the opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of GamerFitNationGame: The Sims Social Platform: Facebook Time Played: 15.5hrs Verdict: see below
I was twenty one years old when my then boyfriend decided to relent to my known love of “computer games”. With a trip to the big box electronic store. I am sure the conversation, and quest for a gift, went a little something like it might have for any young man at the time.
What a sweet gesture, a ‘girl game’. Now don’t get me wrong, I played The Sims, I played the heck out of The Sims and, for a short time, so did he. I LOVE The Sims but this opened up a continued ‘default gift’ as each new expansion and upgrade pack became available. By about the end of The Sims 2 I had quickly moved on from the franchise and appreciatively discouraged the continued gifting of expansion packs and related materials and not because it wasn’t still great. I just needed a break.
For other ‘ladies’ this trend continued and The Sims turned into a HUGE franchise across multiple platforms, countless expansion packs and stuff packs, and has not only gone mobile but can now be found on the facebook platform. Is it bad that The Sims has been dubbed a girl game? No. There are a lot of aspects of the game that appeal to females on a very instinctual level, which I am sure is part of the reason it has remained so popular. The facebook version, The Sims Social, is a stripped down version of The Sims; one that will steal your time, annoy your friends, and not do justice to ‘The Real McCoy’.
I’d like to argue that women are naturally wired to get great joy from ‘nesting’, which is something that The Sims games not only encourage but require. Creating your home, decorating, acquiring and moving furnishing to create a living space, are all comfort tasks for many women.
Relationships are just another aspect of real life situations that women take care of, analyze, and focus on. It is then only fitting that in this simulation title we can monitor our relationships with our neighbors, friends, and romances, and we also are rewarded for developing the most fulfilling relationships.
More of an independent gal? Get a job! The Sims allows you a number of career choices to build upon, just as in life, and you have the opportunity to work your way to the top.
So if we love simulating all of the aspects of our real lives why do we want to create it in-game? Well, for the same reasons we play any game; to follow a story to its conclusion, to execute moves bases on hypothesis and analyze the outcomes, or to escape with friends into a world of make believe (even if it is one that we created). And because it’s fun! But there’s where The Sims Social falls short.
In The Sims Social you begin with a small house that is furnished with the very basics needed to get you going. You have been given some simoleons, some energy points, social points, and one neighbor. Your quests require you to begin by gaining possessions and experience which is not completely unlike the full version of the game. Building in The Sims Social, however, is a very basic version compared to that of the more fleshed out interface in the full game. Cut and paste your rooms together and be dang sure you have some neighbors to help you with the labor. In fact just be sure you have as many neighbors as you can to start with anyway because it won’t take long before any and every possible interaction requires help from a friend.
“But Sharon’” you might be thinking “it’s The Sims SOCAIL, it’s supposed to encourage interaction with your friends!” and you’d be right. This game is meant to be played with friends but not in the way you might hope. Playing with friends in The Sims Social is painfully similar to playing with friends in other facebook platforms games. If you’ve played Farmville, CivWorld, City of Wonder, or any other social platform game then you are familiar with the formula. A formula I supose I was hoping The Sims Social wouldn’t be married to. The formula includes a limited amount of ‘game play’ that you can achieve before you must spam your feed, message your friends, request items or gifts, or recruit more players in order to gain a tiny bit more game play. Then of course the game will reset your allowances over a time period to keep you coming back day after day so that you may progress just a teensy bit more with each visit.
The social aspect of SimsSocial, aside from the spam and requests I talked about earlier, was explained in August EA Press release which stated:
“The Sims Social also features an innovative “replay” option, allowing players to actually see what their friends have done to them and their houses while they were away. They might see that a friend dropped in and cooked a meal or fixed their guitar. Or they may find out that a rival has visited and pulled a prank and left a spider behind the toilet or put a fish in their bed.”
This is a really neat feature especially when a friend is online at the same time as you. You cannot interact directly, but it at least feigns a sense of multiplayer.
Yes this fb/playfish formula has been applied to The Sims Social with great success. You can level up your career, your home, your relationships, and your quests all with the help of your friends. This is a formula used across most facebook games because it works. And that is all well and good but here is what I would like to suggest:
If you catch yourself (or a loved one) pouring in hour after hour into The Sims Social over facebook: Stop! Go buy The Sims 3. Your sim experience will be much more rewarding, much more in depth, and customizable. It is worth every penny!
If you’ve got some time to kill while sitting in your cubicle at 4:45 waiting for the day to end, sure, hop into The Sims Social for a small whiff of what The Sims is really about.
Don’t forget to check out some of my other articles here at GFN.