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An Honest Day's Work
Introduction
If you want to put food on the table or in the fridge for that matter, you'll need to make money. You could cheat your way to financial security but that makes the game a less rich experience.

Unless you are a skilled artist or writer, your only other alternative is to find employment.

"Let's go to work"

The formula is somewhat similar to how it was before.
  • Keep your motives high
  • Learn the right skills
  • Make friends
  • Get promoted

    However, some things have improved to make the working life in "The Sims 2" even better.
  • What's new?
    I am pleased to notice some changes in the careers that are included in TS2.

    Teen/Elder Jobs are three level career tracks. The shifts are designed so that they do not overlap with school for teens and helps give a bit of a springboard into the adult career track. They all overlap the full Adult Jobs to some degree. As well as giving you a head start, these help pay the bills or to just get grandma out of the house. In some cases, if you do well in your teen career, you will already start at a minimum of Level 3 in certain of these careers. However, Teens need to maintain their school grades or they will automatically lose their jobs. Elders don't have that restriction.

    Career Reward Objects are free and are available when your sim reaches a certain level in their career track. In some cases, these also increase your fun and in some cases help make you money. We will look at each of these rewards as we go through the different career tracks in turn.

    Chance Cards have been improved. Even though you don't get to see them at work, the new Chance Cards give you some insight into the life of your sims as they work. These could range from a crucial decision involving a high-speed getaway to escape from the police, handling a rush at a burger bar, a choice of remedy following a sports injury, an important political decision to make regarding lobbying an issue you do not agree with to even deciding who to treat first at the hospital.

    In TS2, you get presented with a scenario and three choices, one of which is to ignore the Chance Card. Sometimes, ignoring is the best option as more than one of the cards give you "no win" situations. Success can give a reward of money, skills and/or promotion.

    Beware! Remembering what seems to be the right answer in the event you have another sim in the same career track doesn't always work. The right answer can change depending upon circumstances. It could be random or it could be dependant upon a series of things. I am yet to find out.

    In the main, I am pleased with these changes to the careers and look forward with interest to what might be coming next.
    Career Tracks
    There are ten career tracks. Eight of these are from the original game of "The Sims", one is from the "Living..." expansion pack and the final one is from the "Unleashed" expansion pack.

    Out goes "Entertainment" and "Extreme" to be replaced with "Slacker" and "Culinary". I would have preferred to see more careers or a different choice. Personally, I am a big fan of the journalism career track.

    The job descriptions don't seem to have changed much. However, the job requirements do have some changes. "Cleaning" was not a skill in "The Sims" and has been used to maximum effect in TS2. Also, the requirement to have so many friends also seems to have changed somewhat. The friend-intensive careers (Slacker, Politics) do not seem to be as bad now.

    Let us go through each career track in turn looking if they say that there is a most suitable aspiration to follow that career track to the different levels - both teen/elder and adult - and the career track reward object.
    Athletic
    Recommended Aspiration - Money OR Popularity
    Teen/Elder Job Titles - Waterperson, Locker Room Attendant, Team Mascot
    Adult Job Titles - Team Mascot, Minor Leaguer, Rookie, Starter, All Star, MVP, Superstar, Assistant Coach, Coach, Hall of Famer



    Starting at the bottom from being the club waterboy (or girl) to becoming a luminary on the Hall of Fame, this career track requires a lot of physical training, a charismatic personality and a knowledge of mechanics and how things and people work together. You will live out your career on a sporting team, ultimately becoming its coach.
    Business
    Recommended Aspiration - Fortune and Popularity (which I find odd as you only require one friend)
    Teen/Elder Job Titles - Gofer, Mailroom Technician, Executive Assistant
    Adult Job Titles - Mailroom Technician, Executive Assistant, Field Sales Rep, Junior Executive, Executive, Senior Manager, Vice President, President, CEO, Business Tycoon



    From running errands for the company to becoming a business tycoon running it and numerous other corporations, it requires a rational and logical mild, the ability to charm your way into numerous lucrative deals and a creative streak to help you maximise the potentials of your businesses. You will work your way up the corporate chain of being an executive, junior manager and CEO to name just a few of the corporate ports of call you will be visiting.

    According to Prima, you only need one friend. However, if you're in this cut-throat profession, you'd be hard pressed to keep them anyway once you've backstabbed them a few times in your goal for corporate dominance.
    Criminal
    Recommended Aspiration - Fortune
    Teen/Elder Job Titles - Street Hawker, Numbers Runner, Pickpocket
    Adult Job Titles - Pickpocket, Bagman, Bookie, Con Artist, Getaway Driver, Bank Robber, Cat Burglar, Counterfeiter, Smuggler, Criminal Mastermind



    From selling dubious goods on Peckham Market (Ed: Rodney, you plonker) to people with more money than sense through to becoming a Criminal Mastermind with a bizarre outfit to show for your status, this career sees you climbing the ladder of (dis)organised crime. Every step of this way has its risks and pitfalls. One false move and you'll find yourself unemployed and your life could be at risk. From being one of Mr. Big's bookmakers to being a getaway driver on a major bank job to printing your own money or forging your own works of art, this career requires a creative mind, a knowledge of the way things piece together and a high standard of physical fitness. You also need friends. After all, someone has got to give you an alibi if the SCPD comes calling.
    Culinary
    Recommended Aspiration - No particular one
    Teen/Elder Job Titles - Dishwasher, Drive Through Clerk, Fast Food Shift Manager
    Adult Job Titles - Dishwasher, Drive Through Clerk, Fast Food Shift Manager, Host/Hostess, Waiter/Waitress, Prep Cook, Sous Chef, Executive Chef, Restauranteur, Celebrity Chef



    From being a lowly dishwasher to becoming the Simworld's answer to Delia Smith (Ed: The closest the UK has to Martha Stewart), Anthony Worral Thompson or Gordon *BLEEPING* Ramsay, this is the right career track to follow. From lowly beginnings in fast food to working in a proper restaurant, this career requires good cooking (Ed: No surprise there), an equally creative mind to make that meal taste unique to you and a logical mind to do everything in the right order so your perfect Shepherd's Pie tastes as good every time.

    In "TS:Unleashed", the top of this career track was that of a major confectioner and I had wanted to say "Mr. Simling makes exceedingly good cakes". Now I cannot, which is unfortunate.
    Law Enforcement
    Recommended Aspiration - No particular one
    Teen/Elder Job Titles - School Crossing Guard, Parking Lot Attendant, Security Guard
    Adult Job Titles - Security Guard, Cadet, Patrol Officer, Desk Sergeant, Vice Squad, Detective, Lieutenant, SWAT Team Leader, Police Chief, Captain Hero



    "To protect and serve" the citizens of SimCity is your ultimate goal. From being a school crossing guard to Captain Hero, your path is varied and challenging. You will serve time on the SimCity vice squad, run a SWAT Team and even be the Chief of Police. Quick thinking and wise decisions will make the difference between a meteoric rise through the ranks or "promotion for time served". After all, we hardly expect to find Captain Hero to be ready to collect his state pension.

    This career requires you to be very fit, possessing a logical mind and a dedication to clean the streets of its "hive of scum and villainy". Many friends are important in order to help you up the ladder. Perhaps they could even give you a lead about when Del Boy is getting his next consignment of dodgy Rolex watches or even better still, who the counterfeiter behind it is so your unit can intercept them red-handed or trace them back to their illegal factory.
    Medicine
    Recommended Aspiration - Knowledge
    Teen/Elder Job Titles - Nursing Home Attendant, Orderly, Emergency Medical Technician
    Adult Job Titles - Emergency Medical Technician, Paramedic, Nurse, Intern, Resident, General Practitioner, Specialist, Surgeon, Medical Researcher, Chief of Staff



    From being an attendant in a Nursing Home to being the Chief of Staff at SimCity General, you will spend time in almost all areas of the medical profession. You will serve as a paramedic and a nurse, do time as a doctor in both hospital and general practice, be the hand wielding the scalpel in the operating theatre to even conducting important medical research for the good of mankind.

    If you are an ardent follower of "ER" or "Casualty", this is the career track for you. You'll need a very logical mind and very high standards of cleanliness. A high complement of friends are important to either help pull a few strings to get you up the ladder or to be your own client base of regular patients.
    Military
    Recommended Aspiration - Family
    Teen/Elder Job Titles - Paintball Attendant, Recruit Training Corps, Recruit
    Adult Job Titles - Recruit, Elite Forces, Drill Instructor, Junior Officer, Counter Intelligence, Flight Officer, Senior Officer, Commander, Astronaut, General



    Serving your country in the Simerican Army is what this career track entails. From being an attendant at your local paintball club to becoming a General, you serve your country in many different ways. Training up the next generation of soldiers, serving in the elite forces, undergo flying training, serve in Army Intelligence (Ed: Contradiction in terms? OUCH. My nephew has just kicked me) to even being an astronaut in a mission to Mars, you get to see the world and beyond in the military.

    Don't expect much pay. In return, the military expects you to be at peak physical fitness, a high knowledge of the mechanics of warfare in how the different branches of the military can work together and a high charisma so your troops will follow your orders without question or the High Command will listen to your strategic proposals and ideas (Ed: Invade Wales!!)
    Politics
    Recommended Aspiration - Popularity
    Teen/Elder Job Titles - Door to Door Poller, Campaign Worker, Intern
    Adult Job Titles - Campaign Worker, Intern, Lobbyist, Campaign Manager, City Council Member, State Assemblyperson, Congressperson, Judge, Senator, Mayor



    From going door to door polling the occupants for their support to being elected as Mayor of SimCity, you see all the levels of the Simerican political world. You will work and manage someone else's political campaign, be an intern at City Hall, a lobbyist for a public interest group, represent your constituents on the City Council, State Assembly, Congress and Senate. You will even spend some time on the bench as a Judge. It is a long journey and you need to be well versed in the skills of politics and make a lot of friends and contacts on your way up. A charismatic personality is a "must have", plus a very logical mind to remember the law and bring in new ones. Also, some creativity is involved along the way. However, my cynical mind wonders if this in order to juggle expenses and hide campaign contributions.

    Q. How can you tell a politician isn't lying?
    A. His lips aren't moving.
    Science
    Recommended Aspiration - Knowledge
    Teen/Elder Job Titles - Lab Glass Scrubber, Test Subject, Lab Assistant
    Adult Job Titles - Test Subject, Lab Assistant, Field Researcher, Science Teacher, Project Leader, Inventor, Scholar, Top Secret Researcher, Theorist, Mad Scientist



    From the modest beginnings of washing test tubes in a lab to the ultimate level of being a mad scientist (Ed: Why not a sane scientist?), this career track delves into the depths of the way things work. You will be a lowly science teacher at Will Wright High School and an eminent scholar at SCU as you climb this career ladder.

    Personally, I would have liked to have seen a job title of Forensic Scientist (Ed: Too much CSI) included in here. After all, the Paranormal career that came with the "Living..." EP for TS1 did have a Police Psychic as a job title in its career track so why not?

    Anyway, this career track requires a very logical mind in order to understand the processes and links involved in making major discoveries, cooking in order to understand the ingredients involved in your experiments and creativity in order to see and do things in a way that hasn't been done before.
    Slacker
    Recommended Aspiration - Romantic
    Teen/Elder Job Titles - Golf Caddy, Gas Station Attendant, Convenience Store Clerk
    Adult Job Titles - Golf Caddy, Gas Station Attendant, Convenience Store Clerk, Record Store Clerk, Party DJ, Projectionist, Home Video Editor, Freelance Photographer, Freelance Web Designer, Professional Party Guest



    From being a golf caddy at the SimCity Country Club to being on the guest list at every "happening" in the city, there is no real structure to this career track. You are bouncing all over the place. However, it shows a lot of variety in the way things pan out. Making friends is very important here if you want to be invited to all of the best parties that are going on.

    Skills are not as important. Some knowledge of mechanics, some creativity and an above-average charismatic personality is all that is needed. What IS required above all are friends - 13 to be exact.

    I find it intriguing that the romance track is viewed as the most appropriate aspiration for this career. Do they expect all slackers just to sleep their way to the top? Mind you, it certainly beats bookwork.
    Alternative to the Carpool
    You don't have to go to work to make money. This time, having a high creativity pays off with using the easel or the computer. You can paint yourself a masterpiece or write yourself a best-selling novel.

    Even if your sim has maxed his creativity, the more he or she continues at it, the greater the reward. I am still waiting to sell a masterpiece for over ยง1,000 but I suppose it will come in time.

    It is hard work making a living as you are constantly trying to raise your skills and eke out a meagre existance. You may have to sell all of your paintings just in order to buy the essentials in order to live.

    Once you've reached the top of your skill level, you can be more selective on what paintings and portraits you keep or what you sell.

    On an aside, Leonardo Da Vinci painted several versions of "The Mona Lisa" and Eduard Munsch painted several versions of "The Scream" before they found versions that were recognised as priceless masterpieces.

    Personally, I enjoy these variants on the regular carpool. The ability to choose your own pictures for your sims to paint or tweak the existing snapshot in your favourite graphic-editing program is one I especially appreciate.

    My only criticism of this is that I would have preferred an artist to be able to paint landscape (Ed: horizontal) paintings as well as portrait pictures (Ed: vertical). An idea for some more tweaking perhaps, Maxis?

    It will take you many days to write a best-seller and I regret to inform you that your sims' best paintings and manuscripts are worth a lot more after they are dead. Pool ladder accident, anyone?
    Observations
    With aging and sim mortality, gone are the days of your sims reaching the top of two or more career tracks before you finally decide to stop playing them. Here are the days of your sims trying to delay Father Time and The Grim Reaper in order to give themselves time to get to the top.

    I would have liked to have seen some different careers or different job titles in the career tracks from what was with TS1, but that is my own preference. Indications from "University" indicate that there are going to be other careers although at this stage I am uncertain as to whether a University education is a pre-requisite or whether a degree helps springboard you into a higher position.

    Although the formula on the surface appears to be the same as "The Sims", on scratching deeper you will find that in the main "The Sims 2" career structure is enjoyable and more involving. I can only hope that it will get even better as the expansion packs start coming.
    To Be Continued
    In the next part of this review, we look at how "The Sims 2" enables your sims to aspire to greatness or become a total misfit.
    Written at 02:43 on Wednesday 29 September 2004 by Andy.

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