Review by Joe the Destroyer

Reviewed: 08/28/01 | Updated: 09/10/01

Woohoo! It's real life with a delete option!

Intro
If someone were to suddenly come up to you and say, ''Want to play a game where you do as you would in real life? You know: get a job, balance a budget, pay bills...'' You'd probably say, ''Wow, that sounds like crap.'' I almost said that when I first say, and even when I first played, The Sims. Is this like real life? Sure, only it moves a whole lot faster and you actually have room for mistakes. Is this real life that allows anything? Well... no. Of course there's going to be limitations, but at least they aren't hard set limits.

Welcome to The Sims
In The Sims, you take control a person, or group of people, and manage their every day lives inside a house. You can create your own family and move them into a house as well. While in the house, you can (and should) have the perform their usual day-to-day tasks such as eating, sleeping, using the bathroom, maintaining good hygiene, etc. Each character also has personal needs such as a social life and excitement you should keep up (lest they become depressed).

Interacting with the House
Each house begins with primary items. You have a bathroom with a toilet and shower/tub already. Your kitchen already comes with a sink, a refrigerator, and an oven (in some houses). Of course, there's already a bed or a few beds ready for your character(s) to sleep in. Now, given the necessities, you must work around improving your house to suit each characters needs. I actually like working with all this becomes it gives some depth to the game and allows for some nice interaction. You can add new things such as a TV, a bookshelf, a stereo, pictures/paintings, and many other new material possessions for your people to mess with.

Maintenence
You have to maintain each character as their personal levels suit. If you're character is hungry, feed them. If they have a full bladder, make them go to the bathroom. Heh, if you don't have a toilet, eventually they'll just go on the floor/ground, leaving a puddle behind. Failure to meet this needs could result in many different stigmas. Lack of a social life can result in depression, for example. Not feeding your character can result in death by starvation. If someone in your family dies, they leave a gravestone behind. Feh, I usually sell the gravestones. Every little bit counts. I like the maintenence aspect of the game even though it can be quite annoying to keep up at times.

On top of maintaining yourself, you must also maintain your house. Almost anything you interact with can have some slight repercussions. Eating can result in your character either throwing something in the trash or just leaving it on the floor. Either way, you have to get rid of garbage or it will attract flies. If something is left on the floor, you can have them clean it up. Anything that is left unclean for a certain amount of time will attract flies and detract from your house's appeal. There are also certain things in the house you must clean such as the shower/tub and the toilet. You even have to flush the toilet. Maintenence of the house also occurs outside with garden upgrades and remembering to pick up the paper when it is delivered.

Building Relationships
In this game, you can also interact with other neighbors near by. As you interact with them, you can build relationships and a possible blooming love life. To be PC, anyone can fall in love with anyone. Like life, you must build a relationship slowly (Well, sort of. You can actually fall in love with someone in a few short minutes). You can start out talking to them and commenting on them lightly. Eventually, as they get more comfortable with you, you can move on to more friendly tactics such as hugging and even kissing. If you've gotten to the point of kissing, then you have indeed fallen in love with the person. Be careful on which actions you select. If you haven't developed a relationship well enough, then an action you select can hamper the relationships effects. So, if you try to tickle someone you're not very familiar with, they'll get angry with you and your friendship level will go down. The key is to use certain actions at the right level. If you have their level to 100, you can propose/ask the person to move in with you. The person can and deny you pretty easily with an excuse of some kind (i.e. ''We never talk anymore). I like the relationship system, but one thing really bothers me about it. I think they should've made it just a tad easier to get someone to marry/move in with you.

One aspect that's quite funny and realistic about relationships is having multiple lovers. If you're in love with someone else, then kissing that person in front of another lover will spark jelousy and eventually a fight. To avoid this, simply kiss the person when other loves cannot see you.

The Infamous Delete Option
One thing about this game I really like (mainly when I'm just messing around) is the ability to delete objects at any time in the game. For example, I was trying to get one woman to marry one of my characters and she kept turning him down, so I got so frustrated that when she went into a room I had set aside for watching TV, I deleted all the doors and the sofa and left the TV running. She couldn't go to the bathroom because there was no door going into it, she couldn't sleep because of the TV, and she had no access to food. Sure, it sounds cruel, but I was a bit annoyed. I also like deleting the ladder while people are in the pool. Okay, so a lot of this sounds pretty sadistic. I'm sorry, but I love the delete option for times that I just don't feel like being serious and I just want to mess around a little. It also comes handy when you're trying to build a house and you're trying to get rid of those trees that are in your way.

Bills? Feh!
Yep, like real life you have to pay bills. The bills aren't too bad in this game. At least not nearly as bad as they are compared to real life. In the current house I'm working on (it's still fairly new), all my bills ran only $145, so it's not like the bills are reflectant on the ones here in real life.

Building On
You can always build on to the house and make new rooms and floors. You can add new possessions to your house and give it some flavor. The richer you become, the better your house will eventually loook.

Skins
Ah, another aspect I like. You can go onto the internet, assuming you have a registered copy, and download new skins and wallpapers. Skins give your characters new looks so you can even have celebrities in the game. You can even add new wallpapers that can give your house new dimension and life. The wallpapers I see the most are movie posters.

They Learn!
Or at least it seems they do. Whenever you have a character do a certain action after performing a certain task, eventually you don't have to ask them. This doesn't go with everything, just some actions. For example, for the longest time I've had to ask my household idiots to throw away their trash rather than leave it on the floor. Eventually, I didn't have to execute the command, they went and did so themselves. It's nice to see a learning system of some kind for this game. It does give it that sort of realistic edge, in a way.

It Just Takes a Little Patience
I really hated this game after playing it for a week. After loaning it to a friend and getting it back, I tried to play it again to see if I really can like it. This time, I started a new house with three people living it in. I noticed that your house seems to be a bit more fun if you have at least three people, but that's just me. After actually giving the game a chance, I found just how addictive it can become.

Game Elements
The graphics are very well done. I don't have a very good graphics card and they still move smoothly and have great textures and beautiful colors. The sounds really build the atmosphere. The music that plays during certain parts of the game (such as building or buying) just has the homemaker touch to it. Their voices are hilarious because you can't understand a word they're saying. They just sort of mumble. It's even funny to watch them yell at you that they're too tired, hungry, or bored. The controls are all click-based. Essentially, it's a lot like Diablo, only your motions aren't as heavily dependant. You really don't need to control your characters' exact motions. Just clicking on one object and entering the command will cause them to walk over to it automatically and execute the action. The response is great for the controls, though. There really is no set plot to the game. The gameplay is absolutely addictive. However, I tend to shy from playing it for hours mainly due to the fact that it is quite easy to burn yourself out despite it's addictiveness.

FINAL JUDGMENT
Graphics: [claps] 9/10
Sounds: Build a great atmosphere for the game 10/10
Controls: Nice response 10/10
Plot/Storyline: N/A
Gameplay: Addictive, but can eventually burn out if you play for too long 8/10
All Together: 8/10

Perks
*Addictive!
*Original!
*Add-ons.
*Nice graphics and sounds.

Downers
*Can get tiresome after too much gameplay
*Do I smell a marketing ploy? (oh well... I surrender!)
*It's boring only playing with one character in a house.

Recommendations
If you like simulation games, this one is a go. Give it a try, I think it's worth it what with all the marketing-ploy add-ons and extras you can buy/download. Yeah, I called it a marketing ploy, but that's okay. For me, it's more of a fix for a hard to control drug.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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