Review by luzalmondo
Ruler over a Dead World
The Sims starts out very fun. For the first few hours, or days, or maybe even weeks (depending on how often you play it), it is a fun, enjoyable, and mildly exciting experience. Only later, after the novelty of the game wears off, does something begin to sink in: beneath all the job promotions and the building houses and the social interactions... it is a dead world, empty of purpose and significance.
Let's take it step by step, and I'll show you what I mean.
You install the game, boot it up, and find yourself looking at a neighborhood. You design a family, pick an empty lot, and start building your house. This is, in my opinion, the strongest point of the game - almost strong enough, in fact, to carry the game all by itself (notice I said "almost"). You design a house, choosing from a wide variety of design options - wallpapers, floor coverings, windows, doors, staircases, etc. Outside you can plant flowers, put in some hedges (even build a maze if you want to!), put in a pool.... Almost anything you could possibly want is available to you. Build a huge mansion? It's do-able. Live in a tiny shack? Easily done. Heck, you can even build a small village on your lot - two or three cabins for your sims to sleep in, a grill and a simple dining area outside, put a pool off to one side....
As I said, the game does exceptionally well in this area.
At any rate, you build your house, but then you're running low on cash so you make your sim get a job. They come home tired, hungry, bored, dirty, and needing to use the bathroom. So, you set to remedying all these problems. Since you just started, your stuff is all pretty basic, so it's a real struggle to meet all their needs before work rolls around the next day. You send them back, they come home tired, hungry, bored, dirty, and needing to use the bathroom, so....
At some point, you get tired of rushing around to keep up with their wants and needs, so you use some of your hard-earned cash to buy better stuff. Then you rush off to work again.
Work, buy stuff, use stuff to raise needs, work, buy stuff....
That is the flow of the game, over and over and over again.
Eventually, you run out of new, improved things to buy. You start getting extravagant - build a house that's two, three, even four times as big as you could ever possibly need, a pool that's the size of a small lake, a humongous hedge maze that covers half your lawn. You make your sim get fired from their job - you have more money than you could ever need, anyways. You start going a little crazy - you build a huge maze in front of your door, so it takes people half a day just to navigate through it to ring your doorbell. And then, just to spite them (because you've come to hate them and their doorbell-ringing ways) you don't answer it - making their epic journey all for naught in the end. Dejected, they turn and dutifully start the long, arduous journey back out of the maze.
You cackle madly, the gleam of insanity shining in your eyes. They don't understand! They don't understand that this world of theirs is empty and dead, devoid of purpose and meaning. But you understand - yes, you do.
You start raising your sim's skills beyond all reasonable limits, until they can fathom any mystery, until they are as great in creativity as Beethoven, until they are stronger than the strongest body builder. You fill your house with stunningly beautiful masterpieces that you paint, but never sell - sculptures that people would weep to see, so exceedingly beautiful they are.
And then, you light up the fireplace, place a rug just a little too close, and laugh with crazed glee as it all burns down around you.
So, ultimately, every sim you make ends up as a crazed hermit. Because, you see, this world has no purpose, no end goal to reach for... and the deceitfulness of riches, in the end, shows itself to be hollow.
Rating: 2.0 - Poor
Product Release: The Sims (US, 01/31/00)
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