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Reviewed: The Sims
Author: Chris Kim       Date: February 20th 2000
Page: 2

What gamers have come to expect from Will Wright and his crew over at Maxis has been very high, but they have been rightfully able to. Maxis has brought some of the most innovative, creative, and fun games to the PC in years. But what Maxis originally brought to the genre was the game that was never winnable. Their games never ended, had any specific accomplishments, or goals to reach. The game only ended once the gamer decided that they had enough and didn't want to play anymore. The first product to follow this trend was the 1989 blockbuster title Sim City, that introduced players to the concept of having them role-play as the mayor of a city and constructing it to become a success. What gamers found was a perfect blend of several game methods and skills to form a very enjoyable and long lasting experience.

The latest installment in the long running Sim series is The Sims, which actually now introduces players down the lowest level of the city, life. In the game players will assume the role of a Sim, or a person that is living in the simulated world of Sim City. Nearly every aspect about life has been recreated, marriage, emotions, recreation, food, and even hygiene. How the people live their lives is completely up to them, which adds plenty of variation and fun to the game.

Create a Sim
Money Talk
Sleep Stretch

Basically, gamers just live out the life of a person and carries this "Sim" throughout life. From the start, players can start from scratch or start another life from the already pre-generated characters available from the start, similar to previous Sim games. For most players, they will likely wish to start out by creating their own families and houses, which is quite simple to do thanks to all the crafty tools included in the game. The Sim creator allows players to create a family of however big they please, this can be with roommates, wife and husband, or children. All Sims must follow a set of guidelines upon which they can live, which won't seem to harmful to most gamers, but can make the game less involving than some may like. Of course, for age restrictions and common decency, these scenes and acts of life were left out of the game. When creating the characters, points will be attributed the player to give them a personality, neat, playful, outgoing, nice, and active. Each of the corresponding pool gives them a stronger trait in the certain area, which will then lead to how the person interacts with his or her environment.

Players will also be able to choose either from already standing buildings to live in, or they can choose to construct their own dream home. One part of the game that is great is that players will not have to construct a foundation, therefore they are not restricted in expansion by it. Players can expand and decrease (but why?) the size of their houses as they wish, assuming they have the money to support that expansion. Houses can be either one or two stories high, but at default all houses start as one story. The building tool included the game is very robust and very simple to use. Even the most novice player will be able to understand and use with ease. Adding fixtures and extras are just as easy to add and install inside the Sim(s)'(s) home, which are very crucial to the satisfaction of the Sims. Each of these than can be customized even further to make the house look very well decorated and upkeep very well, which then leads to more success.

I Hate Her
Midnight Snack
Stay Clean

Gaming itself involves controlling several aspects at the same time. The ultimate goal of the game is to keep the Sim(s) happy and to expand and grow bigger and bigger in size. This involves many items, such as obtaining a job, maintaining a good social life, keeping good hygiene, and other parts of life. While it is initially easy to support the life of a Sim with what they require, maintaining and keeping the Sim(s) happy requires a lot of work. First of all, everything is on a timetable, players must be able to manage and handle their time very well, otherwise their life will end up being very poor and unfulfilling. A Sim that works nine hours a day, then comes home to watch TV all night then sleep would have a very poor social life. While on the other hand, a Sim that never goes to work and always hangs out with friends does not have much money to expand. But how the player chooses to live life is completely up to them. One thing that all gamers must try to attain is keeping all the behavior statistics of a Sim up, which includes hunger, hygiene, bladder, social, comfort, room, energy, and fun. To keep each of these parts of life up, a Sim must perform certain activity, but each activity has a drawback that lowers on other categories, so there must be a balance of each activity that happens. A player that watches TV a lot, will likely suffer from a lack of social contact and one that socializes a lot will not have much fun.

Daily life of a Sim will usually consist of going to work and then returning to do various tasks that they wish to do to keep the Sim happy. This will usually consist of associating with other people around the neighborhood, whether this is through talking face to face or talking on the telephone. As players go to work, they will earn various amounts of money depending on the job and their level of skill. As players gain skill in their field, they will start to make more money by moving up on the job ladder. The higher they get, the more money they will start to bring home. With more money, the Sim can choose to spend more of this money by purchasing various furnishings for their home. Such items can be either recreational or necessities, items like computers, televisions, pool tables, and swimming pools are just a few of the items that a Sim can choose to buy. Nearly every item in the game has a purpose, not for just decorational purposes. Items such as a workbench will be used to build a more muscular build, increasing the body statistic in job skills.

Fire!!!
Night Out
I Have Needs

What would life be without any unexpected and planned events? Luckily, gamers will see a lot of events that will take up their life and throw it into a complete funk or just a small hitch in the plan of life. Items such as fires can just suddenly combust causing a ruckus in the kitchen. Friendships can be ruined or created leading to a more fulfilling or less happy life. Items such as bills must be paid. One of the nicer touches in the game is that babies must be taken care of, otherwise the social services will come and take the child away. Touches like this make the game something to really have a lot of fun.

Groupie events and parties are something of a blast as well. Players can have pool, billiard, and regular parties where players socialize a lot and just have some fun. One of the most rewarding experiences in the game is the added ability to fall into love and become married. If a player can develop a deep enough relationship and gain a sophisticated social life with a person, they will slowly move into a state of deep friendship which then can later progress into the love stage. At that point, once they can get married, and children can be had--not in the natural way for those of you that were expecting to see something, rather it's the way as a stork would drop a child off. Such rewarding experiences in the game are what ultimately make it worth playing.

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Added:  Sunday, February 20, 2000
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Score:
Page: 2/5

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