Thursday, 22 August 2013

Playing The Sims 3

As part of the current Humble Bundle, EA are giving away a whole bunch of games for less the £3. One of those is the Sims 3, and so I decided to give it a try and see how everything's changed. I haven't played a Sims game since the first one about fifteen years ago. My curiosity was up.

ORIGIN is a horrible service. The Sims 3 runs through it, and even worse, has extra hurdles to make it work elevate it to being an especially repulsive product. In order to activate the game you have to jump through three dozen hoops on the official sims website, entering your password and secutiry questions (like your former pets favourite foods), all while enerting your product code repeatedly, which you cannot even cut and paste but must type out manually into several tiny boxes.

Then ORIGIN tears apart your internet provider to download as much of the game as possible as quickly as possible, which is nice in theory but a nightmare in real life. It means you can only download games at night when no-when else wants to use the internet, because ORIGIN is hogginle all the bandwidth. And I do mean "all". It's like being on dial-up in the mid-90s; you need to be sure your mum wont want to use the phone for the next hour because you want to use the internet to download the friggin' Sims.

Then it wanted to patch itself several times, get me to log in again, and get me to sign in after I'd logged in. As an added bonus, the only way to change the graphics settings are in-game, and they require a restart after changing, of course. So, all things considered, and hour went by before I even got going.

Starting with the default couple in the default house, I then sat through the "how to move the camera" tutorial, because I thought it's be quicker to complete the thing than look around for how to turn it off.
Eventually, I was in the game. I had two sims - a husband and wife. They had a house, which I furnished with the necessities. And then we were off, finally, to play the game.

They world was their oyster.

I thought it would be a bit, ahem, off to immediately send the wife to the bookshelf to study cooking, and so instead I immediately sent the husband to the bookshelf to study cooking.

Having grown up on The Sims 1, I have a healthy understanding of how goddamn useless your sims are when they first start the game. They can just about "cook" a light salad for dinner, and half the time they manage to set the entire kitchen ablaze doing just that (Lord knows how) and that just isn't on.

So first things first, one of these two must immediately study cooking, while the other goes around going 'coo-ee' at all the new paintings and pot-plants, as Sims are want to do.

My new grown-up enlightened modern sensibilities enabled, Mr. Sim spent the rest of the day studying cooking, with no time allowed for a toilet break or a coffee break. Meanwhile, the wife got a job as a politician because that used to be an "easy" career choice, given how goddamn over-powered the 'charisma' ability is/was, for all you need to do to train that up is talk to yourself in the mirror.

And so the first day was passed, with Mr. Sim sitting in the cheapest most uncomfortable chair known to man reading how to cook, and his wife, Mrs. Sim, talking to herself in a mirror.

At 9pm they ordered pizza, talked for a bit about the tv and the weather (I think, it's hard to tell with sims) until they were happy, and sent promptly to bed.

The Sims 3 has this concept of "weekdays" and "weekends" which I find disconcerting. On weekdays you have to send your Sim to work and you get weekends off. Back in my day, your sims could just bunk off work every one day in three and there'd be no repercussions, but that allowance doesn't exist anymore.

So Mrs. Sim needed her rest in order to be ready to go to work the next morning, in her first day as an important local politician. And there in arose a problem: I had placed the bed slightly too near the wall for both Sims to get in it at once. And with Mrs. Sim asleep, Mr. Sim couldn't get to bed. Making matters worse, in order to move the bed, I'd have to wake up Mrs. Sim - not an option with work at 9am the next day.

So, I sent Mr. Sim back for a nap on the couch, and then he was to spend an all-nighter studying cooking.

Morning came, and Mrs Sim woke up. Slightly too late, I might add, to both have a shower and eat breakfast, so off she went to work. Hungry. Mr Sim then went to bed, tired and angry at the world, to sleep all day.

That evening he set the kitchen on fire trying to cook the first nice meal for the two of them, moments after the wife broke the toilet the first time she used it, and so I let them burn to death for their stupidity.


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