With 85 million sold copies all over the world, The Sims is one of the most popular video games ever published. It should come as no surprise that Electronic Arts wants to push its prize franchise onto Nintendo’s Wii. Yet, they are not taking the beaten path this time around. The new game, called MySims, is a fresh take on the original concept. Yet according to Tim LeTourneau, MySims senior producer, the game is not really that much different. "If you look at them, they just do feel like Sims. In the beginning we and other players were not very sure if MySims does the same to a Sims fan as the regular game did. But we're convinced. They look cute and they’re fun to play with", he told us during a recent press conference in The Netherlands. Well, maybe if you are stoned or drunk they do… Sober, they look more like the crossbred offspring of Dragon Ball Z and Lego characters. But we won’t hold that against him.
Upon starting the game you are asked to create your Sim (creatively named ‘YourSim’). Customizing the way that you are represented in the game world is easy enough as you just have to click the body part that you would like to change and then simply scroll through a seemingly endless list of body part options. There are so many different editable elements for your ‘YourSim’ that it really can take hours to create your ideal Sim. Of course, the PC game is even more expanded, but creating a character in MySims has been kept relatively easy so that people without any Simming experience can play it too. People that lack patience can simply push a button to randomly generate a Sim so that they can get into the game right away.
During the tour through the completely new world of MySims, a few things are remarkably different. The whole world is practically built out of blocks that you can use and manipulate yourself. Even though this means that the complete village you live in is built out of squares and rectangles, it is actually a very easy and playful way to build your house. You can collect coins with which you can decorate furniture, walls and floors or other objects. These decorations vary from a fruit and vegetable theme to an action figure or bacon theme. Plenty to choose from!
With the possibility of creating your own objects in-game by using these blocks, you can develop your own unique couch, bed or television. But that's not all. On top of that, you get to visit the other villagers and they can ask you to create an object for them with specific requirements. Tim showed us an example of a villager that was asking for a television with an action figure decoration. Once he had finished the object he placed it in the house and received new coins and decorations as a reward. By doing these assignments, you will unlock new kinds of blocks, so that when you advance in-game, you will be able to create more complex objects.
Out with the love
Perhaps MySims’ biggest difference to the basic concept is the absence of any sort of relationships. Characters no longer fall in love or have any other friends to keep in contact with. Thus, your Sims are very lonely creatures. The only reason for them to interact with with other villagers is to get assignments. Another remarkable difference is that your Sims do not have needs anymore but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It gives you a lot of extra time to explore the town now that you are no longer stuck on your own lot.
You don’t even need money which begs the question "What am I doing this for?". Without relationships, needs and money, there is hardly anything left to pay attention to. For many players I think that this will be a real disappointment. There is no challenge in the game if you are used to the PC or console version of the Sims.