05 September 2004
Materialism in The Sims
One thing that has been kind of ironic about The Sims is that a lot of people play it for a while, like 4 to 6 hours, and they walk away thinking it's very materialistic. But the ones that have played it for 20 hours realise that it's the opposite. If you buy stuff in The Sims - every object has some sort of traits - it can go bad, or break, or need maintenance, need to be watered. If you sit there and build a big mansion that's all full of stuff, without cheating, you realise that all these objects end up sucking up all your time, when all these objects had been promising to save you time. So they are kind of time-bombs in a literal sense. And it's actually kind of a parody of consumerism, in which at some point your stuff takes over your life. But because it's fairly subtle, and you have to play the game for that long - half the players don't even see it's a parody. They think, "oh, it's so consumerist."
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I was playing City of Heroin last night with my Supergroup buds when Radioactiva was telling us her/his (female toon, I think a dude behind it... maybe) Sim was going into labour. I have to say I was impressed at someone playing two games at once.
I thought about it, neither COH or the Sims are massively attentive games. Your typical 1st person shooter is, but most MOGs run on a turn mechanism and so you can make witty quips while dispatching villains, or watch your Sims have a family while you are saving the world yet again. Running these games on a "slower clock speed" makes them more social, or multitaskable. An interesting game design mechanic, the speed of play versus the sociability.
Posted by: dan at 28 Sep 2004 13:26:48