Review by Estoy Loco

Reviewed: 06/29/03 | Updated: 06/29/03

You've always been one of my favorites, Maxis.

Romance. Jealousy. Destruction. Intrigue. You might think it’s just a typical day in our nation’s capital. No, it’s much more interesting than that. It’s another world entirely, and quite a vivid one. Welcome to the world of The Sims.

That’s the first paragraph in the instruction manual for The Sims, one of the best-selling games of all time. The reason I inserted that paragraph into the beginning of this review is because I really think that it helps to foreshadow how immensely different this game is than any other out there, and just how revolutionary it has been.

The Sims is a huge, huge game. I can’t stress enough how different it is than any other game out there. Unlike other simulation games, The Sims places you in a small, comfortably intimate world, instead of a vast, large world. And instead of controlling an army, or running a city, you control one to eight individual sims, which can be customized to look like whoever you want (of course, if you want more looks for your sims, you’ll have to download some skins. Skins are the different looks that your sims can have.). Instead of building an empire or city, you build a humble home for your sims, which can be upgraded to a full-blown mansions if you want (but there’s a cap at 2 floors). Every aspect of your home can be customized with different furnishings. There are the essentials, like refrigerators, beds, TVs, etc., and decorative things such as house plants, lawn flamingos, and fountains. If you’re into electronics, then you’ll have fun with the plasma TV, hi-fi stereo and §6500 computer(That symbol represents the Sims form of currency - Simoleans).

You can mold their personalities to whatever you desire. When you first create a sim, you must give him or her a name, a face, a body, and then their personality. Their personality is divided up into different categories: neatness, outgoingness, activeness, playfulness, and niceness. You’re given 25 points to put into each of these categories, with a maximum of 10 points in any given category. When you’ve finished dividing up these points, your sim will be categorized into a certain astrological sign. For example, sims under the ‘Aquarius’ sign have lower than average neatness and activeness, but are above average in outgoingness, playfulness, and niceness. Sims under the Cancer sign are very evened out, with pretty much the same score in each category. If your sim has their outgoingness maxed out, they’ll jump at the chance to get in the whirlpool buck nekkid. If it has no points in it, however, they’ll be much more conservative, and maybe even shy away from things that most people wouldn’t even think twice about doing.

Okay, now you have your family. Now you need to build a home. Chances are that the first time you play the sims, you will be much too ambitious with your first house, making it way too large to furnish comfortably. You’ll probably spend so much that you won’t have any left for food! So get a job! There are many different careers for you to choose from, ranging from a waiter/waitress to a pickpocket. Of course, if you go to your job in a good mood enough, you’ll get a promotion, and after a lot of hard work and many promotions, you’ll finally arrive at the top of the career chain. But don’t slack off now that you’re at the top, because you can still be demoted if you start to slack off too much. And don’t even think about taking more than one day off at a time. If you take off 2 days in a row, you’re fired!

There are 8 different area’s where you need to take care of each of your sims. There’s hunger, bladder, fun, social, room, hygiene, energy, and comfort. The easiest of these to control is the bladder. Just make sure you don’t forget to bring your sims to the bathroom, though, because if you forget, they might just wet themselves. Comfort is best relieved by a rest in bed, and so is energy. Social is by having a few friends over, hygiene is by taking a shower or a bath, hunger is by making something to eat or ordering pizza, room is by placing a nice painting on the wall/keeping the house neat, and fun is by either reading a book or watching TV. Keep all of these categories up, and your sim will be happy as can be. Neglect even one, and watch out. Your sim might get ticked off, and start begging you for fun, food, whatever it is he or she is lacking. They might even move away all together, and hit the highway with their most personal belongings in a knapsack on a stick, if you refuse to cater to their needs. Hope you don’t get picked up by any weirdoes..

It’s also important to keep up relationships with all your room-mates, children, neighbors, and everyone else. Every career requires you to have at least a few friends to get a promotion. You never know if one of your friends has an uncle who has a friend who has a son who has a dentist who knows a big movie director. Also, no sim can go without human.. I mean sim contact for long. Deprive them of social interactions for too long and they’ll enter a depression and refuse to do the simplest things. They’ll stop wanting to try and get that big promotion, and might even be demoted, or even fired! If you want, your sim can even get hitched, but you’ll have to please your mate quite a bit before they decide to make that life-changing decision. If you have more than one person living in a house, it’s much easier to keep communication open.

You’ll want to install burglar and fire alarms ASAP. Almost all sims are terrible at cooking, and will start fires all the time if you don’t study up on the culinary arts. Also, you’re bound to have at least one burglar in the first few hours of playing, and they can really do a toll on your budget if you’ve just purchased some high-end stuff.

Also available for your Sims is the ability to make a swimming pool. There’s the standard ladder to get in and out of the pool, and there’s also a diving board, for a more fun way of entering.

The graphics were definitely great when the game was made back in 2000, and they still hold up fairly well to some games, even today. You can tell there was a lot of hard work put into all of the furniture, floor tiling, wallpaper/paint, and the characters. However, against some of the games today, the graphics are starting to show some age. The sims look kind of.. well.. pointy. Also, a lot of the furniture is in 2-d instead of 3-d. Nevertheless, all of the detail that’s been put into each piece of furniture definitely makes up for any lack of a 3rd dimension.

Beautiful music plays during The Sims when you first boot it up, when you’re in buy/build mode, and when you have the stereo on. There are many different choices of music on the stereo. There’s classical, country, Latin, and more. All of the songs sound great, even the country! Plus, when your building your home, you’ll be treated to some exceptionally beautiful piano songs. One time I was fiddling with my house during Thanksgiving, and my grandmother was over. Even she, a piano expert and player for who knows how many years, commented on how great it sounded! Plus, when you’re playing music out of the stereo, you can make your sims do some really hilarious dances. I can’t praise this category enough.

There are some great sound effects here as well. Simmish (the sims language, which sounds like gibberish) is simply hilarious! Watching your sims have a serious discussion about technology or something,(little word bubbles appear above their head, telling us what the heck they’re talking about) and hearing nothing but, “Es crav ne non me, es copelenisnana, fran jeek nijarf!” is great! After you hear all of the basic sound effects like doors opening and closing, opening drawers, pulling the sheets down on a bed, walking around, etc., you’ll start to hear sound effects that you might of thought that they wouldn’t of even bothered with, but they still took the time to put them in. I’m talking about when your sim takes a bag of chips out of the fridge and you can hear them munching away, when you can hear the clanking of silverware against a plate, and when you can hear them turning the page of a book ever so slightly. This is when you really start to appreciate all of the work that Will Wright and the Maxis team put into this game.

You can’t beat The Sims. Just like every other Maxis game, The Sims is completely open-ended, with no main goal(s) to be completed. Heck, you could play the game for months with a grumpy old man who never gets further than being single, living in a one-room house, and never getting any farther on the career hierarchy than a mail room clerk, if you desired. When you think you’ve done everything there is, you see something else that you have to buy and try out. Plus, add in the factor that there are over a thousand Sim fan sites out there(with the majority of them having unique downloadable furniture and/or skins), and you’ll be finding new things to download until the cows come home.

Because you can’t beat the game, The Sims has a massive amount of longevity. You’ll want to see the description for each of the jobs in the game, and you'll also want

Sadly, the only place that really falters is the controls. Scrolling across the screen is slow and arduous, and sometimes you might end up going over a little too far, and placing furniture in certain places can be pretty tricky sometimes. Besides that though, I can’t see too many things wrong with The Sims.

One of the reasons I think that The Sims have been so successful is that the game doesn't seem to catered to any specific gender. This really gave The Sims a mass market appeal. There really isn’t anything here that says, “This is obviously a game for the guys” or “Girls will definitely like this one”. Most games give you a set protagonist, and a lot of these games will more than likely have a male lead character(since the gaming market is still pretty much dominated by male gamers), which might turn off some female game players. In The Sims though, you can customize your character to any gender, race, or age, and even name them after yourself. Most people are going to, of course, try to portray themself in their first Sim, and that’s exactly what people can do. We’re given the freedom to play a game as ourselves, not as Tommy Vercetti, Solid Snake, or Lara Croft. Add in the ability to emulate your own house, your own job, and your own life (or dream versions of any of the latter) and you have a winning combination.

Foot-Notes:

-The Sims is unlike anything you have ever played. Think you’ve seen it all before? Think again.

-Many of the aspects in The Sims(including the sims themselves) are customizable to fit your wants and desires.

-There are 8 different areas where you need to take care of your sims.

-Keeping up relationships is a necessity.

-The graphics were great when the game first came out, and still look nice even today.

-The music in The Sims is truly wonderful. Beautiful piano solo’s and hot Latin beats are just a few of the types of music you’ll hear.

-The sound effects are extremely good, with tons of them in places you wouldn’t even expect.

-You can’t win The Sims. Thinking you could win The Sims is like thinking you could win life.

-The only part of the game that I thought was bad were the controls.

-The Sims is a game that can be fun for just about anyone.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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