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How to make your own life go away
The Sims (PC)
Member Name: sersha
The Sims (PC)
Date: 22/10/03, updated on 22/10/03 (1282 review reads)
Advantages: very entertaining, completely absorbing, good graphics
Disadvantages: gets boring after a while, could take over your life
When her child (she's not actually sure who the father is) comes home from school, she manages to get out of the hot tub for a bit and listen to her, like any good mother would. But her child is struggling at school, and if she doesn't get better grades soon she's going to end up being sent away to military school. As if all that wasn't enough to cope with, she's just had a baby, and it screams and screams and needs fed and played with and sang to all the time.
This woman (Sharmila Mole) plagues my thoughts, in the car, at work, while shopping, and even when well…. you know. Her life, and the life of those around her, is beginning to take over my own. Everything happens in inverse proportion. The more time I spend trying to help her improve her skills, the more my own suffer. The more I try to get her to interact with neighbours and friends, the less time I spend talking to anyone myself. And the more time she spends "playing" in her Vibromatic Heart Bed, the less time I find myself… well, you know.
You know, cos you'd have to be living on planet Zog not to know that Sharmila Mole is a Sim. As are Naveed Mole, Richard Mole (nee Branson - he's rich), Dave Mole, Frankie Mole, Little Sharmila Mole, and Sylvie Marie Mole. None of them actually has one single atom in the whole of their constitution, yet I find myself making sure they are all safely tucked up in bed at night before I can go there myself and have peaceful dreams about the day they have a party with friends and don
39;t wake up too knackered to go to work.
The Aim of the Game
Anyone can have a Sim family. But not anyone can have a happy and contented Sim family. Sims have certain requirements that must be met, indicated by green bars which drop to red when their needs are wanting. Every Sim needs looking after: since they tend to do what they like, if left alone, rather than what's good for them. You are God in this game: you control their levels of hunger, comfort, energy, fun, sociability, hygiene and even their bladder. You create their personality at the outset, and determine how playful they are, how serious, how tidy. If it goes horribly wrong, it's all your fault. You even get to choose their "skins" – their face, their body, and their clothes.
My husband builds fantastic Sim Houses, but he doesn't play Sims. He enjoys the creative part of it, leaving me to sort out the relationship crises. Typical. Of course you don't have to build your own house, or even create your own Sims. There are some already there just waiting for you to play if you'd rather start that way, as well as a tutorial house, which is always a good idea for a beginner.
You want to build your own? You can choose from one of 5 neighbourhoods in which to build a house - but bear in mind that you can't move a family from one neighbourhood to another, and that Sims can only interact with Sims in their own neighbourhood. If you run out of plots, you can always evict your Sims, demolish their house, and start again on a new plot.
The size of your plot can vary depending on how much cash (Simoleans) you have to spend. The bigger your initial outlay on spending, the less you will have to spend on important things to put in your home - like toilets and fridges and beds!
In the building tools section you'll find tools to help you create walls
, wallpaper them, put down flooring tiles, plant flowers, put in stairs, build swimming pools, add windows, roofs, and alter the terrain to suit yourself. You can build houses on two levels, and add balconies, picket fences, rose bushes, pink storks, whatever you desire.
It could all get completely out of hand. You could begin to take an interest in the dozens of Sim-devoted websites and look at their designs for houses, download extra stuff from the Maxis website, even create your own Sim people (using photographs) ... it all depends how far you want to take it.
It's not a bed of roses looking after a Sim (unless you plant one). You have to keep those green levels up, which can be hard enough with one adult: if you stick six in your house, you will be seriously pressed to keep them all happy. With this deluxe version, you get a whole load of things you can buy which enhance your Sim lives. Examples are the woodworking bench, chemistry set, guinea pig, and so on.
Unless you use cheats (bah!) you will need to send your Sims out to work to bring in some cash, or you won’t be able to acquire all these little extras. Sims can find a job in the newspaper (one job per day) or on the computer (3 per day.) Then it's simply a question of getting out the house in time to catch the carpool to work, and building up levels of skills to get promoted. Beware though: miss two days of work in a row and your Sim will be fired! There are several career paths with starting jobs ranging from science test subject to pickpocket ... and the skill credits your Sims can pick up range from creativity (gained by painting, or playing the piano) to logic (playing chess or star gazing) to body (working out or swimming in the pool). The more skill credits your Sims get, the better their chances of getting promoted. The job panel within each Sim panel will tell you what skills they need to acquire for promotion.
eally difficult part of Sim Life, for you, is the relationship panel. Relationship points are gained by talking with other Sims, but they can also be taken away. Sometimes Sims just don't get on, due to personality clashes. Sims can talk, joke, entertain, hug, give each other back rubs, flirt, dance, tickle, kiss, ask each other to move in (neighbours) and even propose. On the other hand, they can also get very jealous and slap each other! A smiley face means you have made a family friend, but this isn't fixed in stone: if you don't keep up with people the points simply fall away until you are back to having no relationship at all. The phone is the easiest way to keep relationships together: it allows Sims to chat and to invite people over, although on moving in, generally neighbours hang around for a nosey which gives you a good chance to get your Sims to meet them and make contact. You can't phone someone you haven't met yet!
Of course, your Sims can also get ill and die: beware the guinea pig disease! The Grim Reaper turns up when your Sim is on its last legs: you might get a chance to plea for your Sims life (I've never managed to save one though!) Then you get a little urn, which if you take outside becomes a gravestone. Similarly, if your Sims get really miserable, you might get a Clown turning up, who is very irritating and hard to get rid of!
Looking after your Sims is all about mouse control. The screen has a bar at the bottom with three sublevels: live mode, buy mode, and build mode. In the buy mode you are shopping for furnishings for the house or garden: in the build mode you are creating, destroying, or moving things about, and in the live mode, you have a panel for each Sim that you have in your house, showing their personality, their job status, their general mood, their relationship levels with all the other Sims in the house (and outside friends too).
the live mode, you simply click on the Sim you want, and then click the appropriate actions. Each item in the house has it's own little menu that appears when you click on it. So when I click on Sharmila's Vibromatic Heart Bed, I get a small menu of options - make bed, sleep, relax, vibrate, or... "play in bed." (She does that a lot, hence all her problems.) Almost everything in the house is clickable - the fish tank (feed or watch), the TV - (switch to cartoons, watch TV) - and the fridge (serve dinner, have dinner, have snack) for example.
When you have assigned the action to the Sim it appears in a small box at the top of the screen, and you can have a row of actions up there so you can see what the Sim's next 8 actions are going to be, if you are organised to plan their life that far in advance for them. Still in the live mode, you can then flick from Sim to Sim seeing what they are doing for the foreseeable future: and keeping a watchful eye on them.
Occasionally, you get stroppy Sims who just cancel their cleaning up boxes and prioritise eating instead: it all depends on which needs they need to fulfil first. There are basically two levels of actions: auto ones that the Sims provide for themselves, and actions you give them, which override the auto ones, unless the Sim is forced out of your actions. That can happen when, for example, you send a Sim to the shower, someone else is in there, the Sim gets shooed out of the bathroom, and then promptly forgets everything on the list you gave it to do.
The answer? Well, it doesn't always help, but I like to provide ensuite bathrooms for each Sim couple and always assign them to their own bathrooms. It also helps to have corridors at least two squares long so that wherever they are in the house they can pass each other easily. Too many Sims in your house and you get people jams!
I was really impressed with the graphics,
especially the detail when you zoom in close and watch your Sims dance. There is also such a huge range of stuff you can decorate with that the building part of the game never gets boring for me.
I like the idea of importing famous faces into the game so you could have your own Sim Posh and Becks and do with them what you will ...
Mainly the sounds are great: Sims playing the piano can be very painful, but children (who don't accumulate skills) are little Beethovens and can play fantastically! They are also great on the guitar. I really like my little girl saying "yummy" when she gets some food cooked from someone who is skilled at cooking. The radios play real songs, and the TV switches from real "action" sounds to "cartoon" sounds. The Sim language is quite funny: some of them sounds a bit posh. Initially I tried hard to make out what they were saying not realising it was a made up language. What really irritates me is the sound of the car outside waiting to take the Sims to work: the constant beeping and hooting is good in that you won't forget what time it is, but it's also quite irritating!
I find Sim time goes too fast, even at the slowest speed: it can take your Sim about three hours just to get out of bed, have a shower, and eat something. I always find this means I don't have time to throw a party that lasts for any decent of length of time: everyone gets too tired too quickly and I have to make them all nap or drink expresso to keep going for a bit longer.
I don't like the way it takes a Sim forever to change from one action to another. If they've started having a bath, and you tell them to stop and do something else, by the time they finish the action it can be too late. Especially annoying when they are late for work. On the reverse side, sometimes the actions don't last for very long (like
watching TV or sitting down - they sit down for a second and then get back up again.)
Getting stuck: like I said before, sometimes your Sims overlap and don't seem to be able to wait two seconds and just pass each other: sometimes they try to take alternative routes which can involve walking right round the outside of the house.
And sometimes… it gets a bit boring. Just constantly clicking actions and repeating the same sequences (go to toilet, wash hands, cook food, eat food, go to work.) Dull ...
Being offered the chance to have a baby or adopt one always gives me a kick, as does a Sim wedding. Getting your Sims flirting and relating is always satisfying. As is making new friends, or seeing Sims get jealous and start punching each other. Building houses is probably a close second for me: always fun to do, regardless of whether you put anyone in it or not!
I'm far more addicted to Sims than I was to Zoo Tycoon, Sim City, or any of the other Sim games I've tried: this is my favourite, but then I haven't got all the expansion packs and I am gradually beginning to tire of the bits I have got. I can see it wearing off quite rapidly, but I've had many hours of fun building houses and watching my Sims fall in love. As with all these games though there are limitations and once you've played it for hours and hours there isn't anything new or exciting about it anymore. But that has to apply to every computer game to some extent: none of them are infinite.
I would recommend it: but it does come with a serious relationship warning: don't let your own suffer at the hands of your Sims!
The Sims Deluxe Edition cost me £39.99 at Game. This includes the original game, the "Livin’ it Up," expansion pack which has a Sims Creator, which allows you to edit your Sims, and some exclusive ob
jects. There are plenty of expansion packs available including a Vacation pack, pet pack, pop star pack, and hot date pack, all at vastly inflated prices! (For 40 quid I think you should get the works ...)
223 MHz processor
32 MB of RAM
4x speed CD-ROM
255MB free HDD space
2MB Video Card with DirectX 7.0 drivers
Keyboard and Mouse