Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why The Sims Fad?

Duck Hunt, Super Mario, and SIMS were about my only experiences with video games as I was growing up. At a young age, I can remember my dad teaching me how to shoot the over-sized, orange plastic gun at the 10" television screen we had in our living room. After my finger hurt from pushing the trigger so many times, I would move onto Super Mario, my all time favorite. Super Mario was the kinda game you could just play for hours on end (as long as you could get it to work after blowing every ounce of oxygen you owned into the open side of the cartridge). Although playing Super Mario was a true hobby of mine, I don't really think my interest had anything to do with eventually beating the game. Instead, I think I was infatuated with the idea that I could shoot awesome fire balls at enemies and head butt bricks to get extra lives.

Looking back on those days of small, square remote controls with two buttons, I cannot believe how far video games have come in graphics, content, and technology in general.The most recent video game I think I have experienced is probably The Sims game for Playstation 2. Actually, I did play a little GTA but I only played to run people over or to use the cheat code to get the massive army tank.

But back to The Sims.

After buying the original Sims game in 2000, I spent roughly 5 hours a day as a ten year old developing houses, cooking meals, and even keeping up on my Sim's personal hygiene. Why? Looking back on my experience with this video game, I often wonder what it was that was so appealing to me. Why did I find myself playing this meaningless game for hours on end and even sneaking the playstation into my room at night so I could play past bedtime?

I mean don't get me wrong- at the time I thought The Sims game was the best thing anyone had ever come up with. I could make massive houses, have endless money, and even trap my Sim in the swimming pool if I really didn't want him anymore. But looking back on all of it--I really wonder why the game is so popular, any ideas?

I decided to research a little about it:

So, in 2000 The Sims game came out and following it were these expansion packs: The Sims: Livin' Large, House Party, Hot Date, Vacation, Unleashed, Superstar, and Makin' Magic. Then came Sims 2, which included: University, Nightlife, Open for Business, Pets, Seasons, Bon Voyage, Free Time, and Apartment Life. Wow, who would of thought your Sim could go to college, have a pet, and even be a superstar! Well, just when you thought it couldn't get any better, Sims 3 came out, and now your Sim could even partake in some World Adventures. Although the game might not lend anything to your child about reality, I can kind of understand why the games are Top Sellers...because there isn't anything that your gibberish speaking avatar can't do!!

Although I am not familiar with the video game culture, I really am intrigued to know what makes this game so special? Yes I am guilty of playing it myself, but I would never spend 50 dollars on the various expansion packs. In an article called "Reading, writing, and the Sims" by Marco Visscher, Marco discusses that "Video games support the great gift that young people possess to learn by themselves."
So in other words, today's children learn how to eat, sleep, and shower because of The Sims.

Great, the game has sold 6 million copies worldwide, but I don't think that the game supports people learning by themselves. In my own experiences, I never played the game the right way, cheatcodes.com was my best friend and I didn't care if my Sim had a job or not; I could push L, L, R, L2, R2, Up, Down and get all the money I ever wanted. So, now that I am done with my rant, I have come to the conclusion that
if we are all going to spend pointless hours escaping reality, lets not pretend that The Sims is teaching us anything about reality and lets just reconfigure Duck Hunt and Super Mario for 50" HD televisions so that the world never has to buy another Sims expansion pack again.

And for your own entertainment....

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