Sims, The (Microsoft Xbox, 2003)
|The Sims is a real-time simulation game where you simulate the lives of one or more people in a family and their social activities in their immediate neighbourhood.
It's "people simulation" on the Xbox as the most popular PC title in the history of the industry moves to the realm of console gaming. Perhaps the most obvious difference, as the game moves from computer monitors to television screens, is the new graphics engine. The Sims for Xbox is completely 3D. There are several other changes as well though, focused on making the game engaging and appropriate for console-style play, with a controller instead of a keyboard.
Unlike the gradated progression of PC Sims, the Microsoft Xbox version of the game offers level-based play, in which new objects and houses are earned by reaching certain "life's big moments" goals. New objects must be "unlocked," instead of being available (but unaffordable) from the start of the game. The Sims for Xbox also offers new characters and objects that have never been featured in the home computer version of the game or its many expansion packs.
Characters of the family may be custom created (including physical features) or simply chosen from pre-generated families. All the characters also have two age groups, children and adults. Each age group has different lifestyles, priorities and interests.
The inner structure of the game is actually an agent-based artificial life program. The presentation of the game's artificial intelligence is advanced, and the Sims will respond to outside conditions independently, although often the player/controller's intervention is necessary to keep them on the right track. The Sims technically has unlimited replay value, in that there is no way to win the game, and the player can play on indefinitely. It has been described as more like a toy than a game.
Sims are influenced by the player to interact with objects or other Sims. Sims may receive guests, invited or not, from other playable lots or from unhoused NPC (non-player character) Sims. If enabled in the game's options, Sims have a certain amount of free will, allowing them to autonomously interact with their world. However, the player can override most autonomous actions by cancelling them out in the action queue at the top of the screen. Unlike the simulated environments in games such as SimCity, SimEarth or SimLife, Sims are not fully autonomous. They are unable to take certain actions without specific commands, such as paying bills, finding a job, exercising, and conceiving children. Sims communicate in a fictional language called Simlish.
The player can make decisions about time spent in skill development, such as exercise, reading, creativity, and logic by adding activities to Sims' daily agenda. Daily needs such as hygiene and eating can and must also be scheduled. Although Sims can autonomously perform these actions, they may not prioritize them effectively. Much like real humans, Sims can suffer consequences for neglecting their own needs. In addition, Sims must maintain balanced budgets and usually supplement an income by obtaining a job. Sims may earn promotions by fulfilling skills and maintaining friendships with others for each level, which lead to new job titles, increased wages, and different work hours. Alternately, Sims may also create and sell various artwork and items at home.
While there is no eventual objective to the game, states of failure do exist in The Sims. One is that Sims may die, either by starvation, drowning, fire, or electrocution. When a Sim dies, a tombstone or an urn will appear, and the ghost of the deceased Sim may haunt the building where it died. In addition, Sims can leave the game for good and never return, or two adult Sims with a bad relationship may brawl, eventually resulting in one of them moving out. Children will be sent away to military school if they fail their classes or if they have not fulfilled their needs (especially when hunger is very low), a social care worker will take them away from their household and they are no longer returnable.
The Xbox version of the game was released in 2003. Gameplay is similar to that of the PC versions and retains many of the core elements. Notable changes include a full 3D camera perspective (instead of the original 2D isometric viewpoint), more detailed appearances of Sims, and the introduction of a "Get A Life" goals-based story mode. It enjoyed a generally favorable reception, with Metacritic scores ranging from 83-85 as of August 2009.
|Number of Players||1 or 2|
|ESRB Rating||T - Teen|
|ESRB Descriptor||Comic Mischief, Mature Sexual Themes, Mild Violence|
|Game Series||The Sims Series|
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