Genre : Simulation
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: November 2005
There’s a fun story revolving around the E3 showcasing of The Sims 2 to our intrepid WorthPlaying reporters. It goes like this:
On the show floor, the EA representative showing us the game, in the middle of his presentation, was busy explaining the game’s relationship dynamics to us. Onscreen, the game presented two female Sims (characters), chatting it up and generally minding their own business. It was easy to see that they were friends, at least.
Then, out of nowhere, with the touch of a few buttons, the rep activated a debug mode, set a few option toggles… and instantly turned them into lesbians. Total infatuation city.
If you haven’t played The Sims before, or at least know a substantial bit about it, you’ve either been living under a rock for the past decade, or you’re me. (If the latter is indeed true, then you have my deepest condolences). The Sims is a game that allows you to create and influence virtual lives. It’s one of the most popular games in the world, and tends to be PC-native before coming to consoles. The Sims 2 followed the same path, and now, it’s making its way to the Gamecube, PS2, Xbox, DS and PSP just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
One of the bigger changes the game has undergone is the fact that the game worlds have a higher level of interactivity. Simply put, more things can be used in Sims 2; even simple household objects and things that would appear to be room dressing can be used to one’s advantage. In the old Sims, if a fire broke out in the kitchen, that handy-looking fire extinguisher would simply be decoration—you would have to call the fire department, and wait for them to put out the blaze, suffering the consequences of wasted time in the process. Now, you can actually use the blasted thing and avert the crisis in less time. Hooray.
Even beyond simple interfacing with environments (most things in the game world have purposes and uses, however seemingly insignificant), objects can be mixed, matched, and combined to create new ones. New items can contain new properties, be they physical, chemical, or mood-affecting.
Further along the path of customization, we have custom clothing creation—garments can be manipulated on-the-fly for your Sims characters, allowing the player to create just about whatever they want from their imaginations.
Interaction isn’t limited to inanimate objects, either. Your Sims will have dreams, they will have memories, and all of these will affect their moods, their traits, and how well they will get along with other people. Do well, and they’ll make friends, and hopefully live happy lives. Of course, don’t be surprised if your virtual person also ends up holding a few grudges against people over the course of their lifetime.
Putting all of these together, it’s easy to see how a virtual life never stops being dull. Characters can go anywhere and do anything, and there’s really no set goal except to live life to the fullest. Feel like having them lounge around all day? Feel free. Want them to experience a relationship, or start a family? Taking the steps to doing so is in your hands, without any of those horrible real-life consequences. Your Sims aren’t limited to the human race, either, as you can also take control of aliens, and use their technology for the betterment of virtual mankind, or simply for leisure purposes.
The Sims is one of those games that never gets old, and its newest installment is about to get a much larger audience. With its lasting replay value, its various tweaks and additional ways to play, and all of the expansion packs and spinoffs that often get released, it’ll be tough to get tired of this one for a long time to come. Look for it in November.
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