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The Sims: Game Review
Going back in time
What is it?
The Sims is one of the best-selling gaming franchises, especially in PC gaming. The original Sims game came out in 2000. Compared to today, the graphics were very basic. However, considering how new life-simulation games were at the time, and where technology was at that point, it makes sense. The first release of the Sims was revolutionary. I've been playing since the release, so that means I've been playing for more than half my life!
Although the Sims is up to its third series, The Sims 3, I will focus on the original collection. Keep checking back for new material on the Sims 2 and the Sims 3!
The purpose of the game
When the designers of The Sims were creating the game, their original thinking was architecture first, people second. They weren't too sure that they could appropriately integrate realistic people into the game along with the buildings. However, these designers were very flexible and when they realized they could place simulated people into the game, the premise really took off and the Sims, the people, started to become a primary focus.
The purpose of the game is much like a sandbox-style game, meaning that it could continue forever and there isn't much of a point. There is no winning or losing; it's more about creating. You can create a story about your Sims, from their looks, to what their house will look like, to their careers, and their families. There are so many aspects to the game, and even more can be done when expansion packs are added.
The original Sims was very basic so creating Sims wasn't at all a big part of the game. You can create male and female sims of three skin colors, adults and children. You can also choose their clothing. In this particular Sims, they wear the same clothes everyday and have a set pair of pajamas, formal wear, and swimwear. Once you have your household ready, you get to move them into the neighborhood.
Because of the versatility of the Sims, there's not one specific way you have to play. When i first started playing the game, I would only build houses. I would spend hours building one house and while it was tedious, it was so much fun! I would be too exhausted to actually play the family and would stop after each family.
There were so many designs you could make with the floor tools, wall tools, and furniture. With every expansion pack came even more build and buy options for houses. Although there were no seasons or weather with the first installment of the game, it was still fun to pretend that your sims were safe once they entered the home you built for them.
When you first start playing, your Sims are only given 20,000 simoleans (the currency in the game) and you must build and survive with that money. There are cheats of course, to instantly get more money.
If you're not much of a builder you can also move your household into a pre-built home, which might be a better option if you want to get right into gameplay.
Gameplay: Live Mode
You could say the gameplay aspect is the point of this game, but as I said before, it doesn't have to be. Live mode, as it's called, is when your sims are in their new houses and begin to live their lives
If you choose play the true way and not use money cheats, you can look for a job in the newspaper or on the computer and start to improve the life of your sims. The given 20,000 simoleons is not a comfortable lifestyle, especially after you furnish your home. Like in real life, your Sims can live depending on how you choose to control them. Their neighbors will drop by every once in a while since you are unable to go on surround lots, or even see them. You can form relationships with them and invite them over. Everything is up to you.
These relationships can blossom into marriages and babies. The babies grow up into children. The one aspect of this original Sims game is that once a child is a child, they do not grow up any longer and the game becomes very static. Your sims will continue to get promoted and make decent amounts of money but at around this point, the game slows down a lot and you need to make sure your sims' needs are taken care of.
Needs were very important in the original sims; needs are different aspects tht are essential for your sims to survive. While some have been taken out of the game since this first release, they were similar. The needs of the original sims are Hunger, Social, Fun, Comfort, Hygiene, Bladder, Environment and Energy. Yes, your sims may die from starvation, smell bad, wet themselves, pass out, and complain about the flies swarming the plates or the lack of decor in the living room. They don't necessarily have to be comfortable and I feel weird saying that it's kind of funny to see these simulated people suffer.
The Sims wouldn't have been successful if it weren't for the expansion packs. These were additions to the base game that you could buy extra to give you more objects and interactions. The names of these packs are Livin' Large, House Party, Hot Date, Vacation, Unleashed, Superstar, Makin' Magic.
Livin' Large gave more objects, a few more careers, as well as allowed the user to have more than one neighborhood. Although sims from the neighborhoods can not interact, it is helpful when having many players on one computer, which was a lot more common in 2000 ;).
House Party was the second expansion where you were given party-related objects that would help you throw great parties. This pack focused solely on parties with new NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) such as dancers, ghosts, caterers, and Drew Carey. Drew Carey shows up in a limo if your party is good enough, which I think is hilarious. Sims are messy so make sure you have a decent sized house for dirty dishes, Although, throwing a party in a tiny box might get interesting.
Hot Date's biggest feature was being able get off your lot and go downtown by calling a cab. There's some shopping, restaurants, and recreational activities. You can call up a friend, ask that hot sim down the street out, or just go solo. Make sure your needs are met though because many of them cannot be fulfilled downtown. There are a few lots downtown if you want to switch things up. This expansion didn't come with too many new items but it did come with a heart-shaped hot tub to "play in" (hint hint) as well as 40 new interactions. Relationships were the main premise for this addition
Vacation was probably my favorite expansion pack. I remember saving up my allowance to buy this. You could take your family on vacations, from tropical climates, to camping, to a winter climate. There is no day limit on how long you have to stay, as long as you have enough money. There are many fun activities for your sims such as beach volleyball and water balloon fights. One thing I don't like about this expansion pack is that on vacation there are no other families on the lot at night. Sims come to the vacation lot during the day and leave at night. This might have been because technology wasn't quite there.
Unleashed: Next came pets which have returned in every series since. I find pets annoying in the game. They require way too much attention, more than in real life. They destroy furniture and I find them annoying. I do like having the pets around the neighborhood because it makes the game more realistic. This pack also expanded the neighborhood by more than double the lots.
Superstar is based around Hollywood and being famous. Its Hollywood-equivalent is called Studio Town where you'll learn how snobby celebrities are as you beg them for their autograph or try to strike up a conversation. You can gain stardom in this expansion pack by being a model, actor, or singer. I wasn't really a fan of this expansion. My sims had a hard time interacting with many objects in Studio Town and I wasn't too interested in many of the them.
Makin' Magic was my least favorite expansion pack because i like my game to be realistic but basically it's about spells and magic. You get to Magic town by jumping into a hole in the ground.. I found Magic town boring and I felt like they rushed the expansion and technology was not quite ready for what the game designers wanted to do with this one. It's not bad but it's not for everyone.
The lots from the expansions can be viewed at the top of the neighborhood screen and you can enter these other "worlds" and customize them, from the restaurants in Downtown to the Vacation lots.
Keep Checking Back!
If you're interested in the later versions of the Sims such as the Sims 2 and the Sims 3, I will be posting about those in the future. Those will be more detailed because I've played those most recently and they're significantly more advanced.