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Game Over Online ~ The Sims

GameOver Game Reviews - The Sims (c) Maxis, Reviewed by - Wolf

Game & Publisher The Sims (c) Maxis
System Requirements Pentium 166, 32MB Ram, 300MB HDD
Overall Rating 88%
Date Published Monday, February 14th, 2000 at 12:53 AM

Divider Left By: Wolf Divider Right

Its been quite a while since Maxis' previous SIM release, SimCity 3000. Sim fans have been awaiting the release of The Sims for quite a while now. The innovative concept of simulating the lives of people is a risky genre, without many games to look back on and learn from, but Maxis gave The Sims its best shot.

The graphics in The Sims are nothing special, as you can see from the screenshots, which is fine because Sim games are not noted for their advanced graphic engines. The main focus of the engine here is to easily be able to display a large number of animations used by the characters in the game for different actions, animations such as sitting down at a table, eating, cooking, preparing food, and so on. Despite what you may think, The Sims does not use motion-capture methods for these animations. Apparently this was tried but rejected because doing it on their own made it look smoother. Also it is possible to make your own animations for the character for your own objects that you can create, if you download the appropriate tools.

Like all Sim games, The Sims is a management game of sorts, though the twist here is that you are managing a person, several roommates, or a nice big family, whichever you want. Upon starting the game, you can create your own characters with points distributed to a few attributes such as neatness, playfulness, outgoing and some others. Then you choose your character model, name and you're off. There aren't an awful lot of attributes to choose from, but it still gives your character a sense of personality. You can then choose to buy a template house or a plot of land to create your own. Creating your own house is extremely simple, and thus doesn't have all that much room for innovation, which is a pity. You simple plonk your walls about the place and then stick a few doors/windows about before starting to furnish it. The amount of things with which you can stuff your house with has had a lot more work done on it, with a large amount of varying items available for purchase. Though many of the items are simply improved versions of cheaper ones. All items also have a nice description with them, and what it offers to your Sim. For example, a stereo has a FunFactor of 4, Room of 3, and +Group Activity. You take care of your Sim by carefully monitoring his 8 bar graphs, which display different emotions like Hygiene, Social, Room (Room is how much he likes the room he's in), etc. The objective is basically to get all these bars up as high as possible and keep them there, this means juggling your time to allow your Sim to have some fun playing basketball or pool and still have some time for social activities, eating dinner, taking a bath, going to the bathroom, do some studying, going to sleep, and so on. You can choose one out of 10 career paths, starting from lowest and then getting promoted to something really good at the end. Promotions are gained by going to work happy (keep bar graphs up), filling the required statistics for your Sim (creativity, logic, etc. which you can study and learn) and a certain amount of friends.

That's the game then. Sounds really quite nice on the surface, which it is, but there are a few problems that crop up during play. First, it's the fact that playing as a bachelor is extremely irritating in regards to juggling time. Its extremely difficult at first to keep up your social life along with other activities (since eating dinner takes about 1 1/2 hours), the only way to survive is to exploit perhaps an oversight by the developers where if you skip every second day of work you don't get fired. Proposing to somebody can also earn you the message "I can't think on an empty stomach" or "I haven't sat down enough", which is just a bit of a jolt from the realism of life. The game still has some problems with realistic social interactions, you can hoard up all the women in the game in your own home, and your wife won't really care. Also your wife can take in some guys and your character won't care either. It's just not very polished off. Socializing is also rather a boring activity, which mainly involves "talking" until you reach the 50-100 friendship level, and then doing some of the advanced things like tickle, back rub, kiss, joke, entertain, none of which are really any different, all just put up your friendship rating a bit quicker than talking. The fact you need a certain amount of friends to get promotions is also just really frustrating, trying to hoard people all to your home, while a phone call takes about 30 minutes each, and then trying to talk to most of them, usually for a few seconds till they run off to the toilet or something.

The Sims also supposedly features a teaching routine where you can tell your Sim to "go to the bathroom, flush, wash hands" and he'll remember it and do it in that order. Now if I hadn't specifically been told this I never would have guessed it really. I never told him to do it in that order, but he does it anyway, so I don't quite see this teaching routine in it.

As a conclusion, I must warn any action gamers that victory does not come too quickly, you must spend some time on the game to learn how to balance your Sims' needs and not get depressed all the time. The game is quite fun to play for hours on end, though frustrating in the beginning, and is rewarding when you do well (though it can quickly go all crap again). An original concept that's been pretty well carried out, with no real game-breaking flaws, just some irritating features that could have been worked on some more. There are a lot of game tools available for this on the web at The Sims Official Website which will keep most people happy for a while creating new objects, faces, skins, animations and houses. A good buy then, for hours of simulated life fun.


  • Original concept worked out pretty well
  • Rewarding when you do well
  • Hours of Fun (usually)


  • Social interaction is annoying
  • As a single bachelor it's really hard
  • House building very simplistic, no room for innovation
  • Can be hard to learn to play properly

    Graphics [12/20]
    Sound [12/15]
    Gameplay [28/30]
    Funfactor [18/20]
    Innovate [5/5]
    Overall Impression [9/10


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