Sim vs. Sim

The girls and I have fallen into the Sim trap.  I’ve  been there before (way back in the early 90’s) but this is their first real foray into the mind numbing riptide of Simmese.  That said this has prompted much discussion about the Sims and what the makers could have done better.

The Sims 3 Screenshot

In the past we have loved several Sim-like games including all of the Animal Crossings, all of the My Sims games, and several Harvest Moons  and while we are enjoying The Sims 3 it is missing something that those games have.  In fact recently I was playing Walk It Out and realized what it was that was missing.


The Sims is lovely in the same way school pictures are lovely.  It is missing  panache, character, that extra something.  Sure the Simmese language and their little mannerisms are cute but artistically speaking the game is boring.  The characters could easily fit in the stands of one of EA’s sports games without a hitch (how dull is that, really?)

The Sims 3 Screenshot
Or this:
MySims Screenshot

While I enjoy playing The Sims I LOVED playing My Sims.  The adorableness of the characters drew me in (plus building things was fun.)  If they made The Sims using the My Sims characeters I would spend most of my free time playing.  Maybe that would be a bad thing.  No, EA definitely shouldn’t do that.

Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility Screenshot
The same is true of  Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon.   I have never deliberately deleted a character in any of those games and I have already deleted several Sims because they were getting on my nerves.  (I have however deleted several by mistake due to Harvest Moon’s sometimes stupid saving interface.  In fact I mistakenly saved over my 50 note, pregnant character with my daughter’s 15 music note character in Magical melody. ARRGGGHHH )  Both of those series have gotten tons of play by all of us and are ones we go back to again and again.  We go back because they are fun to play and interesting with tons of variety in game play,  and are fun to look at.  The Sims brings us back because we are obsessing, not because it is necessarily “fun” and definitely not because of the style.
Walk it Out Screenshot
If you remember, back at the beginning, I mentioned that Walk It Out was what drove the point home for me.  I realized while walking my 3rd mile (because there was this one section that I HAD. TO. FILL. IN. that I would LOVE to play a Sims like game using the Walk It Out world and characters.  I adore the blue haired chick that does my walking for me.  The island itself is cute and interesting even though the styling is much more realistic than the characters.  There is plenty of variety to keep me coming back.  If The Sims were more like that, more adorable and more stylized I would certainly enjoy it more.  Frankly, even if they just made the same basic game but using the My Sims world I would lose a lot more of my day to the game (and the kids would get a lot less turns– go play outside, it’s Mom’s turn at the computer).