Why everyone needs to play “The Sims”

16 Feb

OK. I have a confession to make. I did a little splurging this past weekend.

So, I came out the winner for the third month in a row in the “Biggest Loser” competition between four others and me. I used my winnings last month to pay on a delinquent cable bill. I have also been miserable because of these damned furloughs, dieting, the fact that we’ve probably had more snow than Alaska and Antarctica combined this year and STILL waiting for my beloved car to come home and be repaired. Thanks to the aforementioned snow from Hell, the 1/4 of my car that needs replacing hasn’t made it in. So, after losing about 20 pounds and spending my winnings on grocery and bills, I thought it was time to REALLY reward myself.

I bought “The Sims 3”, and I’m just as addicted — if not more addicted — than what I was to the first one. There’s soooo much more to this one than the first, and I’ve basically spent the time I’ve had it just trying to learn how the damn thing works. But whether you’re still playing the Old School Sims or have 30 expansion packs, know all the cheats, etc., or haven’t even touched the game, it has some very important lessons. They namely involve money. In my opinion, every person — especially teenagers and young adults — should play it at least once.

First of all, you create a family, and you have a certain amount of money when the game begins. You then have to move the family members into a house. Because they’re just starting out in life, you can’t exactly buy a chateau for them. One of the starter houses in Sims 3 is a trashed-out trailer, complete with pink flamingos outside. Then, you need stuff in that house. I’m not just talking about cutesy decorations and the like. You have to make sure the place has a toilet, a shower or bathtub, beds (or couches), a fridge, everything. With your limited budget, you can’t exactly buy the prettiest things in the world.

So, The Sims games make you sit down and figure out, “Hmmm…. Just how am I going to pull this off? Am I going to be able to pull it off? What do I need versus what do I want?”

Because I’m a newbie, all of my sims are in the poorhouse. Two platonic friends are sharing a one-bedroom house AND bed (one double bed is cheaper than two singles). They’ve been in my Simland the longest time, so they’ve raised enough funds between them to finally buy each sim a car. For a little while, they had to share. Guess what? The first car is basically an old-school compact hatchback. It totally reminds me of my Mom’s old Toyota Tercel or my grandfather’s old Chevette. It’s a total piece of crap. I was able to paint it purple, at least. The second car is a hooptie that looks like those land yachts everyone’s grandparents drove in the 1980s. No one else in my Simland has a car.

As if money weren’t complicated enough, there’s career and personal concerns. They often overlap. You have to get your sim a job, or he/she will literally starve to death. You also have to make sure your sims are performing well, or they’ll lose their jobs and starve to death. But they have to balance out their home/social lives, too. They want to have friends outside their homes, but they also need to keep the home fires burning. Their kids or their marriages suffer, otherwise. They get moody when their personal and social lives are out of wack. Guess what? That causes them to perform badly at work, not get promoted, not make as much money…

Those personal concerns can affect someone financially, too. One couple just divorced, and the wife moved out. She’s a professional musician, and she forgot her guitar at her ex’s place before leaving. Well, technically, I forgot to make her load up her guitar, but you see the point, right? She can’t go without a guitar. It’s a job requirement! When she got to her new house, she had to sell a chair and two lamps to get a new guitar.

That’s also a lesson in sacrifice, my friends.

Also, it’s a lesson in having too many mouths to feed. If your sim family has babies or young children, the kids cannot support themselves. Teenagers can only get part-time jobs. The Sims is a perfect lesson in, “Hey, you want kids? They’re not cheap! At all!” This family I just evicted had a mom, dad, teenage daughter, younger daughter, the mom’s sister and the mom’s sister’s husband in it. The family didn’t have enough room for the mom’s sister and brother-in-law, so those two had to sleep in the yard. They were all miserable and their jobs/pay was suffering. To top it off, this family added TWO babies to the mix. It was beyond a madhouse.

Did I also mention actions have consequences? A perfect example is the ex-husband of the aforementioned divorced couple. He started a job in the crime field, and found himself in jail before he even completed the first day on the job. He left that job as soon as he was released. Because he was thrown in jail, he wasn’t making any money for the household. Of course, his wife eventually divorced him.

Yes, you can have a field day with this game. You can make your sims as happy or miserable as you want. You can also create sims based on yourself, your friends and even celebrities and fictional characters. I have three households with “30 Rock” characters in them, and the sim based on me is married to a gorgeous, romantic husband 🙂 You can check out You Tube and see what some people have done with The Sims 3. There’s scads of videos based on The Twilight Series, alone. It’s also as addictive as hell. On our first night with the original Sims, one of my best friends and I literally stayed up until 8 a.m. the next morning playing that game.

But if you believe this game is complicated, well, so is life. Managing finances can be a pain, too. Luckily, there’s some video game manufacturers who realize that now. I just wish we could all afford all of their games!

Liz Lemon, Tina Fey’s character on “30 Rock”, shows how much there is to learn through The Sims.

(OK. I know this is slightly off-topic, but that “hooptie reference, just made me laugh until I nearly cried. I had recently found an old Sir-Mix-A-Lot video [Yes, Mr. “Baby Got Back”] that I find 10,000 times funnier than his one hit. You must watch this. Those, like me, who have had horrible cars in the past will definitely appreciate this.)

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2 Responses to “Why everyone needs to play “The Sims””

  1. injaynesworld February 16, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    Oh, no… don’t get me started on another addiction. I love Liz Lemon.

    • flatbrokegirl February 17, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

      Liz Lemon is my patron saint. She’s my clone!

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