Boldly Exclaiming Your Sim Addiction by Tawney Odin
The start of my Sim addiction
As a child, I loved playing with Barbie and her many friends. And when I say I loved to play, I mean I was committed. I didn’t just hold Barbie in one hand and Ken in the other and have them play “kissy kissy.” I took every box, block, toy, etc. that I could find in my bedroom, and I created mansions for my Barbies. I had lots of toy furniture from other games that I used to decorate those mansions. In my mind, I created careers for them, took them on vacations, used other dolls to be their children, and just generally created entire lives for these toys.
That desire to tell stories never left, and I’ve written a few short stories in my life and was even published in a couple of small press magazines. But, because I’ve never been a person who liked having my work critiqued, writing did not pan out as a career. (The editors always made me mad.) I was drawn into the world of Dungeons and Dragons for a while, which, once again, involved storytelling. This has been a pattern in my life.
Fast forward to meeting my wonderful husband. Although I’d played video games and enjoyed them, it wasn’t until he introduced me to Sim City that I got hit right in the feels. A world I could create! I was instantly hooked. But, something was missing. I wanted to see INSIDE those beautiful cities and buildings and see what the people were doing.
A year or so later, in the year 2000, The Sims was released. Holy cow! It was Barbie on my computer! I was able to create my own characters (to a point) and give them outfits, build them homes, decorate those homes, get them jobs, give them romances, and on and on. It was glorious. My inner child was doing cartwheels constantly while I played that game. I thought it couldn’t get better.
The Sims 2
Then there was Sims 2. I can’t adequately explain the difference between the two versions in words. They were worlds apart. Sims 2 characters were so real. So fleshed out. They had genuine relationships, real personalities, and real drama. My husband was once describing my love for the game to his brother. He said, “She doesn’t doesn’t eat, doesn’t take bathroom breaks, she just plays for hours on end.” He was right. When I wasn’t working or settling in with him in the evening to watch TV, I was playing Sims 2. Then again, those Sims could not go across the street to visit their neighbors without a loading screen. They could get together and go places, but all the lots were self-contained. You could never really see the “world.”
The Sims 3
Then there was Sims 3. I literally got chills when I saw the first commercial for Sims 3. I knew it was coming because I was active on the chat sites, but I really had no idea. The first trailer for the game went like this: You’reYou’re watching a Sims character going about their day inside their house while a deep, persuasive voice says, “Just imagine, if you had lived your entire life inside your house, and then someone opens the door.” And this majestic music starts up, the door opens to blinding sunshine, and the camera pans up to show an entire world. Neighbors were watering their lawns, people jogging by, families fishing in the park, young girls screaming over the local celebrity, cell phones, dancing, concerts, and incredible landscapes. Whoo! My heart is pounding, just reliving that moment.
Sims 3 was a stunning open world where you could walk anywhere in the world (or drive a car) to visit a friend, go to an activity, drive to work, play in the park, and there was even a school bus picked up the kids for school. The game was nearly perfect. However, we lost many of the Sims’ personalities and emotions in that game. And it definitely turned towards a younger audience with its own frustrations. But, of all the versions out today, I would still say Sims 3 is the best.
The Sims 4
Then there was Sims 4.
We were promised many things
- Emotions that affected a Sim’s relationships with their family and friends
- Decisions made early in life affect their success later in life.
- A more realistic experience.
I must say I was initially disappointed. I had NO complaints about Create A Sim (the ability to make each Sim as customized as you would like) or the Building Tools (they were truly unique). But, the Sims was so shallow. Emotions were fleeting; a Sim could be angry with another moment and then laugh with them the next.
Worst of all, loading screens had returned. Still, it had promise. And the developers have spent the last eight years trying to improve it. It’s a far cry better than it was upon release. We have many more worlds to play in, so many more activities, and better interactions between Sims, and I still play it regularly, at least several days a week. I still love playing with my grown-up “Barbies,” I’ve made many wonderful friendships over the years because of this game. I’m looking forward to what the future holds.
Tawney was born in Ventura County, California, and has been a Southern California girl most of her life, barring a short stint at Utah Technical College. She lives with her wonderful husband in a small home but is all their own (no home loan). She is still good friends with most of the same crowd she hung out with in High School, although they are spread far and wide now. She has loved playing the Sims since it was released in 2000 and also enjoys cross stitching, paper crafting, NASCAR, and volunteering with friends at San Diego Comic-Con since the 1980s. She also loves to read and is grateful for the wonderful friends she has gathered through gaming and other social media.