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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Video Game Connoisseur

If onl real life were this easy
If onl real life were this easy

Sims 2: University, Sims 2: Nightlife, Sims 2: Open for Business/ Publisher: EA Games/ PC/ $39.99 Each/ ESRB: T (Teen)

Real life sucks.

I’m broke, girlfriendless, and I think I’m going deaf in my left ear. But none of that matters! Not when I can give life a hearty “screw you!” and have a simulated life. I have a mansion, an infinite amount of money, three sports cars keep every girl in the neighborhood, and I owe it all to The Sims 2 and its three expansions. Of course every thing I have is nothing more than pixels and logarithms, but it beats real life.

Video games are becoming increasingly more like real life and real life is becoming increasingly more like a game. The second part of that previous sentence is not important, but the first part is the point I’m trying to make and I simply included the second part because it compliments the first part and is turning out to be slightly prophetic and arguable while the first part is observable, you with me still? Good. In the first Sims game you could build a house, create a family, and have a virtual life that was kind’ve like watching an ant farm or fish tank. Sims 2 was the same thing with improved graphics and better interface. Now, thanks to the expansions, I can go to college and get a degree, go out for a night on the town, then open up my in-home business for the day with a hangover.

Each expansion adds new objects, outfits, and a neighborhood you can “attach” to the one you’re currently playing. In other words, the University expansion lets you add a college; Nightlife gives you a city full of clubs and Open for Business lets you add a shopping district. Also, they make the Sims more realistic by allowing you to choose their turn-ons and turn-offs and giving them an inventory which lets them carry things such as a cell phone or an mp3 player, so they can make phone calls or dance to music anywhere. If it wasn’t bad enough that people are always talking on cell phones in real life, now I have to deal with it in video games, too.

The real reason I obtained the expansions was for the added objects. My Japanese architecture class has conspired with Sims 2 to make me attempt to create a scale model of Himeji Castle within the game. Forget playing with simulated people- I just want to build. And thanks to the expansions I can now add elevators, install a sprinkler system, and put a DJ booth in the bathroom (it’s the only place I had the space, that or put it in the twelve car garage).

While the expansions don’t change a whole lot of the game, mainly adding small updates here and there and giving the player some more content, there are still a few things that I think need to be improved. I’m still limited to six floors, and of course the sixth floor has to be a roof, otherwise I’d have problems when it rains. It’s still a huge pain in the ass to make a basement; you need a slide rule and doctorate in hypothetical abstract quantum mathematics to make one. And this last complaint isn’t really a complaint; you need to invest at least two hours if you really want to accomplish anything each time you sit down to play. You really can’t just pick it up then put it down to feel satisfied, yet half the time you’re just sitting and watching. Now I know why God allows bad things to happen, it’s boring being omnipotent. Still, over all the expansions do make the game a lot more fun and really gives you a lot more options increasing the replay value from “meh, if there’s nothing better to do” to “Dude, you should totally go on the criminal career path and build a night club”.