It was last year that the third installment of the now-10-year-old series has been released. It was an eventful year, despite the uneventful period in which the game was released. I was 18 at the time, legally an adult. I don’t know how much that affected how I treated my newer, improved, adult sim-me. In any case, I think I took a more mature way of living with him.I started him small, and although I did do small improvements here and there, I always tried to keep expenses at a minimum, saving money in case it was needed, something I do now too, mind you. I always tried to keep him on an upward slope to greatness, and although he never got there because I never played long enough to, he did become quite a successful man.
Gone was the fascination with building massive houses, gone was the fascination with trying to do wacky things with my sim. It was the only game of sims I basically left there indefinitely as a testament of time. I added in a girl in town, got her to slowly but surely become sim-me’s friend. Then more. That’s the way it ended.
But before this there was something else, quite strange. My sim, having the genius trait applied to him, liked to just wander off, exploring. So one day I made him take a day off from the job and left him frolicking in his own free will. He had the usual way of being, going around the house, reading, playing video-games, eating specialties he learned to make from a book bought at the bookstore, then talked a bit to his girlfriend. And wandered off.
Left the house.
Left the lot.
Left the neighborhood.
Kept walking until he stopped and found something. It was a stone of some kind. I remember I stated something like “hmm, nifty!” while I watched him slowly get back home. The new thing with Sims 3, you see, is the incredibly dynamic neighborhood. It’s not like the other games, not like the original one where you couldn’t control your sim in another lot, but only the sims in that lot, not like the second one in which I can’t remember the mechanics. Gone was the loading time between the neighborhood and your house, everything was just… seamless. I admit that from a gameplay standpoint it didn’t make that much of a difference, but looking back to it, it made a hell of one. Sure you still couldn’t see how your sim worked, but now everything was put in perspective.
You could actually see the neighborhood as the sum of its parts, as a living, breathing society with proper ranks and be polite to. Perhaps I didn’t notice at the time, not being able to look past the monotone grey world of normal sim way of life, but this game is much more complex than it implies.
I think Will Wright saw his vision made in Sims 3, and although it’s not perfect, it’s not something that is meant to be either. It’s life, in a wacky gibberish, kinda way.
Oh yeah, and there was Woo Hoo.