The lights are on
All today, we’ve been exploring games that make us feel free. When this idea was presented to me, The Sims instantly came to my mind for the creative freedom it offers. Whether I’m building a new house or making my sim’s life decisions, I just let my imagination run wild.
I like building lives and creating stories out of them. Unlike real life, I can pull all the puppet strings and change the course of events. I can set any sim on a particular career path, choose when they start a family, and I can add drama by creating love triangles. I feel completely free to weave a narrative and the opportunities for how my sims lives played out seem endless. All I need to do is make sure they are set financially and I don’t let them die in a kitchen fire. But even if I wanted a catastrophe to happen like the aforementioned kitchen death, I could, and it wouldn’t be “game over.” I’d just have a new shot at creating again, telling a new story. And as for the financial issues, the game makes it really easy to cheat. Don’t want to be strapped to financial limitations? Maxis always adds an easy way to make yourself rich, allowing you to decide the level of challenge you want.
Most games force you on a path with a set of rules, but The Sims doesn’t have any right or wrong way to play it. Before you is a virtual world and you can lend your touch every which way. Through my years of playing The Sims, I’ve created numerous tales. Usually, I’ll act out a version of my own life and watch myself climb up the career ladder and start a family. Sometimes I go off script and I’ll create sims that are entirely different from me, like the town mooch, the party animal, or the starving artist. The list of growing expansions also always adds a new dynamic to my tales. For instance, one of my sims is a witch and all her children are werewolves. You can keep things as straight to real life as you want, or completely go off the rails, which is what I enjoy the most.
That’s not even talking about the building aspects. One of my favorite things to do is build my dream house, complete with an arcade room, of course. I can select everything from the wallpaper to how many windows are in a room. I like the feeling like if I see it in my imagination, I can create it.
In life, we have boundaries. When I play The Sims I don’t feel like I have many, right down to choosing when I control my sims. I can just let them run wild with free will, or I can take control and make them play the roles I want them to. It’s liberating to be able to step in before they woo the wrong person, start a fight, or forget to go to the bathroom. Just the same, it’s fun to create characters and set them free and watch what they do. I just like having the freedom and power to always step in when I don’t like the way things are going – turning my sims’ stories in new directions or changing the scenery with some of my creations.
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.