Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Sims 3 For the iPhone/iPod Touch

I never understood the appeal of The Sims franchise. Beyond their use as a tool to create machinima themed movies, I have no desire to play any of the games in that franchise. To me, those "games" are just one step above playing with dolls. I'm usually content to leave that sort of thing to my daughter and her Fisher-Price "Loving Family Doll House". The scenarios that she came up over the years have run the gamut from the mundane to the comedic to the poignant to the completely insane (like the time The Incredible Hulk arrived for dinner). All of this was borne out of the imagination of a small child. Surely, my mighty adult imagination, assisted by the folks over at EA Games, could come up with something much more creative and fun. Right?

Having no desire to bind myself to the pay-per-content model that EA Games has come up with for The Sims 3, and wanting something fairly mindless to do during my downtime, I elected to purchase The Sims 3 for my iPod Touch. It's a scaled down version of the game, but I was surprised at how much they were actually able to fit into the app. The graphics look great and the controls are pretty fluid once you get used to them. But, is it fun?

I created a Sim with personality traits that would make him a complete nutcase. Playing a maniac is kind of fun. I reveled in creeping out other Sims. I'd have him barge into other Sims' homes and eat from their fridge (saving me $10 in the process), shower in their bathrooms and sleep next to them in their beds. It often became a contest to see how fast I could get kicked out of another Sim's house. That got old pretty quick, though, and soon, the tedium began to set in. Cooking meals. Going to work. Fixing the television set. Keeping up with the Jones'. It's a lot like real life. I play computer games to escape real life.

I could live with the need and wish fulfillment requirements within the game if the autonomous actions were more varied. This game is quite obviously aimed at a younger demographic, so any violent aspects within it are sufficiently cartoonified and limited. EA Games isn't looking to satisfy the outlandishly twisted desires of a jaded 35-year-old malcontent like myself. I don't want to just annoy my enemies, I want to destroy them! I want full escapism!

Still, if you're a fan of The Sims franchise and can't bear to be without your Sims fix, then this is a must have. It has enough of the gameplay ported from the regular version to get you through until you can get back to your desktop for the full version. If you're just looking to play the game during your downtime, I doubt it's worth buying. It feels like an advanced version of a Tomagachi Pet. And, in the end, the sort of escapism that the Sims 3 offers cannot compare to what is offered by one's own imagination.

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