July 17, 2009

Sims 3...

Let me be frank: My name is Tivy and I’m a Sim-aholic.

I had the original Sims and played it on a PC that couldn’t render more than one person at a time without significant lag. Forget having a two story house. I had more Sims get fired because they were upstairs when their car for work came because by the time they managed to make it down and out the door, the car had left.

After I had designed a gazillion single-story homes, my homicidal streak came out. I placed my lonely Sims into rooms and then removed the door, just so I could see how long it took before they died. When one Sim got sick from the hamster and then died, I turned it into a Thunderdome cage-match to the death. Who would win? The hamster that wasn’t fed or the Sim who was quickly becoming bored with being trapped in a windowless, door-less room and could no longer resist pulling out the fluffball for entertainment?

Sims, back then, were not long-suffering.

So time passed and I bought new PC’s and Lo! The Sims 2 arrived, taking me to college, vacation splendour and beyond! I could now have small families before the rendering became ridiculous and these Sims could go out to the bar or party with their peeps! I could breed pets! I could throw pottery! I could watch and giggle as irritating neighbours showed up to my house and stupidly tried to get to the birthday cake on my Cow-Plant’s tongue.

These Sims could WooHoo in hot-tubs and in changing rooms, or they could become vampires, werewolves or carry alien babies to term. These Sims could mimic real life so closely that it could bring me to tears. (Don’t mock. I’m sensitive.) These Sims were personal friends to Gods, could call the Grim Reaper up and ask for favours, or drink elixirs to extend their lives.

But I digress.

So there I was, wandering into EB Games on release day, slapping down the cash. And there I was, installing Sims 3 on my wonderful PC, built by my Azzy and full of super graphic card and RAM goodness. And I launched it and started making my Sim and was all thrilled with the customization…

And then my computer crashed.

Certain that it was me, that I must have been trying to do too much too quickly, I tried again, willing my brain to slow down and…

It crashed again.

My world was crumbling around me! How could my Sims betray me like this? And it was no minor grievance; it was an out and out bitter betrayal. I felt just like Sim Smelty felt when Sim Pikkle slapped her across the face and made her cry. What had I done to deserve such a fate?

Nothing. But Azzy made me reformat my hard drive anyway.

By the time I reinstalled everything that wasn’t a game (yes – real life had to take precedence) and sat on my hands and pretended to read a book to distract myself from the endless (should be read as 2 days) of suffering, I finally got things to work.

And these Sims could be beautiful.

I have had Sims 3 since the day it arrived in stores and I still do not have one of them fully educated, nor have I even dared to allow them the happiness of a Simmish partner. Why? Because they’re all living in mansions by the ocean in a world where the sun always shines. Their trees sway in the breeze. Their lawns are perpetually mowed. And they have characteristics other Sims have never had.

My master thief is a bit of a kleptomaniac and frequently steals signposts to prove it. My musician leads an orchestra and designs soundtracks for movies and the Sim music she makes is genuinely enchanting. My artist has taken a side path and has decided to turn to writing but has a Zen garden in her back yard and a collection of butterflies that is second to none. My scientist is still trying to figure out how to get a seed from an Omni Plant, but she goes out and whispers to garden in loving tones to her plants to strive for excellence.

They are intricate and moody and fascinating and while I don’t really get why seeds are lying around everywhere, I am consuming these Sims in tiny bites to make sure they last. But those bites… lay on my tongue and I savour them for hours. Even now, having just turned my mind to the Sim seashore, with the tide in perpetual motion, I find myself looking off in the distance relaxing.

But where there is a pro, there is a con.

The customization improvements are wonderful and the different professions are good, but after investing hours in a Sim, I don’t like her losing all her skills just because I’ve checked in on her neighbour. The architecture improvements are exceptional and I am surprised at how elaborate I’ve been able to make their homes, but these Sims still have their “path” and I hate watching them follow it.

I don’t like the simultaneous aging and have turned it off.
The collections are interesting but I don’t understand the point of them. The new wants and promises are neat, although they can be a little too cyclical. We can walk them work themselves, but then why does their car still come?

We cannot actually enter the town buildings and we can’t swim in the ocean, but we still explore the mausoleum and can swim in the pools. And I’m not sure I’m happy with the fact that if I don’t take a class in something first, I can’t learn it. I like that the time-spans for some things are more realistic, like eating, but things like bathing still can take forever and a day.

So, there it is: evidence in black and white that I’m a Libra. It’s good. It’s bad. I can’t make up my mind.

But these Sims are beautiful and live in a place I wish I could live some days.

For whatever it was worth,
<3 Tivy