Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Top 5 'The Sims' Games

So it is all over the internet, The Sims 4 is out early next year. So with all of this excitement I wanted to look into some of the better games in the series so far. This page will include the top 5 'The Sims' games according to me.

Let's begin

The Sims 3: Seasons
The Sims 3 Seasons is the eighth expansion of the series. Jumping from big mega stardom Katy Perry lifestyle (Showtime) and ghosts, werewolves and magic (Supernatural), back to the simple life of a Sim. Seasons adds a huge element to the base game, weather. Okay, so everyone has said that the base games should include weather (And The Sims 2 base game originally did have weather). But someone up top has obviously made an important choice, (probably to do with more money) about giving weather its own expansion.
So The Sims 3 Base Game is constantly set in summertime. So when Seasons comes along with it's rain, thunder, snow and sunshine, it is a completely different experience. The game now, does not feel complete until you have brought along these atmospheric feelings. Never before has a player been able to dive into The Sims as well as this.
One of the games great features is temperature. With a temperature dial a player can relate more to how their Sims' are feeling when they step outside. Is this a day for warm clothes or a day to sun bathe? And because of this the summer that we have grown tired of suddenly becomes a bit of a gift in the mix of rain and snow. Summer becomes a special time of festivals, swimming and ice-cream!
Our Sims have to withstand the cold and iciness, before the christmassy joy of winter comes for snowmen and igloos time. Just the weather itself adds a great realism to a Sim's story.
Previous Sims 3 expansions have not really focused on family fun (apart from perhaps, Generations), they've all really divided ages. Not this one. As you can see from the screenshot above, every season has something nice for every age to do.
The game also has pie eating death traps and aliens if the rest don't tickle your fancy.

I want to say a thank you to The Sims 2: Seasons for coming first

The Sims: Hot Date

It is the game that would soon inspire many different aspects of future expansion packs. This was the first game your Sim, could go to the shops, or even leave their house.
They'd been having parties every day with their neighborhood crew, like the Goths and Newbies, and then suddenly a taxi service enters town.
This be the day your Sim can meet the townies, a bunch of random NPC Sims, Downtown. (And Mrs. Crumplebottom)
Unfortunately a lot of what made this expansion great has been lost in The Sims 3. The atmospheric restaurants and romantic interactions. The whole art style of Downtown was brilliant and the stores were exciting, ice-cream man, flower shop and so many more. There were even parks you could have picnics. It was a huge jump from just staying in our houses all day.
Luckily for us The Sims 2 brought us Nightlife. Although it concentrated more on nightclubs it did bring back restaurants and ordering food, although losing a bit of the Hot Date atmosphere. Then in Open for Business you could actually run your own restaurants!
The reason this game may not be higher on the list is because it is The Sims 1, and although that still means it is brilliant, some of the Sim gameplay is not as fine tuned as later games.
Hot Date IS on this list however because, without it, we would not have various Sims 2 and 3 expansions and more importantly, we would not have The Sims 3, open world.
This game just looks great

The Sims Online

Why did this game fail? Was it not because it was terrible? No one wanted to play with real people, that is stupid. Actually people did, and it was really fun.
I'm not sure what exactly brought the fall of the game but I can only assume it was that no one wanted to pay the crazy fees attached. There was a large amount of money a month expected to play this game online, like things like World of Warcraft.

Here is a possible reason from Sims Forum member, 'Litabelaqua' "It was bound to fail and did so when the modders found ways to gold farm the game, and EA didnt stop them. The virtual world economy collapsed and players no longer wanted to pay $10 a month for a game that modders were ripping off. Whatever else is said about TSO and however much EA want to cover up their embarrasment for the failure of it, it was this simple reason that caused the collapse. "

I played this game for two months. The first month was when I was bought the store copy of The Sims Online. The store copy gave me a free month trial play. So I got to play for a month. Then I returned (I don't know) how long after and downloaded it again when it was slowly turning into EA World (Some sort of failed update). That is when it perished.
Let me get back to why this is on the list. I had a heck of fun playing it both times. In a month I was able to find a friendly roommate, earn some money with friends and build myself a 'detective' office. Then I would go around attempting to solve crimes or... whatever. Anyway.
In another case I built my own house called 'Blur's Country House' where I had a huge band stand with  guitar, drums, piano... (I can't remember exactly).
People built their homes into jails, court rooms, hotels, party houses, hospitals, I don't know what else. You could go to skilling lots, where you... read, and gain skills (Okay, that bit was kind of boring but calming at least) and you could work together to make pizza, or code or in your band. These were where the big bucks were. Then there was earning individually where you'd make gnomes or my personal favorite, make jam.
Later on in The Sims Online's life they added masses of new objects and clothes and pets and robots. It was The Sims but with a super amount of content and it is a shame that all of that is gone, and not all of it was in The Sims expansion packs. You could even get a proper job and go to that job, work for a bit of cash, work with others and then head back to that party you left. Always making new friends.

Since then, The Sims Franchise avoided anything online until they made various terrible Facebook games where players could not even meet each other. Then they tried to add an online element to The Sims 3: Showtime which failed miserably.
The Sims 4 was apparently originally going to be a full online experience, but due to the train wreck SimCity 2013 release and screams of the murdered souls they decided to make it offline. They even used it as a selling point. They did say there would be an online element and I am hoping this is something I can enjoy.
I still agree The Sims should be offline though, due to train journeys and personal story telling.

The Sims 2: Open For Business

I feel bad for not adding more The Sims 2 onto this list but truth is, it crashed so much and had so many slow loading screens it was a nightmare. I also found The Sims 2 Sims harder to take care of than even The Sims 1.
I was extremely hyped about Sims 2 and really enjoyed it on it's release though, there is no doubt about that. Let us move on to why we are all here! Business!
This game is very close to being number 1, if it just had open worlds and the Sims were easier to look after, guh!
The Sims 2 Business was fantastic. Give your Sims, a shop. It is that simple. You can even make your house a shop. You can sell anything you wanted, you could even make a toilet shop. Sims need toilets you know! Seriously.
I made bookshops, bakeries, (restaurants, clothes shops (with Nightlife)) and of course the very popular, toy shops. You could price various objects from low to medium price and then watch+ as the unknowing public came in and browsed.
The browsing part was always very exciting, "Ooo! They are interested in my products! Will they buy or wont they? Should I bug them about how great the product is or just leave them?"
I had a bookshop but randomly put an old sofa out the front to see who would be the first to buy it. You could also hire employees to work for you based on their own building and selling skills. It could be a bit difficult but still a great game.
Sims 3 + this game would have been wonderful. But alas it is not to be. Ambitions was not OFB, there was no 'browsing bar' and you could NOT MAKE SHOPS. I rest my case. Ambitions was good though, don't get me wrong.
Island Paradise, the second-last expansion of The Sims 3 series introduced the owning of hotels. While a great add on it lacked the intricate details that Business included.

The Sims 3 Base Game

Lets get the bad things out of the way first. No one will ever own a property properly in the Sims 3. I was weirded out when I first got the game about the Gym and Libraries just being open without employees working in them, the Sims 2 base game had employees. This was weird. Then the rest of the buildings were rabbit holes. I know in later games, (World Adventures, Late Night, Seasons, Island Paradise) that they brought in these Merchants, Bouncers and Mixologists, but they have never felt like they've ever really worked there.
The Sims do look a bit clay faced as the fan community have said a lot but I'm going to tell you why I don't mind that, and why I don't mind a lot of the hate. Because for some reason, this game is at my number 1.
When the first The Sims 3 screenshot came out I was like 'Nope, the graphics look the same, maybe with better lighting, I won't be getting this game.' This was it below.
Yeah it looks pretty dull, as well as some of the other screenshots that came out. The excitement of The Sims 2 release was over and this was all there was.
I don't know how many months passed and suddenly the game was coming out, very soon. I was still not interested. The trailers were pretty bad as well! Nothing was pulling me in.
Then I watched a game-play video. The day that would change my Sims playing future forever.  The game-play video showed this very nice looking game, nice lighting and atmosphere, but that was not it. The player made his Sim leave his house, walk along the street, knock on a neighbors door and go inside their house.
Never before seen in the Sims world. No it was not a huge technological jump in looks like Sims 1 to 2 but this new gameplay was fantastic.
I started to look more into the game and discovered that you could walk around the whole neighborhood and everyone in the town grew older at the same pace as you.

In the Sims 2 we'd have relationships with Sims that lived in the Neighborhood or Downtown but they'd never age (Unless we played as their house) so Sims could not grow old together. You'd have a teen boyfriend turn into an adult in front of their teen girlfriend and she'd scream and be like WHAT YU DOIN TO ME? THIS SUM KINDA JOKE? and then your Sim would have to go on a search for an adult one.

Sims 3 fixed this.
The open world and open aging is not the only reason I like this game. The stuck camera angle and the weird dull look of the sims takes me back to the sims 1. The Sims 1 was wacky yes, but at its core it was trying to mimic real life. The Sims 3 does that really well and because of the camera angle and simplicity going on it feels more like a dolls house than The Sims 2.
In the Sims 2 there are big bold plasticy bodies and basic textured objects flying around with your crazy camera which was PERFECT for movie making. The Sims 3 is terrible for movie making. But the gameplay itself, it works better than 2. I said it.
The Sims are easier to look after, they mostly do everything themselves. They got rid of two needs. They got rid of Sims going nuts all of the time.

The Sims 3 is not perfect, but as a full game I think it is closer to my hopes for Sims 4 than any other for the reasons mentioned above.

The only problem with the open world in Sims 3 is that our family Sims cannot visit or move to expansion towns, this was a step backwards from Sims 2. Also story progression needs more babies.

Enjoy Island Paradise and Timmy's Travel to the Future Expansion.
Oh and of course, The Sims 4 out in 2014

Thank you for reading my Fandom Blog Entry about The Sims. These are the games I think worked really well and changed the series for the better.
Maybe someone should get back to work huh?

- The Daily Crumb