I’ve wanted to do a gaming post for a while and lately I’ve been really stuck into ‘The Sims’ franchise again. It was the first game I ever played as a kid, having ‘The Urbz: Sims in the City’ on game boy at the age of seven. I couldn’t pass any missions, or do anything for that matter, but I loved the fact I could create an alternate version of myself in a video game universe.
The year after that, I was given a copy of the ‘The Sims’ on console. I was seven at the time and probably a little too young, but I was perfectly happy trying to freeplay in story mode while the story mode characters got annoyed at my character and my character then had to face the consequences. My parents were kind enough to pass the tasks for me when I was asleep so I could move from house to house. This was kind of them, but in one of the houses where there was a kid, she starved to death and I had my first encounter with the grim reaper. I was absolutely terrified and I remember howling to my parents about how I wanted the ‘demon tv’ off. But as I bargained for life by playing the fiddle, I found the grim reaper slightly hilarious and sarcastic- if he had a personality it would be the meme invested personality I have today. I was bought the ‘Sims 2’ console game the next year, not having a computer. And the same applied, I could have spent hours in create a sim creating a pretty sim that wasn’t like me. I would imagine the storylines and possibilities in my head and get annoyed at the story mode gameplay when I couldn’t live my dreams for my sim.
This all changed in 2008, when I played ‘The Sims Life Stories’ in my auntie’s house. She was obsessed with the sims and had them all on the PC. She loaded up her saved game and I was so excited you could play as a newborn baby that it was like having a virtual barbie dollhouse. You could play with the mum, or the dad and live your life as all the roles that you always saw on TV and played with your toys when you were a kid. You could choose a career and work hard towards it, you could decorate your home and garden. This was an amazing introduction to the PC games.
Two years later, I had all the sims 2 expansion packs, the base game, all the stuff packs and I was long awaiting the arrival of the Sims 3. I had attempted (so many times) to unlock the game code to bring Bella Goth back, I had messed up everybody else’s lives to create a bit of animated drama. It was addictive. There’s something so comforting about playing with other people’s lives that you forget about your own.
With the more realistic features of the Sims 3, I created an alternate universe of Sims and using the sims 3 website, I managed to have a story series called PB&J about a girl called Piper. It was well received and I realised that my favourite video game could also be a new creative outlet for my stories. I had always written novels and short stories, but it was amazing to put locations down and faces to make it more realistic. I also loved reading other people’s. I loved using the Sims 3 as more of a story creator than a game. There were people all over the world doing the same. Creating a hyper reality fan base for their own sims. There’s a girl I know who I met through Sims from Sweden who is paralysed and creates sims that have the life she wishes to have. She has an instagram for these sims, she posts how a fifteen year old girl would in real life. It’s her perfect world and her sims are beautiful because she puts so much effort and time into them.
I loved that aspect about the game. When the Sims 4 came out, at first I was completely disappointed with the game. It wasn’t what I thought it would be- it took a massive step back. But with time, I grew to love it and it’s cartoon features and especially how easy custom content is to download. I started the legacy challenge and I have a family in game who I look after like they are my children, seriously, they are needy.
What helped, is watching the story based video game plays youtubers such as ‘Vixella’ posted. I can become absorbed in other people’s games too, forgetting the worries about real life.
Diversion is a powerful thing with video games, but more so when it’s so personal and an outlet to yourself. Finding one you love so much, is powerful.