chris-littlechild - June 25, 2014
As we all know, those stories of drunken debauchery are only amusing when they happened to someone else. Do you really want to tell your new beau of the time you punched your poodle in the face, shat on the carpet, slipped in it, and then sobbed in the fetal position on the floor for ten hours straight?
No, no you don't. Why did you have an effing poodle? They're not manly at all.
But when this all happened to some other poor bastard? Have at it. It's called schadenfreude (by fancy-ass Germans, at any rate), and we all love it. So buckle up and pay attention, because here comes Schadenfreude: The Game.
The Sims hit the PC in 2000. It was the first life sim that wasn't utterly half-assed (who are you kidding, Little Computer People? You know you're shit), and one of the most enduring creations of the legendary Will Wright. Let's take a look.
It's a simple enough concept. You're charged with creating a neighborhood of tiny e-midgets, and watching and advising as they live their lives. You direct everything, from career choices to picking out a vomtastic pink polka dot couch and jacuzzi for the kitchen. Any stupid effing stupid goes, and often does. The Sims is a brilliant kind of sandbox playground, and it doesn't care how much of a dick you want to be to your human ant farm.
You don't have direct command of your Sims, instead giving them a series of orders that correspond to their needs. These are displayed on the HUD, in terms of hunger and cleanliness and such. When they need refreshment, say, you'll send them cruising over to the toaster, or instruct them to whip up a batch of creme de menthe. Depending whether they're fussy-ass old grandmas or not, obviously.
Managing these needs is the key to harmony among your little dudes. Contented Sims will be offered promotions at work, advance their life goals and be all-round happier. Neglected ones will lose their jobs, piss on the floor and suddenly discover that their fiancee is actually their long-lost sister. Or, y'know, something like that. Don't be an ass to your Sims, is the message here.
That's really all there is to it. The Sims has no plot, no stages, no bosses, no delicate fleshy bits to shoot at. Still, this virtual world struck a chord with players everywhere, and became a huge franchise. 'Aimless' or not, it's ludicrously compulsive to its many fans. What we've seen of the upcoming forth installment so far shows the great strides these tiny bastards have taken since.