The Sims franchise is the closest we’ve ever reached in building, shaping, and playing as a character who lives similarly conventional lives as we do. It’s for those who wish to deviate from the gore-fest of today’s FPS shooters or unrealistic sports games, and who want to live a life outside of their own, and Sims does this well; with your own home to build and furnish, to everyday jobs which pay for them. But Sims can’t emulate real life perfectly, and it has some funny ways of reminding us that it is, indeed just a game:
1. Finding a Job.
So you’ve finally completed the hours spent toiling over your Sim’s face and wardrobe, and you’ve chosen their first home. They appear at the door and walk in to inspect their new rooms, you can practically smell the fresh wallpaper from your screen, and you can’t wait to start a new life for your precious collection of living pixels. But, as is always the case, your first home doesn’t provide you with the appliances or furniture that suits your (or indeed your Sim’s) preferences, and so you hastily head on over to the Ikea of the Sims universe – Build & Buy. You see the rickety Chillgood Fridge sitting in the corner of your quaint kitchenette before spying on the more luxurious Icebox Drawer available with its respectable red finish. You then see the less respectable pricing of such a glorious refrigerator, and in a defeated huff, you exit Build & Buy, and to your suddenly dull abode.
You could use the Motherlode…
Just an easy 50,000 to start you off…
…NO! You didn’t spend ten minutes adjusting the nose bridge or mouth corners of your Sim just for them to enter a world of surrender and dishonesty. They have dreams, aspirations! If you don’t want food that ‘Tastes like fridge’, you must be willing to earn it. And so, just like any person in the real world does, your Sim reaches for the newspaper mailed outside, and is met with a plethora of excellent career prospects which, coincidentally, are suited specifically for them. They then close the newspaper, and through the power of new-age printed media, they have successfully won over their employer and persuaded them that they are the Sim for the job. Congrats, you now work for City Hall and you didn’t even leave the house. If only it was that simple in real life.
2. Getting Changed
Day one of work was a long one. You allowed yourself to do Business as Usual in the morning to get used to your new place, but then after emptying your bladder and eating during lunch, you decided that it would be best for your Sim if they worked hard for the rest of the day; a promotion is already on mind. But all of this work really left its mark, and their Fun bar quickly depleted, and with only an hour left, there wasn’t much point in chatting to any co-workers. So you stuck it out with selfish regard for the well being of your Sim until finally the hour strikes, they received their payment for the day, and made way back home.
You wait patiently at the house for the arrival of the yellow taxi (which by the way doesn’t cost a penny), and when it finally arrives, you see your poor Sim, with their demeaning career outfit adorned for all to see, and you can’t help but feel for them – after all, you did just force them to work rigorously for most of their day. The door opens itself before them as they stride in with trembling legs and a ruined set of Moodlets. Now is the time to redeem yourself, to ensure your computed companion enjoys what is left of their sullied day.
And what better way to begin this than by ridding them of the very garments that they were forced to wear during it all, and replace them with something kinder and infinitely more liberating? You drag the shiny green cursor from heaven towards them and click; they’re so blissfully unaware. The ‘change outfit’ option appears before you, with a selection of clothes for any and all occasions following, but only one is suitable right now – the clothes so beautifully banal that you could wear them Everyday.
Your choice is made, and before you know it, your Sim disappears into blurred vortex that seems to have consumed them whole. But just as it came, the vortex vanishes, leaving in its wake a freshly clothed Sim with brilliantly baggy shorts and a cheesy t-shirt with a giant skull and cross bones in the middle. You cringe every time you see that shirt, yet it symbolises a freedom greater than you could ever imagine for your Sim, and they would have it no other way.
Often, we create more than one Sim for our household. It keeps the game fresh for longer as you are forced to pay constant attention to each of them; essentially creating twice, three, or even four times as much work for yourself. And although this can get difficult at times, your family of Sims are the ones obeying all the orders and doing all the living. Despite this though, you can’t constantly maintain every Sim’s Needs Bars…
…And so, on the odd occasion that one of them slips under your radar (which hardly ever happens because you care dearly for them), it can result in unpleasant situations like the awkward encounter of two Sims in the bathroom whilst one of them is…relieving themselves.
In any real situation, an event like this would be a surprise party for the eyes, with bare delicates being hurriedly hidden from sight during an uncomfortable exchange of eye contact; and once all the swears and sorry’s are out, you are both left feeling mentally violated. However, Sims are blessed with a bodily function that avoids this situation entirely, and also allows them to maintain their PG 13 nature…
For as soon as they shed their clothing to enter the shower or empty their bladder, their lower body is engulfed in a shroud of distorting pixelated blocks that keeps any private areas from seeing the light of day. Sims can copulate several times a day if they so desire, but to the players, their genitals are practically non-existent.