Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Sims 2 PC version and various expansion packs

After my review of the standalone Pets title for the PS2 my partner lovingly acquired me the PC version and a bunch of expansion packs :O!
My netbook is far too small to play them on so I've been stealing his massive laptop for the last few days.
Before I get down to specifics I must say that the series is a huge timesink. Midday. Sit on the computer, get Sims doing things. Partner comes home, makes a meal. Feels like twenty minutes has gone by but I know it must have been an hour or two. Partner asks if we can go to bed soon. "But it's so early" I lament as I swing my head around. BAM. Umbrella Corporation clock says it's 4am the next day. Where does all the time go?!

The first pack he installed was Bon Voyage and that seems to have had the most effect, what with the title popping up everywhere. Although I still haven't got the knack of actually sending Sims on vacation.
Typically, we decided to create our family. If I knew you could create babies there at the time I would have done so, instead I went through the frustrating process of doing so in-game. We don't actually have a dog here yet but we made one anyway, with the most ridiculous awesome ears ever.
The options you get for creation and customisation are better than the PlayStation 2 version in some ways, but worse in others. You have a lot of choices but they're all fairly limited in themselves. My main issue was not being able to make my chosen haircut turquoise and only being able to select different-coloured styles from a small and hideous "custom" menu. I have ramblings about the outfits that I'll get to later.
We didn't spend too much time creating as we were keen to get straight into the game. We selected the Pleasantview neighbourhood and bought a small home, added basic furnishings, proceeded to get jobs and go through other epitomes of typicality.

Something I was always anxious about was the inevitable getting old and dying aspect that the PC version provides. I am far too emotional as a person when it comes to gaming. Not only can I rant for hours about a storyline that really shouldn't bother anybody so much, I get stupidly sad when non-existent people die of old age. So that was a bummer waiting to happen.

The Sim lifespan does strike me as being surprisingly short. It's not like we spent that long playing, but within a couple of days we were old folks still running around after a child that couldn't keep their hands out of the toilet.
Something that annoyed me upon the age transformation was hideous clothes and hairstyles I did not choose. Although we have a wardrobe, going to a community lot and buying clothes doesn't seem to allow you to get changed into them, unless we are missing something obvious. I experimented with another family by choosing all the outfits for different ages during the creation stage and then selecting the age range I wanted the character to be in. But when the transformation came, the clothes weren't replaced with the ones I had chosen. A function to actually pick which clothes you want throughout your life would be nice. We don't have The Sims 3 so I don't know if any improvements have been made.

There just doesn't seem to be enough time to get everything done. Nobody ever maxed out skills or got promoted very far. Will's Sim retiring as a waiter was a bit disappointing. Managing the characters is quite difficult. I can queue tasks for them that correspond with their needs, but they'll decide not to follow them in favour of preparing another five meals they'll abandon halfway, eat later and get food poisoning with. The need to run to the fridge even with maxed-out hunger is something that continues to trouble me. As does the repeated cancelling of my request that they go to the toilet, so that they can whine to me about needing to go to the toilet.
Likewise, they'll cancel going to sleep, to tell me they want sleep. They'll moan about the mess but they won't clean (I hired a maid in the end). I've gotten so frustrated with some Sims that I've simply refused to control them until they learn to fend for themselves, being as they like absolutely NOTHING that I ask of them.
The choices you get for a Sim at work are just a needless annoyance. If you get the same question more than once, and select the answer that was previously successful, it won't be the correct one on that occasion, showing that you have a 50/50 chance of getting fired each time a question pops up regardless of your chosen reply. Your best bet is to click "ignore".

Something that I do like is the Kibble of Life, presented in a glowing food bowl you can command pets to eat from so that they live longer.

Water balloon fight with Buzz Killington

Why is it green?

Buzz and a skunk


Simlish television is quite watchable

Sleeping face = Mario ghost

Fireman using bath

The university pack was an interesting concept at first but ultimately seems quite pointless. We made our younger student selves, and originally intended to live in a replica of our current real home that we created. But it cost §6,000 and students don't have that much cash. So we settled for living in a dorm, declared ourselves Mathematics majors, and that's pretty much it. You don't see Sims in their classes much like you wouldn't see adults at work, so basically you have brief evenings with them wherein you can get them to eat, use the toilet and shower, learn skills, and sleep. If you do enough clicking on the right stuff you can get them to work on an assignment or term paper. There really isn't that much to it.
Also, locking the doors generally fails as we kept coming back to find random people using our desks or even beds.

The trouble with having all the packs installed at once, is that I don't know which of them contributed what to the game. I enjoy the Seasons expansion; winter is my favourite time of year so I tack-on a couple of extra ones. Plus it appears to be responsible for the Gaming career path! It doesn't look as if the Free Time pack does anything other than "give the Sims interests" by putting an icon above their heads when they perform basic tasks.

Desiring to live longer and in our replica home, we moved the lot to Riverblossom Hills, hiking the price up to §29,050. Families start with only §20,000 so we'd have to work while living elsewhere until we could afford it.
We made ourselves as teenagers with a nice red cat, but a flaw in our plan emerged when we were informed that we had to be related to an adult Sim. So we made two elders; Herbert (as in, Family Guy) and Montgomery (as in, The Simpsons). But that wasn't good enough either. So we downgraded Herbert to an adult, kept a randomly generated Sim we named "Jerry" after a pink fluffy elephant we have, and kept Montgomery for teh lolz.
We got everybody working; being as two of them were teenagers, they had to go to school as well, and work on homework booklets in order to succeed. However, they refused to do so unless their Fun meter was full, and there aren't enough hours in the day to fill it up, give them the sleep they demand afterwards and get the homework done. Subsequently, they were announced "the worst students in school".
Eventually, Montgomery died and that was a bummer. Until he started haunting the garden and frightened Jerry, after which I deemed him a nuisance.


Social Bunny


He looks cold

This isn't a glitch; someone was in the shower, so Herbert got naked in the kitchen

When we had enough money, we sold the house and moved in next door, to the replica of our lovely home ^_^

My taste in designs is probably quite eccentric but even I consider this to be offensive to the eyes

Lol at snowman from previous lot still being visible

Furniture not shown through windows


Of course it's not exact; there are no washing machines in The Sims, for example. Now that I'm playing it in a more relaxed mood and I'm not constantly angsty about achieving something, the game's hilarity and wittiness is starting to shine through. Especially when Jerry adopted the new habit of walking in on Will's Sim in the bath, screaming loudly, and repeating. I also witnessed him doing some sort of weird bum dance.

Last but not least, my parnter's rendition of Snakes N' Barrels from Metalocalypse:

Something I didn't touch with a bargepole was the Apartment Life add-on with Witches. I grew up in a Pagan household having had members of my family flee from places where being a Witch will still get you killed. The perpetuations that we get green skin in private, are responsible for random bad stuff, use cauldrons for anything other than old-timey cooking and brooms for anything other than sweeping, are not helpful especially when the game is sold in countries wherein these things are believed. I know Electronic Arts meant absolutely no harm and thought it would just be another bit of fun for the players, I just didn't touch it because I knew it would frustrate me. Believing that gods are life energy flowing through the earth is no more barmy than believing there's a bearded dude in the sky, and there really shouldn't be so much fuss. For information, the term "Witch" is gender-neutral, "Warlock" is an insult and refers to somebody who betrays their tribe and generally commits nasty acts, and in conversation can be translated as "liar".

I've really come to love the PC version of The Sims 2, which I didn't think I would considering the whole old-age-and-death-even-of-the-cute-fuzzy-animals thing. There's more and more to discover as you go on. It has the ability to make you reflect on your real life aspirations, and whether or not you're achieving them. I also think that scoring points with people is similar to something we do in our heads in real life, for example, needing to have had a certain number of conversations with people before you'll consider yourselves friends with them.

It would be nice to queue real life tasks like you can in the game. Sorting out my Hygiene and Hunger, cleaning the bath, doing an assignment to 100% and then getting the perfect amount of sleep would be quite lovely.
I'm very irked to hear about this SecuROM bollocks that comes with the CD-installed versions. Said software doesn't even allow allow legal DVD burning software to be on the computer you want to play the game with. I needed Nero to pass my college courses, good job I wasn't a Sims PC fan back then. Apparently the stuff also takes issue with users trying to load Unreal Tournament.

All this has reminded me that I have SimAnimals on the Wii here somewhere, which I might have a look for.


  1. Wow! The Sims brings me back. When I was a little kid I absolutely LOVED the Sims (the first games) plus loved getting all the expansion packs. And I remember time going SO fast when I was playing it. Good times! :)

  2. You HAVE to get the sims3 if you're a fan of the sims. You'll never go back!


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