproduction. (it’s aliiiiive!)

  26. Sempiternity says:

    Oh, no! Not the “evolutionary theory of gender roles” again! Isn’t that an extremely outdated set of assumptions about a person’s behaviour? And one that has been seen not to clearly apply in many cultures…

    I played the Sims for a while, and the Sims 2 for a more sporadic, shorter while – but i know what my main attraction to the game was: building interesting & nicely aesthetic houses and setting communities in motion to watch the lab-rats run! ;)

    As an additional addendum, my favourite Sim-type game has always been SimLife… but i have high hopes for Spore (even though it’s looking a completely different sort of thing, some sort of mini-game-o-rama…)

  27. Shamus says:

    Sempiternity: I made that as gentle as I could to avoid exactly that pointless debate. Don’t even go there…

  28. lplimac says:

    I never played Sims, it’s just something I couldn’t get into. I have a real life to ruin live why would I want to play a simulation?

  29. Elise says:

    I love the sims so much that I don’t buy all of the expansions because I’m not sick of the ones I have yet when the new ones come out. I started when the Sims 1 came out and I haven’t stopped playing yet. (Well I have stopped playing Sims 1, Sims 2 is better in every way – there is nothing in Sims 1 that isn’t in Sims 2)

    I play it for the stories – I very meticulously play each family for exactly the same amount of Sim-Time to ensure that my whole neighbourhood ages at the same rate – they are born, go to school, go to university, get a job (probably – some very rich or very dedicated to family sims don’t need to work) get old and die leaving their money to their relatives and friends.

    Sims in Sims2 have wants as well as needs which cuts out the boredom significantly – when a sim acheieves a want they just want more things! You can’t even meet all of their wants but the more wants you meet the happier they are. They have a lifetime goal which once you achieve they are happy for the rest of their life no matter how much they need to go to the toilet. I try to give every sim what they want and it is especially fantastic when the wants of the household conflict. Sim A wants to “woohoo” with 20 different sims, Sim B wants to reach “golden anniversary”. I love it when they catch each other cheating and cry about it.
    I think I’m a terrible person because I like making them persue relationships with highly unsuitable people that aren’t listed in game as ‘family’ (and so no romantic interactions are possible) like step-parents, or parents in-law. Then the other sims around them get so upset and wake up in the middle of the night crying about it because it’s so traumatic.

    “nurturing and guidance” sure – but only so that I can set them up to inflict emotional torture on them. In sims 1 all I had to do to mess up the whole neighbourhood was to make every single sim fall in love with every single other sim and then throw a huge party and see how many sims I could make kiss each other before everyone threw a tantrum and went home. That was too easy and in The Sims 2 there are much more possibilities for messing up their lives by giving the sims exactly what they think they want.

    DAMNIT I love this game so much and I have to go to WORK today so I can’t play.

  30. Mari says:

    I go through fits and spurts with the Sims. The cycle you described is accurate for me to a point, the problem is that after six months to a year I feel compelled to do it all over again.

    Honestly, my favorite part of the game is the ability to make houses and crap, too. My favorite software before The Sims came out was Home Designer 3-D. ;-) And all the nifty objects. Once upon a time, a hard drive crash ago, I had the most awesome set of Rose Red (the Stephen King mini-series, that is) items for the Sims. And all the draped furniture from The Others. And lots of junk like that. It was fun to build haunted houses for Sims, basically. Or buy them telescopes and see how long it took the aliens to abduct them.

    My kid, on the other hand, has a more nefarious use for her Sims. The kid will someday either be a serial killer or a great scientist. For her, it’s just another playground to see how she can kill digital people. Sure everybody knows the ORDINARY ways to kill their Sims but I’ve seen this child devise hellish torture chambers for her Sims. Then again, she loves Zoo Tycoon for the same reason. I don’t know which is scarier to hear her say, “Hey Mom, do you think you can make a Sim eat so much they die?” or “The lions are demanding a toy, Mom. Pick a guest number…”

  31. Lily Queen says:

    Er, Shamus, you “went there” first. Why would you bring it up if you didn’t expect people to notice it and twitch over it? :) I understand the temptation to make a sweeping division there, but it’s those kinds of generalizations that hold back the US gaming industry (and make me not want to read gaming blogs or magazines). I really think it’s a pretty complex set of preferences and problems that doesn’t neatly boil down to gender stereotypes.

    I also don’t like either shooters or sims (though I do like both fighting games and RPGs, as well as non-genre games like Katamari Damacy). I don’t like sims because of the lack of story. Meanwhile, my husband is still furious that some of the Harvest Moon games have endpoints. Go figure.

    I’m almost afraid to find out if the basis of the funny mini-comic is true! More expensive toilets? Say it isn’t so…

  32. Jason says:

    About the toilets it’s not true, lily. Toilets all give the same amount of bladder relief(one of the needs for a Sim) and showers all give the same amount of hygeine. Some are more aesthetic or add things like comfort or are shower/bath combos.

  33. Kristin says:

    Toilets no; any toilet has the same bladder-emptying capacity. It’s the food – more expensive refrigerators and stoves feed you better.

    Many of my Sims never cook – I let their hunger scores get nice and low, send them off to school or work, and they eat there.

    Yes, I’m an addict. Still addicted, and I bought Sims 1 waaaaaaaaaaay back in the day.

    Sims 3 looks interesting – still Sims, but not in the same way as Sims 2, so I won’t be abandoning one for the other like with Sims 2 after Sims 1.

  34. ThVaz says:

    Dwarf Fortress is The (Fantasy) Sims, on steroids and booze.

  35. Is it wrong that the only reason I play the Sims is to try to find new and entertaining ways to kill off the people?
    Oh sure, fires are easy, drowning is easy, stuck in a room with no door/bathroom/food is fun, but even better with a clown painting…
    Just don’t try it with Sims Pets, because there is nothing more forlorn than a howling puppy fenced in and starving to death.

  36. krellen says:

    About the whole demographics fight, in Shamus’s defence he never once mentioned gender. He stated facts: nurturing people are more likely to enjoy the Sims, hunter-gatherers are more likely to enjoy FPS. That it is also a fact that there are more females in the first category and more males in the second does not make it an issue of gender roles. Shamus never stated that nurturer = female and hunter = male. You’re assigning statements to him that he did not make.

  37. Joshua says:

    What’s with all of the posts recently talking about the post’s contents? It’s like people are commenting on another blog about Shamus’s postings, and their hyperlink leaves a stamp on the reference webpage.

  38. Mark says:

    I really enjoy The Sims 2, because compared to the original they really toned down the bodily-function-management and immensely increased the characterization and personality of the whole thing. Looking forward to The Sims 3.

  39. Shamus says:

    Lily Queen: I’m holding back the US gaming industry? You know, it’s just those kind of sweeping generalizations that are causing Americans to gain weight and making interest rates go up, as well as reducing the survival rate of puppies everywhere…


  40. GAZZA says:

    I’m curious now: those of you who didn’t find the Sims particularly addicting – did you find things like Sim City, Sim Earth, or Sim Ant addicting?

    Because here’s the thing: making sure your Sim goes to the bathroom isn’t the goal. There aren’t any goals. The simulation genre is not about “here’s what you have to do”, it’s about “here’s your sandbox – go play”.

    Fundamentally, the Sims 2 is basically “playing with dolls”. That’s probably why more than 50% of the players are female (according to Maxis). It’s not so much that playing with dolls is “girly” – any geek worthy of the name at least used to own a Transformer, Star Wars figure, or what have you – but rather that the lack of goals leads to blokes thinking, “Right, I’ve got huge wads of cash now, what else is there?” and stopping.

    So simulation games don’t have goals. That’s fine though – you make up your own goals. Or you pop over to some fan site and use theirs. Check out for the best known (legacy challenge and Apocalypse challenge), but you’ll find any number of others if you look around. I certainly would never have played it as long as I have without stuff like this – but once you impose a goal on it, it becomes a lot more interesting (IMHO).

    Finally, Sims 2 is a pretty mod-friendly game. If you’re a programmer (like many of us are – RPGs and computer programming seems to have a big crossover) things like SimPE allow you to create your own additions, modify the game, and so on.

  41. Lanthanide says:

    I played the Sims for about 6-7 weeks I think.

    At the start I played it naively like a doll house and thought it was fun. However you quickly discover that building a real-life type of house just doesn’t work in the Sims beacuse it takes them too long to walk around, and it dillutes the room score by having too many rooms. So you end up making wide rectangles that combine the kitchen and lounge with 2 separate rooms for the bedroom and bathroom, and that’s it.

    Then I realised that there wasn’t a whole lot of point to the game – all it seemed to be was a treadmill of getting promotions and then buying new stuff that did exactly the same thing as the old stuff, but slightly better.

    So then I thought, well, why don’t I remodel the house. Of course that conflicts with the first thing I learnt – having a large house simply takes up your Sim’s time with trying to walk from one room to another, so there’s really no point in it.

    I think my last proper attempt was to make 4 gay couples all living in the same house with really high paying jobs, and then have them cheat on each other, but that wasn’t actually terribly fun.

    Then I spent a week or so just using the house builder to build cool houses, but got frustrated by the rather limited options available and the fact that all of the objects had fixed colour styles (like that hideous zebra couch) which made it far too hard to do decent interior decoration.

    Then I just gave up the game and haven’t played it since.

  42. Miral says:

    @Joshua: Yes, that’s exactly what they are — they’re called “trackbacks”.

    My relationship with The Sims 2 is pretty much exactly what Shamus described. I went through quite a while where I’d play it like mad, then I just stopped one day. Then a few months later (when I bought the University pack) I again played it again like mad, then stopped again. (Though oddly I’ve yet to actually *go* to University in-game — I was too busy bringing up a bunch of kids who I wanted to send to University together.) One of these days I’ll have to get back onto it and actually take them to Uni :)

    But yeah, I think my favourite bit is the house builder. My pet peeves are the rate that time flows and all the content packs (I wish they would just make them free!).

  43. Dix says:

    This is exactly how I feel about the Harvest Moon titles on consoles. They are so complicated at the beginning. Time management is master and you’re its slave. But after you have enough money and/or friends to offload the work, it becomes easy enough and repetitive enough to ignore. Since there’s no ‘automate’ feature that would allow me to sit back and watch, and no ‘fast forward’ by which I could plow (ha, see what I did there) through a few seasons at a time, I wind up giving up on the game. Sometimes it becomes a last-quarter grind just to get to the ‘endgame’ content; sometimes I just move on.

    I always suspected the Sims would have a similar structure. Here’s the thing. I’m a girl. I can get into the nurturing aspect (although I’m probably a more typical male-gamer at heart). But if your Sim is a middle-aged success story, there’s nothing left in the world for him or her to want, and s/he’s completely capable of taking care of him/herself… what’s left to nurture? Do you start a new Sim at this point?

  44. Christian Groff says:

    There’s a Let’s Play of Sims 2 on the Something Awful forums. Basically, the guy created a bunch of houses and lets the Sims do their thing.

    It was hilarious: One Sim got trapped in a bathtub by a cucumber until his needs tanked, a toddler Sim drowned(and nobody can be revived from drowning, unlike other deaths) – not by removing the ladder, but because the kid’s uncle blocked the ladder for a full day and the baby’s needed tanked, causing him to drown; and there was the usual something dying in a kitchen fire.

    Sims is a game for sadists. I have it, but I can’t install it because my CD drive is ruined. I used to use the game to create music videos by using the cheats, it is a great sandbox tool.

  45. Davesnot says:

    I think I played the SIMs for like an hour.. before scrapping the “game”.. finding the unlimited money cheat.. building a Survivor set and dropping in the current cast of “reality” show heros…

    Funny thing is.. one of ’em was actually thrown out.. walked right off the lot… now that was fun.

  46. Jeff says:

    When I play SimCity or SimTower, once I tend to get everything built up and running more or less smoothly, I lose interest. In the case of SimTower, when I got the TOWER rating, that was the last time I ever touched the game. SimCity (and it’s incarnations), I don’t even usually get around to watching everything, I build it up, leave it on superspeed, come back every once in a while to fix things, then repeat until it’s a huge and glorious metropolis. Then I revel in it a few minutes, and start flinging disasters at it until it’s utterly destroyed. Then I don’t touch that version again. :P

    The Sims, I recall I got one guy all the way up the military tree, and then I was finished with it. Sims 2 was the one where I didn’t even do all that. After a week of more or less normal conduct (obsessive amounts of time per day though), I spent a day or two building up a marvel of a loft, abusing their physics (stack two pillars, build the floor/roof, remove pillars, and I’ve got a 3 story tall ceiling. Then I had layers built into the side as living quarters directly above the kitchen, then roof access with a hottub, as well as a staircase and ‘diving board’ to the pool in the backyard.)
    Everything saved, and loaded, in the editor fine. Put it in the game, cheated for cash and purchased it to move in my swinging filthy rich bachelor… and it crashed. Character gone, and I couldn’t edit the house file anymore either.

    Last time I ever touched The Sims.

    Edit: Can’t wait for Spore though. :)

  47. Lanthanide says:

    I’m surprised you played SimTower for so long. I got to 4 stars and become instantly bored and gave up.

    Sim Ant, on the other hand, which did actually have goals (destroy the red ants, take over the house) was great fun and I played it for years.

  48. It’s funny. My entire comic uses Sims2 shots.

    Honestly I never played Sims1. I was given it, but I just couldn’t figure out how to make it work even after playing Sims2. Sims2 is ok, but once you’ve done everything and played the expansions – and even used hacks and mods other players have made.. well.. what’s the point?

    My sisters still play it and have gone to the point of recreating their family members to interact with. I’m sure there’s a lot of fist fighting and boozing there, but doesn’t it get boring after a while? I’d think so.

    When Sims Online first came out I actually sold one of my Ultima Online accounts so that I had the money to play it. So I got the game, paid the subscription, logged in, and 20 minute later logged out and canceled my subscription. Yes, it was THAT bad.

    Anyway, check out my comic. It shows Sims2 is at least good for something…and it makes a nifty coaster! YAY :D

  49. Mephane says:

    Somewhere I read The Sims started out initially as a simple demonstration tool for architects, i.e. they build a virtual house and then they had some Sims doing some stuff as a demonstration of living in that house, and people became more interested in the Sims than in the actual architecture. However I have no source at hand to prove this, so it might just be another urban legend.

    I heard this story after I had already stopped playing it any more. The funny thing: When playing The Sims, I had ALWAYS enjoyed building the house, stuffing it with furniture and the like way more fun than actually bringing your people through their lives. After some time I often ended up cheating for money just I can build any house I’d like to.

  50. TCDM says:

    I would quite possibly kill for a non-combat RPG.

  51. TCDM says:

    The humor of the above statement just hit home.

  52. John Callaghan says:

    “In most other games you begin with one or two simple, base activities…”

    (Slobber, hoarse whisper) Tell me more about these… base activities… (heavy breathing)

  53. Mephane says:

    OMG he’s screwing around with the theme… All I can say if what I see is the intended layout, then it sucks, a lot of wasted space with the sidebar being below the post and comments, the date takes up three lines (WTF?) and is surrounded by a dottet box that extends down to the bottom of the post und looks just plain wrong… D’oh!

  54. John Callaghan says:

    You see, base is similar to “vulgar” in this context.

    I’ve never played The Sims , I just thought this was amusing. I am prepared to consider evidence to the contrary.

  55. Nixorbo says:

    This is the truest thing I’ve read all week. And it’s applicable to so many areas of my life!

  56. Lonster says:

    I would strive to build the most efficient Sims house. Front door leads into the kitchen…with both a bookshelf and a chess set. The only way to the bedroom is through the bathroom. Basically, allowing them to fulfill all their needs, walking the shortest distance. The smallest footprint of used space….then I’d slap a big huge livingroom on the backside of the house, so they didn’t complain that their house was too small. :-)

  57. Oleyo says:

    A buddy of mine had a great play style and imagination for increasing the fun of sitting there watching simulated people.

    There was (and still is, i suppose) a large community of user made skins available for The Sims. So he ended up making different “themed” homes. For instance there was a house with all Star Wars characters, one with Lord of the Rings, one with all the characters from the tv show “News Radio”, one of all professional wrestlers and so on.

    The fun came as all these characters start visiting and interacting. Hilarity ensued in classic moments such as:

    Bill Macniel (Phil Hartman on News Radio) and Gandalf nearly (and sometimes actually) coming to blows every time they met, which seems fitting to me.

    Chewbacca and Han Solo ALWAYS in the hot tub together. (also chewbacca’s body fur came of when he slipped into his bathing “skin” which was amusing.

    Luke Skywalker, staring wistfully out of a window on the stairway, endlessly blocking all other sims from going upstairs.

    All the males in the News Radio home hanging out in the fully decked out men’s room, as a nod to the episode featuring the same.

    All the mundane activities just seem funny when put in the ironic context of tv characters, or epic movie heroes/villains.

  58. ryanlb says:

    My wife and I spent several hours designing and furnishing houses way back when there was only one expansion for the Sims. We’d occasionally actually play the game for an hour or two, but really we enjoyed the house design part a lot more.

    I quit playing when I realized I’d spent several hours online downloading hundreds and hundreds of custom items and skins that I was never going to be able to go through and install and try out because there wasn’t that much time in life.

  59. SaraJ says:

    I tried Sims, but realized it was the electronic equivalent of taking care of kids. And I had three of those already. Why would I spend valuable computer time seeing to the food and bathroom needs of MORE people? I get my kicks from Nancy Drew games.

    — SJ

  60. ArchU says:

    Some people play The Sims for other reasons:

  61. Corylea says:

    I love The Sims AND RPG’s. It’s not “either you’re a real gamer, or you play The Sims” — there are plenty of us who do both. And as Joe #5 pointed out, you didn’t really “get” the game. Having your sims get good jobs so that they can keep their moods up without great effort doesn’t mean that the game is over — it means that now you have time to throw parties, train your dog, fall in love, and do the zillion other things that one can do in The Sims. And one of the things that keeps the fans coming back is the wacky Maxis sense of humor — if you’ve just played the game for a little while, you might have missed how funny some of the animations are.

    My current favorite game is The Witcher (patch 1.3). I’ve played a zillion RPG’s in my time, and this is the best one I’ve ever played. I’m currently playing it through for the third time, and I can’t seem to stop playing The Witcher to play anything else. Have you reviewed this game yet? If not, go play it!

  62. Amberyl Ravenclaw says:

    ROFL! Thanks for the comic and the article, Shamus. It definitely brings back memories. (My nightowlish mother used to play The Sims 1 as well; once I woke up at 3 a.m. to find her playing The Sims, and her female Sim happened to be eating a ‘midnight snack’ at 3 a.m. ingame time! Best memories ever!)

  63. Saraswati says:

    On the money, Shamus. The changes they’re making to Sims 3 are NOT appealing to most Sims players. Most of us have told them that we don’t want our Sims dying on us while we’re not playing them, and we told them that when they announced the game. Most of us also hate this nonsense of taking away the needs bars. It’s not the Sims when you make that drastic a change.

    Throw in the effect of the three activations version of Securom, and I think the thing is going to tank. Securom has not finished biting EA, a large chunk of obsessive players are waititing to finish out the series then they’re not intending to buy anything more from EA.

  64. Blanko2 says:

    one wonders if you’ve ever played “the guild 2”

    or any subsequent release

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