You know that feeling you get where you’re really enjoying a game, really getting into it, and then suddenly you look over and OH JESUS IT’S 5 AM. Yeah – I had one of those. Again. To be fair, I’m the kind of person who really does get wrapped up in what I’m doing, especially when it comes to reading or gaming… but usually I try and pace myself, or at least not let thing get to the point where I’ve wasted most of my sleep-time. I am prone to the odd all-nighter though, and those happen more often than they should.
My latest time-sink came in the form of The Sims 3. Having been to a Winter Showcase for EA recently, I had a demonstration for The Sims: Medieval. It looked quite interesting and I was looking forward to writing the preview on it, but then I realised that I didn’t actually know anything about The Sims. Usually, in cases like these, I try and do some research, but before I even got that far I had a conversation with a friend of mine which kind of made me think that research alone wasn’t going to cut it. So I got on the horn to EA, and they airlifted in a copy of The Sims 3 for me. Ok, ok, they didn’t airlift it in…
So there I was, it was Friday evening and I was finished for the day. The Sims 3 had just arrived earlier that day, so I thought I would give it a whirl. Did some tutorials, created a sim who could have been me if I was actually good-looking, charismatic and living in a digital world (although he was also a workaholic and a geek), and I went about managing his life.
Oh my effing god… I see now why this series is so popular. I don’t know what inspired Will Wright to go from managing cities to managing… well, people, but it was a genius move. I don’t know what it is, but you really do end up caring about these little digital guys, and all the little facets of their lives that you can influence can keep you engrossed for hours on end. You get him started in his chosen career (Journalism, naturally) you get him a house, you make friends, get a girlfriend, improve your skills… there’s so much to do, and oddly enough it sometimes seems like there’s not enough time to do it.
I still wonder at the replayability of this game – once my original sim has lived his life, I wonder whether I’ll want to carry on, or whether starting again will still be interesting… When creating a sim, there’s lots of different ways you can customise their personality and behaviour, which will intern affect gameplay. There’s also several ‘life-time goal’ achievements to choose from, as well as several careers, so there’s content there… but we’ll see. There’s also all the expansions as well. Thinking about it, I’ll definitely want to pick up one of the content expansions at some point, but I’m almost saddened to see that the item expansions are little more than that – items. That element at least seems a little bit like cashing in on ultimately superfluous DLC.
It’s interesting, because on one level The Sims is not really considered to be a ‘hardcore’ game at all, and yet it possess a level of micro-management that could rival even Supreme Commander in some cases. It’s been an interesting experience so far, and I’m going to enjoy play this more. I just hope I remember that I still have a real life to live while I spend so much time managing a digital one.
Until next time.