Third Semester Simlish

I skipped playing The Sims 2 on the grounds that The Sims didn’t entertain me for very long.  There reached a certain point where my little computer people had exhausted all their tricks, that I had seen all the furniture of consequence, and the sim-ulated relationships they conveyed failed to evoke much in the way of sim-pathy from me.

Others’ Sim Appeal

People play games for different reasons, and the fascination with The Sims is reminiscent of when I used to work at the library and I notice several the library computers hijacked by girls who would spend hours looking at pages and pages of pictures of strangers in various social situations.

Now, as a fellow who tends to use his computers for playing computer games, staring at strangers’ home photos seems like one of the least entertaining things they could be doing to pass their time on the computer.  What edge are their cunning little ids pulling from that experience to so drive this madness?  It seems to be a sort of emotional eroticism of sort, albeit I’m quick to interject one not so severe as to qualify for societal scorn.

I’m not so emotionally dead as to not find the appeal of people engaged in happy acts, but at the same time I’m logically driven enough to see that there’s definitely an underlying characteristic of baseless addiction beneath it.  Over-fixation on life’s little pleasures remain just that: a strange flaw that has evolved in the human character.

My Sim Appeal

In any case, I’m fairly enjoying The Sims 3 for the reasons I can enjoy it: it’s very much a fascinating environment to consider from an artificial intelligence and even simulated social environment perspective.  The main thing Sims 3 removes is confinement – your Sims can now leave their homes and go to down to other Sim’s houses and walk the neighborhood.

This was something partially possible through expansions before, but not as one single simulation as Sims 3 offers it.  A complete seamless transition from location to location is a formidable technical feat, and it brings a great stride with it.  The Sims not a one-home simulation anymore, it’s now a whole community microcosm.  Fascinating.

Overall Score: Not Bad At All

Complain all you like about how Sims 3 didn’t innovate enough from The Sims 2 – I got around that by simply not playing it.  Further, I think the micro-transaction model was probably a good move.  Done right, it could be a bit like online music download services that allow you to circumvent having to buy the whole CD including tracks you don’t want and simply buy the ones you do.  Beats the snot out of buying box after box of expansions to get one piece of virtual furniture you wanted.

Now, if only game developers at large could bridge bringing Sims 3 artificial intelligence into your average MMORPG NPC mechanic, we’d be in business of seeing some truly compelling virtual worlds.  There was The Sims Online, but the developers pretty much removed the AI entirely so the players could take over and be the sims.  That, of course, was a mistake on the grounds that the AI was always the main selling point of The Sims, a selling point Sims 3 leverages well.

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