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The Sims: To adore or a bore?
Introduction
If you visit this site, you probably still play The Sims as well. Others did, but don't anymore. I hope these people also read this article. They say it gets boring after a while. In this article, I'll be trying to tell you how the Sims gets boring - or not. The reason why is the new expansion pack, House Party, that is released this or next week. I'll write a piece why you can keep adoring it, then why it gets a bore after a while. A conclusion will follow. At the moment of writing this introduction, I have no idea yet what exactly I'm going to write, I hope it'll be good :-)
The Sims: To adore
The Sims was released more than a year ago. It became a hit, nearly right away. Millions of people bought the game, and the expansion pack (Livin' It Up/Livin' Large) later. I think the newest expansion, House Party, will sell with millions as well. There are probably many people still not bored by the game. I think this is mainly because of the new stuff that keeps coming available. Many sites popped up, and most of them have downloads, that help you expanding your game. Get a few downloads, and you can create a whole new family, with a whole new house and furniture. Original files keep popping up on the net. Some people re-created some famous things or persons (in the form of skins), others made up their own stuff. Even Maxis came up with some stuff (read Andy's series of articles of 'What happened to SimDay?' in our editorials section for more). All these things add a bit of new gameplay every time. The main success of a game isn't in the graphics and sound, but the gameplay. If the gameplay is bad, many people will eventually keep the CD somewhere, leading to a CD that will never get out of its case. The Livin' Large expansion contained some quite good new features, and they were enough to keep the game running on several PCs. Especially the multiple neighborhood option and the fact there is nearly no limit on walls and floors were useful to most people.

If it's not the ability of expanding the game endlessly, it probably is the freedom within the gameplay. It's you who controls the game. You decide to run or ruin the lives of the sims. Some like to play good, and get a sim to reach a good private life, with the love of their life living in the same house, a few kids. Of course a wonderful career is also necessary - unless you use cheats... Others like to ruin the lives of all sims, and kill them all - no private life, no career, but the one playing the game had fun. Playing in either of these 'modes' (most will probably do so, but aren't conscious of it), you can set a goal for yourself. Giving yourself a goal to reach, will keep you having fun, until you reached that goal. After that, because of the nearly endless options on what you can do, you can set another goal for your sims to reach.

I think there are many people that played the game day in day out when they just got it. After a month, they put it away for a few weeks or months. After that, they install and run the game again - because they have something new to add to it. They have fun this way every time, probably because they forgot how certain things worked or how their sims responded to certain actions: they're going to try some things again. The boredom of the previous time they played it, is gone. I'm one of those people, and I still like the game (why else would I keep updating this site?)
The Sims: A bore
This next part is about how boring The Sims can be. Many people played The Sims before, but stopped playing it because it became boring after a while. This is probably because of repetitive gameplay. You run the the lives of several sims. You actually control yourself, but you don't actually know (read my comparison of The Sims and Big Brother in our editorials section for more) - unless you start thinking about it. You don't change a lot: once you run the lives of your sims, you'll keep running them. If you like to ruin their lives, you'll keep ruining them. For most it'll be difficult doing the total opposite of what they usually do. This means after a while of playing, you've seen it all. It's more like 'been there, done that'. Who likes to see a tv-show twice in a row, with for instance a day or a week, maybe a month in between? A game is just like that. Expanding the game might make you like it again in some cases. Other times, it won't, because the basics of the game remain the same: run or ruin the sims' lives. Just a new skin, floor, wall or object doesn't change the meaning of the game a lot, it only adds fun for a little while. Some 'objects' renewed the game more though: for example the famous animals at some bigger sites.

Another reason that the game becomes boring is actually a sort of follow-up on the previous reason. In The Sims, there's no multiplayer option. This means that once you've been through it all, there's no option of continuing the game online. Playing a game online can be much more fun, simply because computers aren't as smart as human beings. I can imagine there was no multiplayer in The Sims. How would you make it? That two or more players run a family? Perhaps running a neighborhood would work, but the time a game would take would be more than hours. An online version of The Sims as it is now would be nearly impossible. It's good that an upcoming title from Maxis is The Sims Online: you are a sim there, so by playing The Sims Online you'll literally be living a virtual life.
Conclusion
To summarize it a little: expanding the game keeps it attractive, but enough gameplay should be added each time. An endless freedom keeps the game fun, but repetition makes it boring. I think those are the main reasons that people keep or stop playing the game. Perhaps I'm wrong, but this is how I think about it. I did my best putting my thoughts in words, but that's difficult.

If you have any comments to my article, or you think I'm wrong, please e-mail me. I like to read your opinion. If there's another reason why you keep or stopped playing the game, tell me! Maybe there'll be a follow-up to this article once, if I get enough new ideas...

C-yAh,

ChEeTaH
Written at 21:22 on Tuesday 27 March 2001 by ChEeTaH.

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