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The Sims
LogoWill Wright, creator of Maxis' mega seller Sim City, returns to the industry introducing the most unusual (and all so simple) gaming idea in months: actually, The Sims is the world's first "life simulator" - not taking the ancient Happy Computer People into account. The whole gaming press celebrated the innovative game euphorically, despite the fact that the gamer has to take on a role he probably wouldn't have played out of his own free will in real life: running a household. But take a look for yourself before you think that bashing some orcs would be more fun...
 
Sim Graphics:
At first sight, the graphics of The Sims appear to be a bit outdated, which is mainly due to the fact that the game lacks gorgeously rendered intros, cutscenes and all sorts of ornamental effects. The game has been tailored to the players' needs: two resolutions (800 x 600 and 1024 x 768 pixels) as well as several zoom levels and camera angles - that's it. The Sims themselves, however, are nicely animated in order to reflect their current mood more vividly. All in all, the graphics have a somewhat unobtrusive flair. And indeed, after some time you no longer pay attention to the graphics but are completely captured by the occurences taking place in your own (virtual) home.
 
Sim House:
Tidying upThe game doesn't have a real story. Similiar to real life, social contacts to your neighbours and advancing your career are the only objectives that count. As usual, the beginnings are modest: you call 20,000 bucks your own to cut a figure in the world. Therefore, you create your own family and acquire a small home. With what is left of the money, you are free to furnish your home to your special liking, choosing from a huge variety of furniture items. It will keep you busy for some time to go through all the rooms such as kitchen or living-room and even decide on the color of the fitting wallpaper, but in the end you will be nearly as proud of the results as if it were your real home. Provided the means, you can also purchase real estates and lend a hand with constructing your desired house. The number of items available for that purpose is immense.
 
Sim Life:
The keyword in The Sims is "mood". All sorts of things can have an impact on the Sims' mood: the look and furnishing of their home - the better and more luxurious the furnishing the better their mood. Or their basic needs - a Sim is hungry, litter is strewn across the floor, he's tired, or he hasn't done something diverting like watching TV or reading a book, and his mood is bound to plummet. But also his basic attitudes (like "playful", "tidy", "extrovert", or "active") have fundamental consequences for his well-being. A positive mood, in its turn, influences the Sim's success at his working place, since only motivated employees have a chance to be promoted. It isn't possible, however, to control your professional career directly. While all Sims pursue their daily work (or are at school), the game switches to an accelerated time mode until one of the Sims returns. It's up to the player, therefore, to plan the daily schedule in such a way that the Sims start into the morning good-humoredly and don't stumble to work listlessly.
The game's most interesting feature are the social contacts. If Sims share the same opinions or preferences, their liking for each other increases. By making compliments or little presents, you can deliberately woo for your desired partner and marry him/her in the end. But once your Sims have found their bliss in marriage, it might happen that their whining offspring turns their daily routine upside down...
Details:
Producer:
Maxis

Website:
The Sims

Genre:
Simulation

Graphics:
average

Sound:
good

Gameplay:
very good

Verdict:
very good

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Pros & cons:
Your offspring at playTo describe The Sims very briefly is quite impossible - it is toocomplex a game to give credit to all its different shades without writing half a novel. But despite all this, there are some flaws that you become aware of at closer inspection: it's a bit strange, for example, that all your neighbours pay your Sims a visit but you cannot visit them. Or that the Sims cannot get sick, don't age, or that they have to work seven days a week. Admittedly, all petty details, you might think, but given the authenticity of The Sims, even petty details can make the difference.
That doesn't diminish the game's quality, of course. The Sims' AI, though far from being perfect, reproduces our everyday life with astonishing similarity. And that's the reason that keeps you glued to the screen for hours: the feeling to accompany almost intelligent Sims through their day and to be responsible for them. Who of us would be able, for example, to abandon an almost starved Sim to his fate? The option to lead all the families simulated in the district of The Sims to happiness makes you play the scenario more than once. And even if you've seen it all, numerous editors and homepages on the internet will provide you with additional material so that you will drop by at your Sims' home now and then. An instant classic!
© 2000 by CE

 
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