I became nostalgic about the good old The Sims recently, so I dusted the trusty old game and crossed my fingers that it would run on my machine. I swear that if EA re-made this game with better graphics and
toddlers aging with the exact same expansion packs, I would just eat it up – and I bet I wouldn’t be alone. While I enjoyed several of the expansions further down the line in The Sims series – University and Open for Business will always have a place in my heart – I don’t believe the franchise ever managed to get its expansion packs as spot on as they did with the first game.
Create a Sim was a tiny bit fuzzy (aside from the fact it can obviously not compete with its The Sims 4 counterpart), but apart from that the graphics did still seem to work fine in my game. I popped my sim into the neighbourhood, and after spending a few minutes fawning over getting reacquainted with the original Mortimer and Bella Goth, I promptly got her a an agent and sent her to Studio Town to find fame.
I just adored The Sims Superstar. From the jingle recordings and hilarious soap opera scenes to fashion shows and the spas, the only thing I did not care for was the obsessed fan. But this time around, I even welcomed seeing him, for old times sake. The highlight of my Studio Town visits must surely be bumping into the Sim version of Avril Lavigne… ah, the memories.
While I did focus mainly on the Superstar gameplay, I did also attempt to have my sim go on dates Downtown – with little success, but those who follow the story of my sim Vanessa know that problematic love life is a recurring theme in my sims lives. Note to self: If you go on vacation in the hopes of finding a significant other, do not attempt to wash random strangers who join you in the hot tub; it (almost) never goes down well.
On the odd chances the dates were going well, I reveled in seeing my cuddling in a restaurant booth again, something that I really wish – but do not dare to hope – returns in The Sims series. I also caught a glimpse of the lovely Miss Crumplebottom; though sadly my dates never went smoothly enough to see her in full on action.
Further down the list, I also popped down Magic Town and turned a mean sim into a toad, sent my sims on a brief holiday in the mountains and adopted a puppy that only peed in the house occasionally. I’ve spent a good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) amount of hours in game in the past couple days, and I barely scratched the surface of all there is to do.
However, I already feel like I’m simmed out. Why, you ask? The logical answer would perhaps be the dated design – I really struggled to find clothes and furniture I found appealing. But with a fun game like The Sims, I could easily see past that and even appreciate the reminder of how fleeting trends are. No, the main reason lies elsewhere.
It turns out The Sims is an incredibly hard game. The sims’ motives decline at light speed, meaning it’s almost never a good time to do anything. Your sim wakes up hungry, smelly and bored, and by the time you’ve gotten their hunger, fun and hygiene up, they are exhausted again. I like a bit of a challenge, but you always seem to be dirt poor and your house is constantly infested with roaches and flies… and did I mention the daily raccoon visits?
I’m not saying this means The Sims 1 is a bad game, on certain levels it still beats its successors and it was revolutionary at the time of its release. The issue is that we as players, or certainly myself at least, have become spoiled and expect our sims games to be smooth and easy. Making the game more challenging indirectly causes you spend more time caring for your sim and less time exploring features added with expansions, creating the illusion that there is more content in the game. (Note: I still do believe The Sims 4 needs more content, but considering how easy it is to keep our sims in a relatively good mood, naturally you run out of things to do with them quicker).
All in all, I may still return to The Sims 1 every so often when I feel like reminiscing on snowboarding, carnival games, picnics on a blanket, preserve making, modelling and finding your prince charming by kissing a toad… but in the interest of not feeling drained after a game session, I will stick with the more recent iterations of The Sims – for now.