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The Sims (PC)
Member Name: babajane32
The Sims (PC)
Date: 02/12/03, updated on 19/04/04 (140 review reads)
Advantages: educational, fun, inexpensive
Disadvantages: time consuming, addictive
The sims game for those who have not yet encountered it,is a simulation game where you simulate everyday life(continue reading for a more detailed discription).
The reason I have decided to write this op on the sims,is not just as it is fun and has playable gaming factor,but also to look at it in a very different light.Whilst it is unmistakeably a game,it has amazing educational value,something very often overlooked by many parents who sit playing it hour after hour.
When I discovered this game I had been playing it for several weeks before it occured to me how valuable this could be in teaching my children many social,practicle and educational values.Putting the possabiliteis to the test I unleashed the game upon my three children (aged 4yrs,10yrs and 11yrs),with very promising and good results.Read on and I'll tell you more,and fill you in about the gameplay,technical information and gameability as the op unfolds.
*What is it? And how do I play?*
As I have already mentioned it is a daily life simulation.Starting out with the option to chose a ready made family or create your own, you house them in either a ready built house or build a new one.The families start off with a fixed sum of money so whether buying the land and building or moving into a ready built house depends on their financial situation.
The Sims (the name of the people) have thier own personalities,another option you have is to alter that when creating your own family.They have needs like you and I so when building your homes and furnishing them you must take them into account.
Like us they need to socialise,take a job if they want money to buy things,need to eat,bath and nip to the loo.You have indicator bars for each member that show how much in need of these things they are.For example if their social bar is showing red,then they need to talk,or play with someone.Fail to
do this and they will be unable to go to work ,study etc etc as they will be very depressed.
Work will depend on thier capabilities and well being.An all round satisfied sim will go to work when told and work harder when they are there,teach them about mechanics (done by reading a book),get them to gain more creativity (get them painting)or other things and they will be promoted in no time at all.Promotiuon equals more money,more money means they can buy better things.
When it comes to eating, cookery skills ar worth having as the food they eat makes them fuller more quickly.Buy the better cookers and fridges to boost their hunger bars too.
All their basic needs are shown by these indicator bars,and skills are shown on another set of indicator bars.Skills are gained by a variety of actions,reading,painting,playing chess etc.,these are measured in points and each point is gained after a period of one activiy.Not only are these points useful when it comes to working or eating,but they make you a more interesting person to talk to,so the more points the easier it is to be social.
Well,that's the basis for the game,there is the option of playing a starter house tutorial to guide you through the basic steps of gameplay.There are many families and houses you can chose,and although you can only play one family at a time you can change between any of the families and save the game as you go ,so you can soon build up a whole neighbourhood to interact with.
All the actions and options are controlled by a tool bar at the bottom of your screen and whilst at first it can be confusing, all options/features are pictorially represented so it doesn't take long to figure it all out, even if reading the instructions is something you bypass.
I have toutched on the fact that you can play a range of different families and homes,and that the game can be saved so that you can build up a w
comunity,This means that you can play for a very long time,moving your families to bigger and better homes,buying them cool stuff and forming freindships between the different families you have built up.You also of course can start from scratch at any point.
Whilst you may think this has a very limited appeal and time span ,you are wrong.This is actually quite addictive and you can soon let several hours slide by in the blink of an eye,and find yourself itching for the next opportunity to boot the game up.
I also have to confess to a small side game that has occurred from playong this game too often.The sims speek their own language (called simlish)and a freind of mine and I have spent many hours trying to learn and speek this language...(how sad are we??!!).
This game has many variations and add-ons.Available amounst some are ;
Sims House party
Sims Living large
Sims Hot date
Sims 6 (this incorperates all 6 sims neighbourhood games in one scinario)
All are pretty self explanitory,and work on a similar basis.
There are also a great many downloadable patches and extras, funature, people etc, available along with an online community all available at http://thesims.ea.com/us/
*So where's the educational value?*
There are huge educational advantages to this game.
The whole concept of needing to sleep at night,eat at the right times,keep clean and bathed,learn skills and socialising are very important for children to learn,and are all too often some of the hardest things to teach them.
This game teaches them by repition,success and,cause and effect.Things that we often take for granted become obvious,like the need to study for a good job.The need to pay the bills when they come or your furnature is taken away.All these things are important lessons to be
nd to teach.
Even the apects of socialising can be hard for children to grasp,but here they are learned in a simple and obvious way.If you try and kiss someone you have only just met ,then they will get very corss with you.If you talk to someone for a while,then pay them a compliment or two then they will enjoy talking to you all the more,a few more chats or visits with them and they become your freinds.Ignore them for a long time and they will stop being your freind.The more freinds you have the easier it is to keep your sim happy.
Feeding your sim correctly is important as is sleeping and bathing.You have to cook your dinners,take a bath,go to the loo and many more tasks other wise your sims won't be able to do to other things,and will end up collapsing or wetting themselves(something my sons find very funny).
Even keeping your home properly protected by burgelar alarms and smoke detectors can save you from fires and other unfortunate things,so there are safety issues to be learned as well.
Chose to adopt or have a baby and there are parenting skills to be learned.Forget to feed the baby and social services swoop down and take it away!!
As some of you know,I have an Autistic son,who by his nature finds any social and learning situations difficult.This game has given him hours of social stories and learning processes that he is able to cope with as it is in a game format.The benifits for him have been uncaluable,but I also have two other children aged 4 and 11.They too have benifited from this game,and although my 4 year old still has some difficulty navigating all the control panels,she is learning and playing this game very well.
Whilst this is still only a game,and I must say suitable for almost any age (from kids to grandparents),it's usefulness as a learning tool in everyday life should be exploited.
*Technical data/system requirements.*
Absolute minimum -
Intel Pentium 200MM
100MB hard-drive space
2MB Video Card (DirectX 7 compatible)
SoundCard (DirectX 7 compatible)
Windows 95 or 98
Intel Pentium II 300
400MB hard-drive space
8MB Direct3D compatible Video Accelerator (DirectX 7 compatible)
Needs The Sims installed to play
This is a great game for almost anyone and it has added advantages for children.
It has minimal system requirements and is easy to install.
I would definately reccomend this to anyone who thinks it might be their "cup of tea".
You should be able to pick this game up for around £20 to £30,and is well worth every penny of it.