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Partying is such sweet sorrow...
The Sims - House Party (Expansion Pack) (PC)
Member Name: hogsflesh
The Sims - House Party (Expansion Pack) (PC)
Date: 05/06/02, updated on 05/06/02 (1210 review reads)
The worst computer-related thing that I can imagine happened over the weekend. My Championship Manager game crashed while saving. I lost it all. I'd taken Arsenal and England to unimagined heights, and was fully prepared to do the same for another ten or twenty seasons. I'd just awarded myself a knighthood and everything. But it all came crashing down around my ears.
I was suddenly faced with the prospect of not having anything to do for the entire Jubilee weekend. So I went and bought myself The Sims House Party, one of the extensions to the game that I didn't already have. I could have read a book or done something more constructive, but frankly I wasn't in the mood. I don't know why I'm bothering to tell you all this, it isn't very interesting. Sorry.
Anyway, House Party is one of four add-ons for Maxis' ever-popular game The Sims. I already wrote quite a lot about that game in another opinion, so won't bore you by going through it all again. If you don't know what The Sims is, then you probably shouldn't read this. Read some opinions about the original game instead. There are about 200, so I'm sure some of them are good. Because this just adds to The Sims, all the graphics, sound, animation and gameplay are of exactly the same (high) quality as in the original game.
Unlike the Hot Date expansion, this one doesn't really do anything too radical. The general purpose of this new expansion is to allow your Sims to invite loads of people round to their houses for a big party. There are lots of new objects to buy for your Sims' houses, and most of them are party oriented. You just have to get one of your Sims to make a 'throw party' phone call, and soon you'll have a crowd of six or seven other Sims piling round to have fun. You need something for them to do, otherwise your party will be a flop and they'll all leave in disgust. Even worse, if your party is going particul
arly badly, a mime will show up and start trying to entertain the guests. He is very annoying, and very difficult to get rid of.
You hire a caterer to deal with the food aspects. It's a good idea to buy a couple of portaloos, as the guests will otherwise all go to your house's normal toilet at the same time, and get cross with each other (most Sims like a bit of privacy while they're answering the call of nature).
There are some great new objects you can buy to liven up your party. You can buy fireworks (everyone loves fireworks, although the actual explosions all take place out of view, so you can only judge how great they must be by studying your Sims' reactions to them). You can buy a mechanical bull on which your Sims can have a ride. You can get a groovy electric dancefloor with squares that light up when Sims dance on them. And there's a campfire for them to roast marshmallows around, or tell each other ghost stories, or, best of all, sing. They sing songs in their own weird made-up language, but the tunes are familiar (Michael Row The Boat Ashore, She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain, things like that).
(The dancefloor is especially cool if, like me, you happen to have Sims who look like Darth Vader and Skeletor in your neighbourhood. Watching them dance, especially Skeletor, had me falling about.)
These are cool, because (apart from the mechanical bull) the Sim children can use all of these things. This was a big problem I had with the last expansion I got, Hot Date. While generally excellent, it did absolutely nothing for the Sim kids, being based entirely around the adult Sims' attempts to get laid.
There are a few slightly more adult objects in House Party, though. One is the 'bubble machine', a large device that looks a lot like a hookah, around which Sims sit and 'blow bubbles'. This is clearly meant to be a large cannabis bong, and judging by the way that The Sims
all loll around giggling inanely after using it, it's pretty potent stuff.
And then there's the big birthday cake. You can hire an 'entertainer', either male or female to burst out of the cake and dance at the appropriate moment, to the delight of all. Basically a stripper. This being the mostly wholesome game that it is, he or she is modestly dressed, although you can, of course, download more explicit versions created by enterprising perverts. (I did try that, purely in the name of research. All I can say is that some people obviously have far too much time on their hands. God bless them.) The entertainer, amusingly, will start flirting with and even snogging members of your household after he/she has finished dancing, too, which causes some great jealous fights.
(While we're on the subject of downloadable things, I really want to find a Richard Nixon somewhere. I mentioned the annoying mime earlier. I really want to change his 'skin' so that he looks like Nixon. I find the idea of Tricky Dicky wandering around making a nuisance of himself very funny. This is my current Sims obsession.)
And that's about it, really. I had a great couple of days playing this game. I turned the mansion of Rosalita Hernandez, Sim City's first lesbian mayor, and her beautiful but promiscuous wife Bella into a huge party paradise, much to the glee of their adopted son Sim Child (the lamest default name for anyone, ever). All this partying does require a lot of Sim money, and they were the only Sims I had who were rich enough. (At least until I found the 'give your Sims loads of money' cheat on the Web. After that I started having parties at Darth and Skeletor's love nest, just to make them dance for me some more.)
House Party is at its best when installed with the other expansion packs. Unfortunately, at least on my computer, this does tend to really slow things down at certain points. You need 32MB of
RAM to play it, and a Pentium 2 (I think), but you'd be wasting your time and money if you don't have at least 64MB, probably rather more (especially when you have more than four Sims on the screen at the same time). I have 256 RAM and a 450MHz processor, and it's usually OK, only slowing down to a crawl occasionally, but this game does demand a lot of your PC.
You also need a lot of free disk space. House Party itself is only 250MB, but when it's added to the other expansions I've got, it all adds up to a total of about 1.3GB. And the newest expansion, The Sims On Holiday, needs another 700MB (which is why I haven't got it yet). House Party installed easily enough, although if you have any of the later expansions you'll need to uninstall those before you install this, then reinstall them afterwards. I had a few problems getting the sound to work, but I think that's more to do with my somewhat flaky computer than the game itself.
All in all, if you like The Sims then this is a fun addition, if a little limited. If you're like me, and enjoy the game in relatively small doses, it's absolutely essential, as it provides enough variety to keep you amused for a few weeks. After the novelty of this wears off then I'll doubtless go back to trying to get all my Sims to sleep with each other, and then it's only a short step to arbitrarily murdering them again. Ah well.
But if you like The Sims there's no real reason not to get this.