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The Sims - How do you play yours? (Part 1)
Once Upon A Time
As the story goes, when Will Wright came up with the original idea for "The Sims", it was more going to be the simulation of buildings and how it evolves. When his daughter Cassidi said that concentrating on the "sims" would be more fun, the game changed its focus to that which it currently follows.

"The Sims" with its seven expansion packs has proved itself to be an extremely versatile game that has something in it for everyone. To describe all the styles of playing the game would take forever. In this series of articles, I will try and look in detail at what I consider to the major styles. Mind you, I do not think there is anyone out there who has played the game for any significant period of time who has stuck to one particular mode of play. I haven't.

This series of articles intends to look at the different ways that people play the game. It might bring up some playing ideas that you havenít thought of and want to give a try for your households and get some variety.

The first playing style I am going to look at is the Traditional.
The Traditional Style
Welcome to the neighborhood. You are unskilled, have no possessions and have only ß20,000 for you and your family to live on. With the family or just the individual you have created, your mission is to build a house, learn skills, make friends, go to work and advance yourself up the career ladder.

Off you go.

Everyone at some stage or other will play this style, as it is the manner in which people are taught to play the game if they go through the Newbie Tutorial. I would believe that this style is the most common but in my opinion it can become boring if the style is played all of the time. It is the way that the game was originally constructed and is really the backbone of the system.

There you go. That is "The Sims" in a nutshell for the traditional player. The purely traditional player will use only the original game and expansion packs, plus any Sim Day downloads if they have an Internet connection.
Expanding Traditions
The expansion packs have added to the game and given more options and I recommend all of them to enrich gameplay.

Tired of the mundane and normal, they can live it up with crystal balls, genies, voodoo dolls and another five careers to keep them amused. Enter the guinea pig and the tragic clown.

Tired of being at home alone, they can call the caterer, hire an entertainer and invite their friends over for a house party. Watch out for gatecrashers, the mime and if youíre lucky, a certain celebrity from Cleveland.

Tired of the same lingerie and swimwear, they can call a cab and go downtown to do some shopping where they can also meet and have a hot date with new people, watching out for the old prude who could spoil their fun.

Tired of Sim City, they can even go on vacation to three different styles of vacation setting where they can try to be model tourists or come home in disgrace.

Tired of only 10 houses, they can be unleashed in the larger neighborhood, now own pets and also visit the shops and parks in their community. They could even choose to grow their own produce, which involves getting seeds, watering them and making sure the garden doesnít get overrun with gophers. Another five careers are there to change the pace.

Tired of the car pool coming for them and the world zipping by during working hours, they can also "get a proper job" to become a Studio Town superstar. They could even win an award for their performances, get their name in the tabloids, and have adoring fans wanting their autograph or find black roses on their patio left by some obsessed fan. The butler might be able to see him off, though.

Tired of the real world of normal life, which may ultimately happen, they could be making magic at home or enter the eerie world of Magic Town. If theyíre really good, they could even get to live there.
A Well Travelled Path
Let us assume that the Goths from No.5 are following the traditional path.

The purely traditional player's photo albums can be quite boring viewing. Usually, it will be full of photos of weddings, births, children, deaths and break-ins.

With the Goths, there might be a picture following Mortimer's latest promotion showing him in his new working outfit stood beside the smarter car that now picks him up. Perhaps there might be a picture of Bella trying on some new lingerie at a downtown store or Cassidi trying out the halfpipe when they are on vacation. There is a story here, but it is not very exciting.

Eventually, the Goths can to move to a larger house in their neighbourhood or they can expand their house at No.5 by getting rid of that graveyard and replacing it with a swimming pool. Mortimer (and perhaps Bella) will have reached the top of the career ladder and they should have a comfortable cash balance to dispose of.

This might be a good starting point for one of them to get an agent and become a Superstar, assuming they have the expansion pack of that name. Also, on the same proviso, one of them could become the next Harry Potter and learn magic.

However, for this style to be successful, it means that with Mortimer going out to work every day, he cannot really find time to enjoy home and his family. Although he may be a professional success, he is unlikely to be a domestic success.
Valuable Property
"Behind every successful man is a good woman" goes an old phrase but it is very true in "The Sims". It means that Mortimer is unlikely to have a lot of friends - unless he takes frequent days off to host parties or goes on vacation spending most of his time making friends with other vacationers. In all likelihood, it is Bella who has made the friends, connections and contacts. She becomes valuable property and Mortimer needs to keep his eyes on her... when he isnít working. After all, Bella will have lots of friends and they are essential for reaching those higher career levels. Someone else could want her for those alone - perhaps Bob Newbie - rather than wooing her in order to inherit the household fortunes.
Conclusion
This Traditional Playing Style has its limitations. Once a Sim is at the top of the career ladder with a high level of skills and a lot of friends, a large house with a pool and expensive furnishings, has triethere isnít much left that can be done except start another family and do it all over again.

In Part 2, however, I will be looking at the different ways your Sims can make money without ever having to leave their neighbourhood lot.

"The Homeworker Style"

Dag dag!
Written at 04:11 on Thursday 29 April 2004 by Andy.

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