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The Sims (Windows)

Teen
ESRB Rating
Genre
Perspective
Theme
89
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Vaelor (377)
Written on  :  Oct 29, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars

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Summary

What do you do when your Sim's life is more important than your own...?

The Good

It seems to me that most of the reviews for this game were written waaaay back when it first came out four years ago - before all the expansion packs, version patches, and literally hundreds of both official and user created items, skins, and packs hit the gaming community...

Well, I have to say, The Sims is a game that just keeps on kicking. Four years later, and I still can't put this one down. The SimCity series came frightening close to rivaling Sid Meier's Civilization series as the all-time most addictive time waster in computer gaming history. The Sims makes Civ almost seem like a flash in the pan fad.

The sheer scope of this game makes it endlessly playable. Play with a little imagination, and you really will start to notice the hours, days, and weeks roll by...

Traditionally, the way the game was "meant" to be played, you create a Sim and you strive to help him/her excel in every aspect of his (I will use the male adjective from here on for convenience) life. In the beginning, your Sim is unemployed, homeless, and lonely. With $20,000 in his pocket and no possessions but the clothes on his back, it's up to you to buy him a block of land and build a house on it, get him a job and help him earn a living, find him a partner, maybe start a family. The many expansion packs released expand the scope even further - buy him a pet or three, take him on a holiday, make him a superstar!! It's your job to take this little virtual guy from zero to hero and everywhere in between.

But that's just the beginning...

So, your Sim is married with children and living in a mansion with his pockets bulging with cash, he's been to the pinnacle of every career path you've thrown at him, so now what? This is getting boring, right?

Wrong.

Use a little imagination. Switch to a blank neighborhood (with expansion packs installed, there are 8 neighborhoods to use) and play creatively. Make a little story. Write bio's for your Sims, and make them act and interact as your story befits. Is your military general Sim disgusted with those bisexual binge-drinking party animals that have moved in next door and keep him awake all night? Has your crazy old Sim slipped slowly into dementia after years of neglect and now lives in a house of filth and disarray which is avidly avoided by the neighborhood children? Is Robert, the successful college professor, having an affair with Jim's wife Candace, the famous journalist? Will Jim, the pro athlete, smash Robert's head in when he comes home early one day and finds them in bed together? Design, script, and enact your own little soap opera with your neighborhood full of unique personalities, and get ten times the gameplay out of The Sims.

But wait, there's still more!

With an in-game home editor which was utterly unparalleled prior to the release of The Sims 2, half the fun is just designing the houses! Forget the annoying people, crack open that lot editor and design your dream mansion, a haunted castle, or a tiki dream house made entirely of bamboo (yes, even the TV and toilet!). Get away from the boring modern workaday life of your regular Sims with hundreds of unique downloaded item sets, clothing, and building tools, to create anything from an opulent Roman villa for your decadent orgies, a medieval castle for your dignified monarchs to rule, or a Presidential White House from which your political Sims can rule the western world! Or if Western is your thing, put your steer's horns over the bar, your hitching post out the front, and watch your Sims backside on those swinging doors as you build the Wild West saloon of your dreams!

But okay, so history and fantasy aren't your thing, right? You're a more sensible, down-to-earth kinda person, hey? So, forget the fun - the Sims building editor is surprisingly useful as an architectural design tool! Go ahead - make a exact working replica of your own real-life house! Then knock out that back wall and see what your home would look like if you installed that indoor pool you've been thinking about! Test your memory by recreating homes you lived in as a child - can you really remember where every little household item was placed? With enough time and patience, you can fill a whole neighborhood with simulated houses from your real life, and then renovate, demolish, or just see what a Sim would think of your actual house!

And as clich├ęd as it may sound to the uninitiated - this is just the beginning....

The Bad

Like I said: The Sims is - and don't mistakenly think I'm exaggerating here - as addictive as crack. Look through the other reviews here - I'm not the only one to say this. If you play this game for ten minutes and find you enjoy it, take my advice: put it down for a moment, and SET YOUR ALARM CLOCK, or you will forget you exist until starvation, dehydration or exhaustion finally claim your addicted body.

Seriously, this game should come with a warning label. I couldn't tell you the number of times I've sat down to play this game in the early evening, and looked up from the monitor an hour later to see the sun rising outside. "What the?! Where did the whole night go?!" Oh, that's right - your Sim had three promotions, got a new girlfriend, and added another wing to his house today.

The Bottom Line

I once said in regards to Civilization, and I say again here with twice the emphasis: If you have a job that you're expected to show up to, if you have family or relationship commitments, if you have health problems, an addictive personality, or anything else that is important to you and needs your attention in real life - don't play this game. If you let it, The Sims will consume your life until you are nothing more than a husk who only exists for tiny virtual people to thrive on your energy...