Monday, August 19, 2013

Addiction to simulation

Wendy is addicted again.  Every so often this happens - she randomly acquires a new computer game and falls down the rabbit hole.  This time the timesink in question is The Sims 3.  The previous addictions were Portal, Mass Effect, and Little Inferno.  Today Elli spent a lot of time sitting on Wendy's lap while Wendy instructed her simulated family to go to the bathroom, change the baby, go to work, and scrub the dishes.  Apparently this is endless fun.  I suspect the real appeal comes from how quickly things get better.  Promotions come every few hours, babies turn into children who can then be put to work in just a day, and there always seems to be enough money to add on a new room to the house.  Real life should be so easy.

What is strange is that there are really only two ways this can go.  The first way is that I ignore the game except for making occasional comments and Wendy plays the game to death, only giving up when there is really nothing left to do.  The other possibility is she hooks me into the game and I lose all of my time to it, staying up late at night and playing all day while she is at work.  This combined with my ferocious desire to beat the game means that I rush ahead of her and she loses interest since I have beaten it already.  The end is known and the magic vanishes.

I don't mean to run in and wreck everything, I just want to see it, to grok it, to master it all.  Unfortunately watching somebody else rush to the endgame takes away the magnetic pull of exploration for her.  It is a strange little dynamic we have and it only plays out every six months to a year because it isn't often she gets this way about a new game.  Even though I am the obsessive game freak of the two of us it is usually her that starts my obsessions.  She finds the most amazing games!


  1. That reminds me of the time we had The Sims running on the floor in Chateau Monterrey. A bunch of us had characters in the 'town' and the computer controlled them when someone else was playing. Tom P once invited Adam and his wife over to Tom's heart shaped house. Adam sat drinking at the bar all night as Tom stole his wife. Good times?

    Can you still make ghost children? I think we did it by taking the ladder out of the pool after the kids got in. Or maybe it was when we took the door away from a room and trapped them inside the house? We are such terrible people.

  2. The pool was a lot more humane than walling them in (as I think it is in real life, though obviously both are murder). Walling a sim in would leave them alive for quite a long time. When someone died a gravestone would appear automatically and you could sell it for money so you could use this for an early money boost by starting your house with extra people in it. Not that *I* did this.

    I played until I had my sims quit their jobs and become full time artists. When I lost interest Byung married both of my sims into his house so that someone else had space on the street.

    But my favourite thing was that Aidan made a Sim who was so happy and fulfilled that there was never anything for him to do except sit in a chair when he got home. Imagine that, your life is so great that when you go home you just sit down in a chair by yourself and wait for bedtime.