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News Archive - July, 2003
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Tuesday 1 July 2003
New donation files
Written at 02:16 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Sumit's been a busy man recently, and he's provided us with some unique donation files. Besides a plasma computer, a set of 9 columns (NeoClassic Style) and a NeoClassic table for your collection, there's also a brand new object tutorial. If you're a bit artistic and want to make brand new 3D objects, Sumit explains how. The tutorial explains how to create objects from scratch using Rhino 3D and Transmogrifier. You'll be able to download this tutorial if you donate to TSZ. Please do so, we really need the money! Thank you very much.
 
EA Announces Bustin' Out for GBA
Written at 21:27 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
EA Games has announced The Sims for the GameBoy Advance today. There's a nice little bit of info in the press release about the gameplay in Bustin' Out, which is similar to Bustin' Out on the other consoles:
"Players begin living in a Barn and earn their way through locations in SimValley to eventually live in the coolest cribs, such as a swanky Mansion on the hill. Players will be able to unlock over 20 locations such as the Biker Juice Bar and the Ultimate Dance Club on their way to success. There are eight new career paths for players to pursue including Cliff Diving Instructor to Iron Pizza Chef. If players want to get through adventures with speed, they will be able to unlock a scooter to race around SimValley. Players will meet and play with a wild cast of over 30 new characters exclusive to the Game Boy Advance such as Salty Sam and Bucky the Bull Rider. Players also can go to the pet shelter and adopt a dog or cat to keep them company. New to the Sims is a close-up social interaction screen that will allow players to have conversations with other Sims and establish friendships that will help them advance through levels and complete goals."
Of course it also mentions the connectivity with the GameCube, as well as several other things. You can read the whole press release right here. We already knew about this game for a while, since the E3 in may, and even have 2 screenshots for your from back then. You can find them at this page in our news archive.
 

Wednesday 2 July 2003
Late Superstar review
Written at 02:24 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
A late Superstar review has been posted at 3DAvenue.com. It's split up in 5 parts: Introduction, GamePlay (8.5/10), Visuals (7.5/10), Controls (9.0/10) and the Conclusion. The overal score they give is a 8.0 (out of 10). It doesn't really mention any new stuff, but I'll give you a quote from the GamePlay part anyway, which discusses repetition:
"One problem, or annoyance, I came across while doing this process was the repetition. Since your sim has needs, like food and sleep, you can never stay in studio town for as long as you need, forcing you to come back day after day trying to get a mere half star. Often you can replenish such needs as hygiene and hunger at Studio Town, but your energy can only be improved by sleep, and you can only get sleep at your house. Managing your sim is still obviously a very important role in Superstar, which is good, but when it always seems to cut into your activities it can become tedious."
You can read the entire review at this page, or check out other reviews in our review index.
 
Bustin' Out Interview
Written at 02:37 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
GameSpot has had a talk with Virginia McArthur about Bustin' Out on the GBA and GameCube. The interview has been spread over 3 pages, and mainly discusses the GBA version. The opening question is about when development on the GBA version started, which officially was in March 2003. There's also a lot of talking about the connectivity between the GBA and GameCube, as well as the features the GBA edition will have. Here's a snippet about auctions:
"If you connect to another GBA, you will be able to participate in each other's daily auctions. Auctions are held every sim day in the GBA version of The Sims Bustin' Out, so the best way to get more cheap stuff is to link up to another GBA and join in that auction as well. Your sims will be able to show up at the other player's local general store and will have an additional auction time. This is the ultimate trading spot--a way to bargain and take away other sims' surplus."
They also shortly mention the developers of the game, which is not Maxis but Griptonite Games, an Amaze Entertainment Studio located in Kirkland, Washington. For more questions and answers, click here.
 
New The Sims (GBA) Screenshots
Written at 13:17 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
IGN Gameboy has posted a preview of The Sims Bustin' Out on the GBA. In it is the information we saw in yesterday's news. However, it comes with 3 little new things: screenshots. These are about a Sim that has to go, a calling Sim and a Sim on a Bridge (below). You can check out their preview at this page. The screenshots are on this media page.

 

Thursday 3 July 2003
Sims Survey
Written at 00:31 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
I received an email from a group of four undergraduate students, who need your help. They're conducting a research to identify the ratio of males vs females playing specific computer games, including The Sims. They've posted an anonymous survey which, if you want to help them, you can fill out. It's anonymous and there are no risks of privacy of the respondents. You can find the survey at http://cgi.sfu.ca/~bmazus/cgi-bin/sims.php. It's a very short questionnaire (just 4 questions and a comments field), so it'll take only a minute to fill out.
 
New poll
Written at 02:00 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Like every week we've changed our poll again. Last week we asked how often your Sims move house, and that varies a lot. For those who don't know: use the bulldoze icon, click on the house the family lives in, and then use the Create a Family screen to move them in somewhere else. For all the results of that poll click here. This week we got a sort of private question for you (although everything's anonymous, so we won't be able to track anything with your member account whatsoever): how much money have you spent on The Sims, its add-ons, donations, paysite subscriptions etc. etc. Vote on the right or at this page. Thank you.
 
SimDay: Music and a hidden survey
Written at 22:38 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
This week's SimDay seems to be pretty nice. There are several interesting, but also some less interesting things. First of all there's the official announcement of The Sims Bustin' Out on GBA (click here to read), and a link to GameSpot's interview about it (more info right here). Then there's a link to an article at Wired News talking about Sims photo albums...
 
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Wednesday 9 July 2003
100,000 albums
Written at 12:03 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Maxis has achieved another milestone: album number 100,000 has been posted. The exchange at the official site has been the place to tell your Sims' stories for more than 3 years. The first 6 months weren't really exciting according to Will, but after that more and more fans started to post their stories and they even amazed Maxis at times. The fans still do so. "With The Sims 2 on the horizon, I can't wait to see what the fans will create. There will be an even greater potential for creative storytelling and content," said Will in this press release. Congratulations Maxis!
 
Expansion 7: Makin' Magic (instead of Spellbound) [Update 18:30]
Written at 20:08 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
We've heard a lot about a seventh expansion pack in the past, called Spellbound. It looks like that was just a working title, as a press release has already leaked: The Sims Makin' Magic will be released 31 October in Europe, probably a week earlier (24 October) in the US. Although the press release isn't available in English yet, there's a Dutch version of it available at this page (at the official Dutch site). Sims will be able to cast magical tricks to improve their love life, cause chaos at angry neighbours, or make an end to all their worries. There will be another new area ("Magic Town") where you can meet new characters, show off your magic, or discover secret recipes for spells. You can also change the regular objects into personal helps, hypnotise your friends or change that boring woman nextdoor into a frog. If your Sims aren't skilled enough, anything can go wrong. That's about all that the press release says. When there's an English press release available (which will be very soon), we'll mention it. Stay tuned!

[Update 18:30] I missed the two screenshots at the bottom of the press release. Here they are anyway:



 
Makin' Magic: English press release
Written at 20:48 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Now it appears EA UK has also posted the press release of Makin' Magic, along with a list of key features. Noticable is the "expansion pack finale" in the first sentence: that probably means it's the last expansion pack for The Sims 1. Meanwhile there's still no patch for Superstar (although there are many bugs), and of course we never know what kind of bugs this EP will add... Anyway, the "Read more" bit has the whole press release from The Sims UK.
 
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Thursday 10 July 2003
New poll
Written at 02:39 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Last week we asked you how much you've spent on The Sims series so far. We come to the conclusion an average of about $140 is spent on The Sims per person. 228 people voted, of which 25% (57 people) spent $100 to $200 on The Sims. Second are those who haven't spent a dime on it, with 51 votes (22%). All the other results are at this page. This week we want to know what you think of the utilities Maxis has made in the past 3 years. Tell us by voting on the right of every page at The Sims Zone, or go to this page. Thank you!
 
New The Sims 2 Screenshots
Written at 19:38 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Gamespot has given us some new material: 4 brand new screenshots of The Sims 2, and 2 concepts of art, along with a preview from Camp EA:
"At the recent Camp EA press event, we had the opportunity to get an up-close look at The Sims 2, and while the version on display was the same one that was shown at E3, we were able to take a more in-depth look at the upcoming sequel and its features. One of The Sims 2's most intriguing new features is the way that its computerized people (or "sims") will change over time--they'll not only age from babies to children to adults to senior citizens, they'll also change in other physical, emotional, and mental ways."
For the screenshots (one showing a hot tub, another showing quite a big house from the outside, a teenage mom with crying baby, and some people playing games) and concepts of art (twice the lifecycle of a Sim in one pic), click here. Enjoy!
 
Makin' Magic Material
Written at 20:28 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
GameSpot has posted some news from Camp EA about The Sims Makin' Magic. There's a preview and 3 videos. However, all these movies are locked for GameSpot complete members. For the preview, which tells us that the expansion has a career path like Superstar, only that it focuses on the Cooking, Logic and Mechanical skills (instead of Body, Charisma, and Creativity). Here's another bit from the preview:
"Some of the spell-like effects that successful sims can bring about include helpful sorceries that create free banquets of food or cause piles of money to rain from the sky; but if these effects backfire, they can have harmful effects, such as summoning a swarm of horned toads to plague your lawn or cause actual rain to rain from the sky, along with thunder and lightning. You'll able to create spells that affect your sims' relationships, including a "marry me" spell that can help your lonely sims get hitched. For other, more-personal enchantments, your sims will be able to cast spells on their neighbors by choosing an enchantment from the regular dialogue options, so along with "tease," "joke," and "talk," your sims might have the new social option of "toadification" that can be used to turn a prince, or anyone else, into a frog."
The whole preview is right here. The movies at this page. These 3 videos are 40 mb of footage in total (30 mb low-res), but as they're only for GameSpot complete members not everybody will be able to download them...
 
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SimDay: Nothing much
Written at 21:13 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
This Simday is nothing more than expected (in fact, it's less). All there is are 4 new music downloads from Superstar for your CD (click here for those). Of course you can still download the 4 'old' tracks (posted last week) and the cover arts/labels. The other thing that's posted is a press release... Strangely enough there's nothing about Makin' Magic, but only a post about the 100,000 family albums posted at the official site. If you look a bit back in our archive, you can see we reported about that yesterday. You can read the press release right here. Perhaps the Makin' Magic press release will be posted tomorrow, who knows? Anyway, that's all for this SimDay. Maybe more next week.
 
Bustin' Out (PS2, GC, XB, GBA) Stuff
Written at 21:26 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Besides GameSpot posting a lot of info on Makin' Magic (read this), they've posted some stuff of The Sims Bustin' Out (on the consoles). There's a preview of Bustin' Out right here. GBA players should check out this preview as well. Besides that there are some new screenshots for the GBA version at this page. Then there are 3 new videos (and the old trailer has been posted again), which show several things. Unfortunately for many of you, these are for GameSpot Complete members only. I'm lucky to be such a member, so let me tell something about them...
 
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Friday 11 July 2003
Tribute to Sim Customization
Written at 06:40 by Sumit - 2 comments.
Its been years that such a customizable game still holds strong, and for those who love to customize, here is a new treat. This is the original 3D file, completely customizable, for Plasmatron: PC of the Future, and goes alongside the tutorial (both of which are currently donators only, so donate and learn a thing or two :) ) This is the PC you see in the "Donation Files" section. It is quite nice really, also included are some pointers.

Check it out here!
 
Even more Bustin' Out Stuff
Written at 23:15 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
IGN has been at Camp EA as well, and after GameSpot (read this and this) they've posted several things about The Sims Bustin' Out. First of all: the screenies. There are the 6 new ones from the GBA version which we already saw yesterday, at this page. They've also written a hands-on preview, which you can read right here. They get into detail about the story mode in the game, and the town your Sim can go to. Then there's a preview of Bustin' Out on PS2, GameCube and X-Box. Once again they're all the same, and you can find it right here. They talk about the upgraded graphics, the revamped Create-A-Sim, the transportation, and new ways to kill Sims, all on 2 pages. Along with that there are 4 brand new screenshots, all available at this page. Then they've posted the trailer again, which is available for free from the same page (in streaming format), or in high res for download for those who are IGN Insiders. Finally, back to GameSpot, there's a video interview with Fred Dieckmann (associate Producer of Bustin' Out), for the GameSpot Complete members...
 
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Superstar reviews
Written at 23:28 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
The next expansion has already been announced and there are still reviews of Superstar popping up. We've spotted 2 more: this one from FragLand, and another one from Gamers Pulse. They both rate it quite well, and about the same too: 73.5% at Fragland (that review does have a few mistakes in it (good-humoured instead of in a good mood for instance), but since English isn't the writer's primary language that doesn't matter), and 38 out of 50 (would be 76% if you convert it) points from Gamers Pulse. However, they don't mention the sluggish scrolling and many bugs other reviews mentioned. They do comment on the outdated graphics, which are now over 3 years old. To read the Fragland review, click here, the Gamers Pulse one can be found right here. For more reviews, check out our Superstar review index.
 

Sunday 13 July 2003
Green Hyperness
Written at 01:08 by Sumit - 2 comments.
Here is a green coffee maker and expresso maker (requested) they look vivid and keep your sims grooving all night long.


 

Wednesday 16 July 2003
New The Sims clone in the make
Written at 03:05 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
This news is not directly The Sims related, but it does look like a clone of the game is being made. The german developer Rotobee is working on 'Singles', a.k.a. 'Living Up' (which probably reminds many of the Sims' first expansion pack). Little is known of this title, except that the goal is to get a 'Sim' (Mike or Linda), and hook them up with somebody else. It's all about relationships, including sex. It seems to be a somewhat erotic version of The Sims, probably not for our youngest readers. There are 9 screenshots, which are quite harmless. As you can see on them, the interface of the game is really similar to The Sims. Some screenshots can be found at Rotobee's website. The website WorthPlaying has recently posted 12 screenshots too, which look quite different (just 3 motive bars, everything's pink). These could be from an earlier version of the game. To check out those, click here. The game's expected to be released November 2003.
 

Thursday 17 July 2003
New poll: Are you gonna make magic?
Written at 02:00 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Last week we asked you what you think of the tools from Maxis. The results: most people love them. Going from top to bottom the options got less votes. 15% doesn't have any of Maxis' tools, and 6% doesn't know about them. We want to thank all 143 people who voted. Check out more detailed results right here. This week we've launched another poll (like always). Since Makin' Magic has been announced now, we're wondering if you think it'll be worth it. Tell us by voting at the right, or at this page.
 
SimDay: is that all?
Written at 20:54 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
This week's SimDay isn't much: just 4 new songs from the SuperStar cd and some links. The songs released this week are 'Glabe Glarn', 'The Spa Treatment', 'Frettesche' and '8x10 Glossy'. The final 2 tracks will probably be released next week. You can download the music from this page. Besides that, there are links to articles from Camp EA. Besides IGN and GameSpot (which we reported about), there are links to screenshot pages of GameSpy. However, it seems they haven't posted anything but those screenshots. For Makin' Magic details, check out this news, Bustin' Out is in this news (GameSpot) and this news (IGN). Besides that the official site has posted the Makin' Magic 'announcement' - which apparantly isn't official ("Although not officially announced...") - last friday. It's all on the official site. That's it again this week, not much new but it's something.
 

Saturday 19 July 2003
Makin' Magic Preview
Written at 22:13 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
GameSpy has posted a preview of the seventh and final expansion pack for The Sims 1: Makin' Magic. It's not much more than an overview of the possibilites of the expansion though, and they probably weren't able to play it themselves at Camp EA. There isn't much in it that we don't know yet:
"Putting magic into the world of The Sims seems like an odd choice, but the developers are clearly aiming for the lighthearted sitcom approach of Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie, rather than the sinister direction of The Omen or The Exorcist -- so don't expect demonic little children or even kids who can projectile vomit pea soup. However, you can take your established sims, head over to a new carnival-themed destination, and take a trip to Magic Town where you'll get to perform mind-boggling tricks and unlock powerful spells."
It's a nice preview, but it doesn't add anything great. You can find it right here. Enjoy it.
 

Sunday 20 July 2003
Sims 2 articles, shots and a movie
Written at 00:28 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
There's 1 new preview, a developer diary (part 1), 2 screenshots and a new movie all of The Sims 2. Most of it comes from GameSpot, but let's first check out this preview at EuroGamer. That one's pretty much like what we've seen before. They first tell us about an old game on Commodore64, which was called "Alter Ego". Then they go on about The Sims 2. They haven't been able to play it themselves, they only got to watch a demo. That demo is a few months old now, and the review doesn't give very much news. Then there's a designer's diary, the first part of a series in which designers and developers of Maxis will tell about the progress of The Sims 2. First up is Tim LeTourneau, who talks 2 pages long about the beginning of the sequel to our favourite game...
 
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Tuesday 22 July 2003
Superstar - What our critic has to say
Written at 22:54 by Andy - 2 comments.


You've seen the other reviews about this expansion but what do we think about it?

Our review is in!
 

Thursday 24 July 2003
New Poll
Written at 02:32 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
Last week we asked you if you think Makin' Magic will be worth getting. 243 People voted, and most of them - 119 (49%) - will definitly be getting the seventh expansion pack. Second place are those who definitly will not get the game, but will wait with for The Sims 2 instead (46 - 19%). Then there are those who might get it: 37 votes (15%) for those who doubt they'll buy it, unless it's very good, closely followed by the 35 people (14%) who'll check out some review before deciding on buying the expansion pack. The other who won't get it follow far behind: 4 people (2%) are done with all Sims stuff, 2 people (1%) are just sick of all the expansion packs. This week we ask you if you make and publish any items for The Sims yourself, and if so, which ones. Please let us know by voting on the right or at this page. More polls are in our archive.
 

Sunday 27 July 2003
We're back... sort of [Update 2]
Written at 14:36 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Our regular visitors may have noticed this site's been offline for a while since Friday. We've been transferred to a new server (according to our host it should be faster and more reliable), which is now up and running. Currently, only thesimszone.com is working, our .co.uk domain still has been updated (and will be working soon). That should be done soon, and we hope that will be working again later this week. It will be back completely by Wednesday. Unfortunately, the back-up of our database was done before the site was taken offline, so we've lost several things since the site got deleted: all member sign-ups, votes in the poll and a news post about the last SimDay have gone lost. Those who signed up Thursday or Friday might have to sign up again. Please try logging in first, if it says your username is invalid you know you have to register again. You can use the same username as before. If you're lucky you can vote in the poll again. If not, there's unfortunately nothing you can do - you'll be able to vote again in the next poll that will be posted on Thursday as usual.

We also still have a few things to set up. E-mails will arrive, but they might not arrive at the right person. Also we still need to set up a few things to get the donation files working again. There might be another few minor things to go through.

If you sent us an email recently and we haven't replied to it, or we still have to add/change your link, help you out, whatsoever, just e-mail me and I'll make sure you get the help you need.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the move and the downtime. The Sims Zone is now back and running as normal, except for the .co.uk domain not working just yet.

[Update 28 July 2003, 0:30] Our thesimszone.co.uk domain has been updated, and will be active again within 24-48 hours (depending on your ISP). It might still need some tweaking once it's up, but we should be back completely again by Wednesday. E-mails might not (properly) arrive for another 24 hours though. Please do not send us emails today, wait until 29 July. Thank you.

[Update 31 July 2003, 10:20] It's all working again now, both .co.uk and .com. We'll soon be swapping the domains back, so thesimszone.co.uk will be our main domain. Besides that I'll be making a fix to make the time show correctly again (it's 1 hour behind now). All of that should be fixed soon.

Now: on to the news that you've missed while The Sims Zone was offline, including the SimDay...
 
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Makin' Magic box shot
Written at 15:03 by ChEeTaH - 20 comments.
Our affiliate MadSims.Net has posted the box art for the new expansion, Makin' Magic. Thanks to them, who got it from Tiger, we can now show it to you too. Here it is:

Makin' Magic Box
 

Wednesday 30 July 2003
The Sims Makin' Magic Survey
Written at 21:44 by ChEeTaH - 5 comments.
A thing we've seemed to mist since the box-shot: it came from a survey, apparantly. It's all about The Sims, and apparantly they want to know more about your experience with The Sims and its expansion packs. They ask several questions about the new expansion pack, like whether you'll buy it or not, if you've heard about it, and what you know about it. They have several final titles that might make it: "Makin' Magic", "Spellbound" (which we've heard before), "9 to 5", "College Bound", or "Global Travels". I doubt some names will be used for Makin' Magic, but maybe they'll be used for an expansion pack for The Sims 2. You can take the survey right here. Besides all the questions, there are also some more box shots, and a couple of pictures of objects (of which you've already seen a couple on the 2 screenshots). The boxes are for the titles Makin' Magic and Spellbound (click to enlarge):

Makin' Magic:
Makin' Magic, Blue Makin' Magic, Black
Spellbound:
Spellbound, Blue Spellbound, Green Spellbound, Black

For the objects pictures, just take the survey. Thanks to both Sims Extremos and our affiliate The Sim's Stash for info about the survey.
 
The Sims Double Deluxe pre-order
Written at 21:53 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
It looks like Maxis is going for another repackaging of The Sims 1 with an expansion pack (or maybe more). At GameStop, you can now pre-order "The Sims Double Deluxe". There is no more info available yet, except that the release date is set at late October, the same time as Makin' Magic... which we might have to start calling Spellbound again. The same site says Spellbound at this page. Since the product ID is bigger than that of Double Deluxe, it's probably added a bit later. However, the name is still quite uncertain, and it could still stay Makin' Magic after all. It's confusing, but in any case: Spellbound and Makin' Magic are the same. The survey (read this) might help make the final decision, as you can choose your favourite name there. The Sims Double Deluxe's pre-order page is right here.
 

Thursday 31 July 2003
New poll
Written at 02:17 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
Although we haven't been online too much last week, we did have a poll running. This week, as normal, we've added a new poll. We're wondering which name for the new expansion pack you like better: Makin' Magic, or Spellbound. Let us know, by voting on the right, or at this page. Last week's poll didn't get too many votes, because of our server move. Just 58 people voted. The question was: "What items for The Sims do you make and publish yourself?". 31 people voted they make nothing, 17 people went for houses/families, Objects (13), Walls (12) and Floors (11) follow after that. They're followed by Skins/Meshes (9) and roofs (8). If you add up those numbers, you'll get higher than 58: that's because you could select several options, not just one. For more poll results, click here.
 
SimDay: Makin' Magic now official
Written at 18:54 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
This week's SimDay comes with the final confirmation of Makin' Magic. Most likely it won't change its name anymore. The initial announcement posted a couple of weeks ago officially wasn't official yet, this one is. You can read the official press release here. Along with the press release Maxis has released 3 new screenshots of the upcoming expansion pack, which are to be seen at this page. They show several new objects and a few gardening gnomes. Finally there's a link to an article at USA Weekend. They start off with the example of a mansion without smoke detectors or a phone that's on fire, which fortunately exists only in The Sims. 12 year old Alison Newell has learnt from the game:
"OK, Sam's a genius. I knew that. But young Alison, too, has learned from The Sims. When she gets older and lives on her own, she says, "I'll make sure I have a phone and smoke detector.""
The article compares The Sims with reality a bit. It's a nice read, so click here to make it show up on your screen. That's it again this week.