I’ve been on a big The Sims kick lately. I’ve been playing everything, apart from the original: The Sims 3, The Sims 2 complete with most of the expansion packs, and had a quick go on the PS2 game although I never really got the hang of it. This is mostly because, with deadlines and exams coming up, I felt the need to procrastinate. I never find quite so many ways to waste my time as I do when there are important things that affect my future that I’m not doing. The Sims, in all incarnations, is a big time waster.
But then I wandered onto The Sims 2 University, and it started to piss me off a bit. The thing is, it’s easy for the sims. Tiny little simulated people that they are, it’s obviously easier for them because they have some big person up above telling them what to do (although this can also lead to disasters in the form of fire, drowning and just general death and unhappiness). I even started comparing my own life to the sims’, and sadly my own life came off worse.
The biggest hurdle in life, I find. The Beatles (because it seems I can no longer write anything without slipping them in there) famously sang, love is all you need. Or, alternatively, love is all you need. Which makes me think, we should start a matchmaking service for homeless people, but that isn’t the point. The point is that the sims have it easier. Not because they have a matchmaking service which costs five thousands simoleons or so, because we have online dating. Both probably have the same success rate and online dating is, most of the time, much cheaper (although I’ll admit I don’t know the exchange rate between pounds and simoleons).
The sims have love potions, for a start. Drink a nice, pink coloured potion from a crystal decanter and you get flowers springing up beneath your feet and the option to make someone fall in love with you. But even without that, it’s pretty easy. They can be made to find each other attractive, for one thing. They can be literally made for each other. If I’m attracted to black-haired boys with piercings, can I make someone exactly like that and move them in next door to me? No. No, I can not.
And even overlooking that, all the sims have to do is wander up to someone, chat for a bit then throw in an ‘admire’. Follow that up with a flirt option, and they’re in love. From there, it’s easy to take it as fast or as slowly as you want. The sims only seem to hate each other if they cheat on each other, and that’s easy enough to avoid. So I feel that in this case, the sims win.
Some people find it difficult to make friends, right? Not on the Sims! For starters, people come around to welcome them into the neighbourhood. Greet these people and they wander into your house, you can call them for a chat without asking for their number, and it’s not like before you’re friends. There’s no such thing as just not getting along with someone. Not to mention, your sims can bring friends home from work. The parents and children usually get on. Obviously there are ways to change this, but if you play the game without purposely trying to make their lives hard, it’s fairly easy to make friends.
Not so in real life. Sometimes people don’t get on. You can’t just wander up to someone in a shop and start a conversation. And if someone I barely knew called me up at 7am to chat, I wouldn’t be impressed. I definitely think this is another win for the sims.
I’m putting these as one, because the idea is generally the same. At work, it’s easy to get a promotion. The sims don’t have to have been to uni. They can start a job with no skills whatsoever and completely work their way up. In real life, could I get a job as a medical test subject and become a scientist simply by playing lots of chess? Or could I get a job as a golf caddy and become a professional freelance photographer? I believe the answer is ‘no’.
Not to mention school. All the sims do is their homework and their grades go shooting up. They never struggle to understand it. They never get upset if they can’t do it. And university? While I accept there is some value to doing term papers and studying books to pass, it still has the whether or not they understand it value. I could read book after book but if I don’t understand the material, I’m not going to get on the Dean’s list. It just seems so much easier on the sims and so much less hard work than it is in real life. Again, I feel this is a point to the sims.
While I could go on — there’s no hairdye, they can just change their hair and if they don’t like it, change it back, it can go from long to short, piercings aren’t permanent and tattoos come off with a change of clothes — I won’t, because I feel that I’ve made my point. Final score: 3-0 to the sims. So between being a real person and being a simulated one, I’d take the Sims every time.