Most of us, at some degree, love the Sims! A virtual dollhouse with a huge ocean of fans varying from gender, age and background. Unlike other games, where we are often fending for our lives against some unfamiliar species and thrown into unlikely scenarios, shooting energy balls from the palm of our hands, flying across landscapes, picking up heavy objects with insane strength and- I’m going off track… -ahem!- While most other games are breathtaking as mentioned, Sims is set in an all too familiar (but fictional) world. But no, it’s still enjoyable to an extent that you will keep playing it as there is no end to the game with endless potential to keep the player engaged.
As this title has advanced and now on its third installment, with a handful of expansion packs, the psychological mechanics of the Sims have improved adding to the life-like element. The most vital, inner core and fascinating feature of this game are the avatars; the Sims. Given that its a virtual dollhouse, in no way is the player completely in control of their Sims. The Sims will not always rely on the player to give them controls, because they are able to independently take care of important needs like eating or going to the toilet (saves the cashmere carpet that way).
Typically when given the option to customize a character, we take pride in making the perfect and ideal form to us, thus making the gaming experience more personal and enjoyable. The Sims enable us to do the same thing, and the most common form we create is a representation of ourselves. And that’s a representation with certain additions, dream hair or eye color, stylish outfits and that inner personality trait that we have never had the guts to unleash in real life.
Along with making ourselves, we also fashion Sims after people we know in real life, like friends and family or a crush~
Although Sims is a simulation of an ordinary life, expansion packs add flavor to the experience, introducing themes that further develop what we can do with our Sims and give them more opportunities and keeping us entertained. So life in the suburbs isn’t all that peaceful 🙂
The Sims not only encourages the player to keep their Sims happy, but also gives them an opportunity to experiment with things that they wouldn’t do in real life, or can’t. This results in Sims abandoned in a swimming pool with no way of getting out of it and eventually dying and watching them starve to death in an empty house with again, no way of getting out and other life threatening scenarios. Mentioning these examples, doesn’t exactly mean that we are all secret sociopaths with hidden intentions to kill, but shows the curious approach people take to see what the outcome is… while laughing at it. But never the less, there are positive and negative approaches to the game players can take, in which they are either influenced by curiosity, or how their real life has affected them and whether they are creating their ideal world of happiness or a chaotic town for funsies!
Interestingly, the game has been played for reasons other than entertainment. One being used by a soon to be mother, as a parenting insight on how well they will cope in the real world, and apparently it helped!
One use was a really touching approach for a young adopted boy who had trouble talking about his past, so instead created a visual recap of his past with him and his parents and what happened.