reviews\ Sep 7, 2000 at 8:00 pm

The Sims: Livin

There are little people inside your computer, and when it comes to life, they are “living large.”

The Sims Livin’ Large is an expansion pack for the cyber-dweller mega-selling program from Maxis, a division of Electronic Arts.

What has been added? There are five new careers – slacker, hacker, journalist, paranormal, and musician – that translates into 50 new jobs. Yes, there is the regular assortment, such as pickpocket, or you can be a beta tester in an 8-to-5, $120-a-day grind.

There are more neighborhoods, and more building styles. There are new items including a magic lamp, and new characters. There are situations that are new and unique to this program. In the previous incarnation, if your Sim was a slob and garbage piled up on the floor, all you attracted were flies. Now you will see a swarm of cockroaches dancing about your abode. Your Sim will magically materialize a spray can and wipe them out.

That magic lamp you bought, it may contain a genie that will grant a wish. You can ask him to put a love spell on a neighbor’s husband or wife. But if you get caught in bed together, the other spouse is likely to be rather angry and a good face slapping may be in order.

You can pursue a job as a paranormal hunter, looking in the castle for ghosts and other apparitions. Purchase a telescope to gaze at the heavens. But alien abduction has been added to this program, and your Sim may be next if he or she spends too much time gazing at the heavens. There are chemistry sets that can create personality-altering potions, a fortune-telling crystal ball, holiday decorations, stuffed and mounted animals for walls – a bevy of new and intriguing decorations and accessories that take some of the seriousness out of the program and inject a lot more fun.

Some of the Sims sport new looks, with female members showing a little more cleavage than the original program allowed.

There are a few drawbacks to the program. Take those roaches for example. The circling little horde will move from place to place, but how often have you seen cockroaches swarming in the middle of a lawn.

But at its’ heart, this is still the same product that will intrigue, delight, frustrate, and lull you into a fantasy world where fun is key, and owning stuff is good (except if you own too much, and become a prime target for thieves – that leads to depression and an assortment of other problems for your Sim).

For those who have never seen this program, it is a lesson in personal economics – micromanagement of resources and decision-making at a personal level.

It did seem with this expansion pack that the Sims created were a little easier to keep happy, but that may have been a lesson taught in long hours struggling with the original product.

The gameplay is still mouse-click based, the graphics are still wonderful, and the audio still carries with it the warmth of elevator music – that up-tempo semi-surreal styling of popular tunes that are aimed at making you forget your troubles and enjoy the ride.

The Sims was rated T for teen due to comic mischief, mature sexual themes and mild animated violence. The Sims Livin’ Large is thus rated the same.


Install: Easy. It only takes 175 megs, but it is an expansion pack with the original program necessary to play this product.

Gameplay: 9. With an evolving time-based game board, this game moves seamlessly through each day.

Graphics: 9. If you want a treat, zoom in and witness these characters in action up close. You’ll see why it has mature sexual themes.

Sound: 8. Televisions and radios have plenty to choose from, and though the characters lack an understandable language, they manage to get their point across rather well.

Difficulty: 9. This is still an amazingly difficult proposition – running other people’s lives is not as easy as it sounds.

Concept: 8. The program falls off a bit here, because it is an expansion, but still it scores well because of what has been added.

Overall: 9. Yep, this is a hoot, from top to bottom. The new characters and the new soap opera situations all make for a lot of fun in the same fascinating world.


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