Just as I was starting to become bored with my springtime gaming addiction, City of Heroes, The Sims 2 was released about a week ago.
This remake of the best-selling PC game of all time, The Sims, offers pretty much the same gameplay as the original, with a few updates–Sims now age and eventually die, have overriding life aspirations to fulfill in addition to their ongoing needs, and can pass on their appearance and personality to their offspring through a simulated genetics. While I was hugely addicted to the original Sims for a long time, I’m not sure that these updates to the game will hold my attention for long. The ability to very specifically customize your Sims, though, is very nice, permitting an infinite customization of their appearance; you can tweak dozens of elements of their facial structure–overall shape, brow, nose, eyes, mouth, chin. With just a few minutes work, I even created passable representations of Jeff and me, and moved them into a gorgeous split-level lakeside modern home in the SimCity ‘burb of Pleasantview.
And that brings me to my favorite part of the original game–building and furnishing the Sims’ homes–which is where the new version really shines. The original game was very limited; homes could be one or two stories, and were quite constrained in architecture. In the new version, homes can have up to five levels, can be built into and on hilly terrain, and can utilize foundations and decks to build split-level structures and even sub-levels (I’ve modified one home, for example, to have a swimming pool in the basement). I’m populating one street of Pleasantview with a variety of modernist homes into which I’ve moved the Sims I’ve created–our sim doppelgangers live in one, the Cuirs (another gay couple, Tad and Chad) in another, and the LeFays (elf princess Morgana and her twin pointy-eared sons Kieran and Breandan) in a third.
It’s strange to watch Jeff’s and my little sim clones interact with one another; they continue to develop little idiosyncrasies and habits that are–at least for now–oddly engaging and even endearing. They’re very affectionate, and spoon when they’re sleeping; they’ve also, on their own, adopted the corresponding sides of the bed Jeff and I use in real life. Last night the two of them showed up at the Cuirs’ house to welcome them to the neighborhood, yet before long they ended up in a separate room talking to each other rather than interacting with their hosts, which hit eerily close to home.
What’s even odder, though, is when Jeff and I start adopting and imitating the habits of our virtual doubles. Sim-Thom has this habit of making the “How You Doin’?” double finger-pointing gesture whenever he walks by another Sim, and I’ve found myself mockingly adopting it on occasion at home. Life imitates art?