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i think i should 'fess up and point out that before playing the recent 360 release of The Sims 3 i was of the opinion that endlessly fiddling with the most tedious of aspects of the lives of some stupid little computer modelled people represented absolutely the most pointless thing a person can do with their time.
that having been said, i must also and reluctantly admit that by the end of a lengthy spell with it i had completely changed my mind.
whilst playing, my thoughts wandered and i remembered Championship Manager.
so there we are, playing The Sims is the second most pointless thing a person can do with their time. it's basically like a hugely over-engineered tamagotchi which goes about its business as if unaware that a tamagotchi is itself an over engineered imaginary friend for people who are such massive losers that they don't even have imaginations.
it's like EastEnders would be if the gawping cockneys stopped shouting at each other every ten seconds and asked you, down the camera, what you'd like them to 'do' next.
however, if you like The Sims -- but inexplicably didn't already buy it on PC/Mac two years ago, and instead waited for an awkward console port -- then you'll probably be quite pleased about the improvements offered by this third full instalment in the (literally) unbelievably popular franchise.
to my mind, by contrast, they simply represent the establishment of what The Sims should clearly always have been like.
the town in The Sims 3 functions (a tiny bit) like a real place. no longer, as was previously the case, do you have to endure hundreds of loading screens every time your sim wants to go anywhere that isn't 'next door' or 'work'.
Cornelius worked hard and got a good job (in insurance) and then bought a nice apartment.
now, as i'm sure the developers are very proud to have enabled me to explain, your sim can just walk around anywhere, visit people and places and interact with other sims totally freely. there are also some other, new things to pretend to do.
big and indeed whoop. the fact that (almost ridiculously) you've not been able to do this before doesn't function as a proper endorsement for this game, only a illustration of how long it's taken EA to achieve what they've clearly been intending to do all along, and how ridiculous it is to think about how many copies of the previous two games have sold.
i called my first sim Žižek and tried to get him to become some kind of professional athlete -- a wrestler was what i was aiming for. unfortunately, after a couple of hours of pointlessly changing things, i remembered that i didn't have to be doing that. and went and did something else with my life.
when i came back -- feeling guilty about not having tried hard enough on your behalf -- I called my new sim Cornelius. Cornelius worked hard and got a good job (in insurance) and then bought a nice apartment. Cornelius liked earning lots of money so that he could furnish his apartment with nice things from the on-screen catalogue.
His tiny, flat, lifeless, über-American face seemed to light up.
i got him a yin-yang coffee table, Erika Peccary dust ruffles and a Hovetrekke Home Exer-bike. these things pleased him -- his tiny, flat, lifeless, über-American face seemed to light up.
then, one day when he was on his way home from a work trip, he noticed that his apartment had been blown-up. that was the same day he met Tyler.
Tyler was a cool sim, the kind Cornelius would like to be like. Tyler said that insurance was stupid, and furniture was stupid, and that that wasn't how 'real men' looked -- even though it was exactly how he looked -- and that engine oil is a good lawn fertilizer. except he said all of that in simlish, to make it sound cute.
anyway, after a while, Cornelius shot himself in the face and then blew up the whole town with masses of plastic explosives. at that point it was game over. i didn't really mind though. i couldn't blame Cornelius, i'd probably have done the same thing myself.
except he said all of that in simlish, to make it sound cute.
when, later that day, i had an imaginary chance to interview the lead developer on The Sims 3, i asked him "so why did you even release Xbox and PS3 versions given that the interface really only works on a PC or Mac with a mouse?"
"for all the money" he didn't really answer. i liked him. he had a nice tie. expensive looking.
[if you'd like to see more of the weird and wonderful world of reallyquitetired then the door is always open at his semi-detached house/blog]
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: