The Sims Review

The Sims have been around for a while on the PC.  Long enough, in fact, to become the biggest selling PC game franchise in history.  Now The Sims is available on the Xbox, and although it's been through a few changes since appearing on the PC, it's pretty safe to say that it is the most unusual game to appear on the system.

Screenshots
Sims have to deal with everyday problems like burring their house down.

The Sims can best be described as a life simulator.  You guide a simulated person, or sim, through its daily life, making sure that its needs are met and that it is happy.  I use the word "guide" because you don't have complete control over your sim.  You can specify a series of actions for your sim to perform, but your sim can veto you if it's not in the mood.  Your sim has the same needs as a real person and if these needs aren't met, its happiness plummets and it becomes quite uncooperative.  This is not hard to understand - after all would you follow an order to play a game of chess if you haven't been allowed to use the restroom all day?

I know what you're thinking and the answer is "yes", sims have to use the bathroom.  They also need to eat, wash to maintain hygiene, sleep, relax, play, and socialize.  Therein lies the challenge in the game; there are only so many hours in the day to meet all of these needs.  Balance these needs and you get a happy, productive sim.  Neglect them and your sim will become depressed, and may even suffer the embarrassment of soiled pants, collapse on the spot, or even die.

The autonomy from your total control is what gives sims their character and makes the game interesting to watch.  The game is filled with objects with which your sims can interact, but the real fascination lies in their interaction with other sims.  Like real people, sims can hit it off and be friendly towards each other or have personality conflicts that lead to a lot of bad blood.  You can select from a myriad of actions when your sim is conversing with another, from basic ones like greetings and jokes to more intimate ones such as backrubs, kisses, and even marriage proposals.  You'll constantly be surprised by the results of these actions as they are affected by a number of factors such as the sims' relationship to each other, their current moods, and their compatible interests.  Like a real relationship, you'll need to do a little work to try and elicit the reaction you're looking for.  If you invite a bunch of sims over for a party you'll be in for a show as you watch them all interact.  Sims talk to each other in a combination of gibberish and thought balloons, and it's funny to watch the topics of conversation.  Sims will also react to the actions of other sims around them, so expect to see love blossom and jealousy bloom during the more wild parties.