03.08.2004 - 12:18 p.m.
I never used to understand the appeal of The Sims. From what I could gather about the game, it seemed like the ideal sort of activity for an agoraphobic: sitting lumpishly in a darkened room, feverishly manipulating the lives of tiny pixellated humans, living vicariously through onscreen versions of themselves.
go back ::: forward
As it turns out, this is pretty much true. Also? Most. Addictive. Game. EVER.
On a whim, I bought the Xbox version of the game yesterday at Best Buy, and poof - there went my evening. At one point, I put a frozen Smart One in the microwave, figuring I would play during the 4 minutes required to heat up the mac and cheese. ONE HOUR AND THIRTEEN MINUTES LATER, I remembered my dinner and had to reheat it.
Despite having invested a considerable amount of time into the game already, I still haven't really figured it out. My Sims stubbornly refuse to obey orders; for instance, the female character's energy level is at zero and she keeps falling to the ground in a coma, despite my repeated attempts to get her to sleep, or sit. "Nap, damn you," I yelled at the television last night, clicking frantically on the couch graphic, the chairs, and the bed, while my stupid-ass Sim crashed to the floor yet again. "NAP!"
I have, of course, constructed a female character and a male character that live together. Their names are Linda and John. So far, John appears to be the more stoic of the two, while Linda mopes about the house whining things like "I'm so depressed I can't even look at myself", and "I'm too depressed to look for a job". This is in between toppling over into a boneless heap and snoring.
Creating characters patterned after your own household is not just creepy and nerdy and lame, it's ALSO strangely engrossing! I became more desperate to fix Sim-Linda, because as the game advised me, "Sims do not enjoy being around other unhappy Sims." Somehow having my Sims divorce seemed like a bad omen.
Suddenly, a new game option presented itself to me: while previously my only available interactions between John and Linda were 1) compliment, 2) joke, and 3) talk, now I could 4) slap.
My finger hovered over the controller, as I considered having Linda slap John, just to see what would happen. JB wandered in the room. "How's it going?" he asked. I narrowed my eyes at him. "Fiiiine," I said slowly. "Cool," he said, and left. I thought about it another moment, then on the screen, Linda complimented John.
Maybe tonight, he'll get whacked.
Heh heh heh heh heh.
Yeah, it's seriously a geeky game. JB doesn't find it interesting in the slightest, although I think he's vaguely pleased by my new embracement of the (O holy!) Xbox. That doesn't surprise me, The Sims feels inherently more attractive to females, what with its notion of nurturing and working on relationships and whatnot. In comparison, JB's current game du jour involves barging into a seemingly endless series of rooms and shooting people, while the audio solemnly intones, over and over, "The terrorists win", or - for a patriotic and thrilling change! - "The counter-terrorists win".
So now I'm playing The Sims. If I continue in this vein of jumping on pop-culture entertainment bandwagons I had previously pooh-pooh'd, years after its popularity has waned, I'll be watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer in no time.