The Sims: Online
|a game by||Maxis Software|
|User Rating:||10.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Since its release, The Sims has been nestling in the charts with the tenacity of Meatloafs Bat Out Of Hell album. During its tenure, the game has garnered something of a 'love it or hate it' reputation, and I'd like to throw my weighty opinion into the debate. However, having played it for a couple of weeks, I foolishly lent my copy to a PR person, who, having failed to return it, has been feeding me a tissue of lies ever since. From what I saw, it seemed a reasonable game, and I hope whoever has it is enjoying it. You dirty, thieving mongrel.
Anyway, despite my copy being passed around the games industry like a venereal disease, The Sims is still showing no signs of departing the top ten, its long stay bolstered by frequent add-on packs and a vast online community. The number of user add-ons created by fans since the game's release is quite bewildering, including such useful accoutrements as plaid skirts and moose paintings.
The move into an online version is a natural one then, opening up a whole world of possibilities, not to mention potential pitfalls. Thus far, The Sims has been a defiantly single player experience, and the advent of a massively multiplayer universe will require a certain shift of perspective. No longer will you preside over a collection of Sims, rather you will actually 'become' one (or more), stepping out into a wonderful and frightening world with little more than a pocket full of bollocks.
That's not stricdy true, as each Sim will be allotted a piece of la nd, Resisting the temptation to simply buy a can of Special Brew and sit on your plot hurling abuse at your neighbours, the idea is to actually make something of your virtual life. Sim Capitalism, if you like, as your land can house a business, such as a coffee shop, a museum, a discotheque, a casino, or even a brothel. Power, wealth, reputation and social standing can all be improved, and the idea is to build up a network of friends and all work together in some kind of twisted utopian ideal.
Of course it won't happen like that, as most people are selfish greedy bastards who wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire. This can be reflected in the game, and as the Maxis press release alliteratively states, you can "be a peacemaker or pest, a recluse or rabble-rouser". It also says: "in this open-ended, online world, you choose your role, your attitude and your destiny," which is possibly laying it on a bit thick, but you get the idea.
With cities housing up to 100,000 Sims, the possibilities are there for a vast game in every sense. Clearly it will have to be regulated to guard against such deviant behaviour as foul and abusive language, or decorating your bedroom walls with hardcore pornography. According to designer Will Wright, the hope is that players will strive to entertain each other, with a reward system in place for achieving popularity. It's an intriguing concept, and we will be following The Sims Online closely. Whatever happens, it has to be better than selling tunics to goblins.