reviews\ Feb 6, 2000 at 7:00 pm

The Sims - PC - Review - PC - Review

Meet John and Jane Doe. They’ve just moved into the small house in the corner of the subdivision. Their life is very typical. Up every morning, shower, throw down a quick breakfast and then the headlong dash for the car pool and the ride to work. Like every couple, they need to manage time effectively, balancing the pressures of work with the relaxing benefits of having a little fun. Too much of one, the other will suffer.


And, of course, there is money management thrown in - should you buy that barbecue or save up to expand the home?


By the way, this couple are what is known as Sims - simulated people who face the same everyday challenges as any real-life counterpart.


Yes, the question that has plagued gamers for years has finally been answered. Maxis and Electronic Arts have taken the Sim series, boiled it down to its most elemental, and presented the household management game known as The Sims.


What a program! This is more than just an economics lesson. This is life. Your Sims family can consist of one or more people. If you have chosen a bachelor, that individual can fall in love, get married and become a parent. There are parties, with dancing, hot tubs and pool tables. There are fights. There are robberies, with slow responding police. Don’t feel like cooking, order a pizza. But the delivery guy won’t wait around forever, so be ready to answer the door. You have to clean up after meals and do the dishes, clean the house lest you attract flies. You can use the newspaper, or computer to find a job.


This game immerses the player in a world that is as familiar and frustrating as the real one. The Sims do not speak English, but will convey thoughts through symbols. If you aren’t treating your Sim right, he or she will look up at you from the monitor, wave their arms and indicate what they need. And each Sim comes with his or her own personality and traits.


You can try to economize, and buy cheap beds for your starter home. But don’t be surprised if your Sim would rather pass out from exhaustion than sleep in that Spartan accommodation.


The program is rather easy to navigate through and the options menu is quite good. You can design and customize your Sim, or begin with a previously created character. You can choose skin coloration, hair color and main clothing style. Sims will change clothes, depending on jobs.


There are three main operating levels - live action (with a clock that moves quite quickly), buy mode (where you can furnish that home any way you deem appropriate), and build mode (where you can modify, add-on, or landscape your property).


Each Sim family begins with $20,000, and you have to manage that money wisely. The cheapest computer will cost you $999, but will provide a source of entertainment and job possibilities. Do you need that alarm clock? After all, you can manually wake up your Sim, so why spend that $35?


And there are a few other “real-life” experiences that give this program a wonderful perspective. Kids have to go to school. Parents have to work. You have to maintain your hygiene, which means taking a bath or shower, washing your hands, and brushing your teeth. (Don’t fret, no naked Sims are seen in this program - when they get undressed, or use the toilet, the program blurs them out.)


The Sims also is supported by a strong Web page ( - which, if other Sims-themed Web pages are any indication, will offer more than just a few pretty pictures, and fan merchandise and chatter.


This program is rated teen for comic mischief, mature sexual themes and mild animated violence.


Maxis has hit the bulls-eye with this title. It is compelling, addictive, fun, frustrating, well-designed and intriguing



Install: Hard. The Sims takes a long time to load. System requirements call for 300 megs of hard drive space, but other games, with the same requirements, don’t take this long.


Gameplay: 9. The program is smooth, with an easy player interface.


Graphics: 9. Simply amazing.


Sound: 8. Solid, varied and fun.


Difficulty: 9.  You probably think you can’t make the same financial mistakes twice in your lifetime - in real time and in cyber time with the Sim family - guess again, you can.


Concept: 8. Yes, the Sim series has long tempted gamers with a variety of scenarios. Though nothing really new, this is still a fresh approach.


Overall: 9. This program is the civilization genre brought to an elemental level, the family. And it rocks.


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