The Sims 4, developed by Maxis and published by EA, and every other Sims title for that matter, is a franchise I always tell myself I’d enjoy about as much as a napalm enema. A game about having a life or four doesn’t really strike me as enjoyable considering that it’s sacrificing exactly that only to digitally emulate it… that’s what I always tell myself. Just in case you don’t know, The Sims is a life simulator wherein you assume the role of a person, or group of people, and either pursue the many aspects of life, such as career, love life, friendship and lifelong goals, or engage in them with a predesigned family. Originally intended to be little more than a home designing tool, the life part ultimately worked out being just fun enough to make a game out of, and here at the fourth instalment little has changed, but it’s just as curiously entertaining as it’s always been, if not a little more streamlined.
That’s it. Make a house, make a character or characters. Get a job. Make them make weird noises at each other until they’re feeling mutually amorous enough to have sweaty, sleep-deprived pixilated “woohoo” in the broken shower cubicle of a urine soaked bathroom… while the kitchen burns down and the grim reaper comes calling for nan. It’s honestly come to point where I don’t even class The Sims as a guilty pleasure any more. I actually find it funny to impart personalities and motivations on these people and watch their stories unfold. Given that I have a word count to meet, here’s Cevyn Scott’s story:
Warning: I don’t think I’m this much of a nihilist in reality… but then I would say that.
My character, who shares my name because always online always makes me think naming game characters after those from any projects I’m working on will result in some legal battle in whatever glorious future as a fiction writer I convince myself is inevitable, is a bit of an a-hole in all fairness. Well, he has his moments.
After moving into Nookstone, a little one bed, one bath starter home in Oasis Springs, Cev, with his priorities clearly in the right place, hit the sidewalk to find some strange. The long and arduous quest for love that spans the better years of our lives had begun; the seemingly unending series of lonely nights and soul rending days… ah, who am I kidding, he accepted the first thing that vaguely resembled a woman. The lucky little cherry blossom was one Alisha Hatch, an oriental BBW employed by the postal service. She wore a flowery blue summer dress and her long dark hair cascaded down from underneath her… orange bicycle helmet.
Being an equal opportunities pervert, I’ll be damned if she wasn’t in with a shot as she alternated between rebuffing his almost immediate (accounting for the time it took to approach her) advances, and chuckling sheepishly at his attempts to win her over with thinly veiled, passive aggression. There must be some really knowledgeable pick-up artists in SimNation as the encounter appeared to be mostly in Cev’s favour. So, after a few moments of waxing offensive I discovered that Cev was more interested in his desire to take a wicked leak, and bidding Alisha a “slap-you-silly” adieu, skittered home for a pee. He may have nodded at some guy along the way. Gotta keep them friend numbers up, it could be a requisite for a challenge later on after all.
A few days later, Cev had finished acclimating himself to the new digs, designated some space for a computer to begin the exciting journey toward his life long goal of becoming a best selling author (shocking, I know), and had even landed himself a job in journalism (uncanny). Well slept, nice and settled with a comfortably empty bladder, Cev thought it was high time to see if Alisha was interested in popping over and watching him eat his dinner. He pulled out his mobile (I believe this is a new addition for Sims 4, could be wrong, but it’s been a long time since I played 3 and I don’t remember my Gamersgate – simple coincidence – password), and surprisingly she was indeed interested in forgoing her own evening meal to sit and watch somebody else selfishly stuff their face with nary a thought to her own appetite. After dinner, the excessive advances continue and headway was made before Cev decided it was time for bed. Not because he was physically tired but largely because he was hoping she would follow him. She did not. She did, however – on the first time in the home of a “friend” who she’s known for all of three days – sit at his computer playing games until 3am before slamming the door on her way out. To think, he almost felt something akin to guilt for not at least offering to let her lick his used plate.
Working on a shift that allowed him three days off (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday), and Cev spent as much time as he could penning his first book, a series of shorts stories titled The Collective Events Of The Residents Of Atro City. The book was quickly self published and as soon as those meager royalty checks came rolling in, Cev assured himself that commitment to self employment render an actual career unnecessary. No truer discovery has been made since. Cev was in a bind. You see, he was beginning to wonder what else was out there. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and Cev had yet to meet a single female who wasn’t Alisha. By this time she was visiting daily, twice daily on occasion, and he was under the impression that being single was a standard in Oasis Springs. He decided to continue penning his second opus, a screenplay called Twilight Boulevard while ignoring the somewhat worrying frequency of visits from Miss Hatch. When Twilight Boulevard went into publication – because screenplays normally get published – Cev decided to spread his wings and go out to find someone thinner. Luck would have it that it seems to always be summer in SimNation, so Cev hit Desert Bloom – not to be mistaken for Desert Storm – park, and it was on this fateful day that he would meet, and begin the hopelessly idiotic courtship of, Bella Goth.
That’s right, folks. Bella Goth, a character who everybody knows is married to Mortimer Goth, I mean, GOD! That’s just common sense at this point, right? Well, apparently not to Cev who opted to break the mould and attempt to be nice to this one. Lay some groundwork, tell a few jokes, engage in mutual interests such as literature, the cullinary arts, Iambic Pentameters and whathaveyou; working up a rapport before finally taking the plunge and enquiring about her marital status, which was obviously spoken for. Yep, married to Mortimer Goth and living in that lovely home over in Willow Creek that is blacker than a Dimmu Borgir album. Without delay, Cev took a moment to yell at her (about what, I have no idea, I plan to finish Italian before I start learning meaningless gibberish), and then rushed home to hide from the world. Curses to Mortimer Goth for snagging the only female metalhead IN THE WORLD before Cev got a fair shot.
Licking his wounds, Cev finally rolled out of his pit and decided that the bike helmet wasn’t that offputting and that beggars can’t be choosers. He called Alisha over, flirted with her desperately and asked if she would be interested in going on a date. She, obviously, was. What a wonderful night it was. They laughed, they sat on a park bench… umm… Cev got bored and went home. Flash forward a couple of weeks and Cev, now with some fifteen books under his belt, has been consulting a literary agent and no longer finds himself being drip fed finances through a Burger King straw. Further validating his previous resignation, the royalty cheques are now bringing in around two thousand simoleons a day, which is nice. He also sealed the deal with Alisha at his birthday party, held over at Blue Velvet Nightclub in Willow Creek. In fact, they became Facebook official in the toilet of that very establishment. Life ain’t all that bad for Cev.
It’s important to note that sims are not humans. They’re some offshoot of humans, and I’m not here to judge – I’m sincerely all about equality – but they are to homosapians what a coke can is to a lightsabre. If they’re ever outside of dementia to begin with, they’ll slide less than gracefully into it within a mere few hours if you play on full speed and know how to wind them up. So, with this in mind, a few weeks of fumbling frantically under the sheets is enough to justify love between this budding romantic engagement. That, and Cev has been eagerly scraping the annuls of his mind for a means of seeking recompense for Bella’s harsh dismissal many moons ago.
As the brief story of my little clone proves, with a splash of imagination – or lack thereof – your sim can essentially be whatever you want them to be and in an environment of your own creation or choosing. And really, beyond that, what more can be said? I genuinely like the game. A lot of things have been streamlined and/or expanded upon. Sims, both controlled and otherwise, will automatically take care of themselves, and more effectively than they would have in previous versions. The moodlets, occurrences based on various events such as being near family or being productive, play a great role in mixing things up so you’re not just endlessly plate-spinning bladder, hunger and energy all the time. The game is genuinely a lot more fun than I ever recall it having been and everything from having a social get together to having a wedding has a bunch of objectives associated to them. A successful event results in a specialized currency that can be used to purchase legitimately useful rewards such as habits that will automatically make your sim do things automatically, and youth potions to buy more time and live to fight another day. The building is, as always, top notch, though the options for interior items isn’t quite as a rich as one might hope. A new addition is the ability to design rooms of all kinds and share them with the community.
Does it drastically break the mould? No. Does it need to? No. It’s definitely a good upgrade in my, and Cev’s, opinion.
A review copy of The Sims 4 for PC was provided by EA’s PR team, and the game is available now from stores or on Origin.