#455 The Sims

Posted: 9th December 2012 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , ,

200th played so far

Genre: Life Simulation
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2000
Developer: Maxis
Publisher: Electronic Arts

Guess what? We’ve reached the stage where we can now say that we have reached the point of having covered one game in every five! Also known as 20% this is such a landmark where it now seems that we may be able to actually complete this list at some point… even if it takes another eight years.

We have gotten to the routing that every -00 is chosen by myself (with Jeroen having control over the -50) so as a suitable landmark I thought that one of the most successful PC franchises of all time needed to be started. So here it is; The Sims.

Our Thoughts

I have a little bit of history with The Sims. It was actually the first computer game that I had read about in magazines and was counting the days until it’s release. I can’t remember if it was a magazine where I first heard about it or the trailer that came with SimCity 3000 but it did the job.

Either way, so I loved the look of this game. This amazing sounding game that had been touted as you being able to create your own soap opera with these virtual characters. However, as is the way of these things I was not in the possession of a PC powerful enough to play it. Rats! In the end though, I was able to play it on a new PC (yay!) and I can not even begin to count the number of hours I spent with my various families.

One thing this game did, which not only extended the time I played with it but also served as being a big money spinner for Maxis, was release expansion packs. Seven in total meaning you were able to send your Sims on dates, send them on vacation, have pets and even be haunted by a sad clown who taunts your depressed Sims. However, can we really talk about these for the blog? Well, it isn’t specified by the book so this will be the last mention of these to be on the safe side.

Everyone will know what the The Sims is all about. It drew heavy inspiration from the (quite pants) Little Computer People and in fact there were no major games in this vein in the 15 years between these titles… something that also explains how they are worlds apart.

If, like myself you are very acquainted with The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 then a lot of this game feels dated and (to be fair) filled with areas that need vast improvements. Seeing how I have played these other titles so much I am going to leave the rest of this to Jeroen since it is only fair.

There’s a number of niggles that make the game quite annoying at times. First, modern systems may experience some flickering when playing full screen – our Windows 7 system suffered from this. Playing in windowed mode (future Googlers: add -win to the command line) fixes this. Still, that’s just about technology moving on – forgiveable.

Others are more frustrating and less forgiveable. First the one that got to us most – pathfinding. For some reason, in our house – a starting house defined by the developers, so you’d assume they tested this! – rather than using the front door, the family preferred to walk the long way around the house. No idea why, it just happened and it really started to bug.

A second thing that, if nothing else, broke immersion, is that your family doesn’t start off as one. They like each other as much as they would if they just met on the street. Yeah, that means that the parents in the game refuse to share a bed. Not just off, annoying too when you bought them a double bed.

I suppose there’s a few other odd things that get to you that might be fixed later. Stuff breaks down far more often than normal, and the way time is compressed, your people will be up between 5AM and 8PM, rather than more common times (say, two hours later) – they take too long for their morning tasks otherwise and miss the bus or car to work, while in the evening there’s just not that much to do, especially when you get home. For the same reason, you almost certainly need a stay at home parent – you just can’t get everything done otherwise. Possible, I suppose, but a bit… backwards?

Final Thoughts

In the end, with the benefit of hindsight, there’s a cool idea here that just needs some more time refining it. This, I understand, will follow in the sequels, so I’ll be happy when we get to those. Until then, however, we’ve got a good game here that can get a bit frustrating to play for long.

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