There's a blithe naivety to the way that life is presented in The Sims that is either comforting or a little disturbing depending on your mood. The series is softly apolitical in the way that a Barbie house is apolitical, and by that I mean that it isn't apolitical at all. The Sims is loaded with assumptions about the way that people function and about the way that success in life is gauged, but it feels churlish to point them out because it's all just a bit of fun, isn't it. The Sims is set in a world where buying things is always awesome and everybody is twenty-five until they're sixty. Regardless of environmental aesthetic, the series has always been functionally and fundamentally Californian.
You may have noticed while playing The Sims 4 that if you use words like "gay," "queer," or "homosexual" in your Sim's name or description, you cannot share him or her in the public gallery: Doing so results in an error message stating that "the description contains a forbidden word." But it's not a bug, it's EA's automated, and somewhat overenthusiastic, filtering system in action.
Tom Marks has been having fun with a weird bug/cheat/oversight in The Sims 4 that allows players to scale objects to ridiculous sizes, but what other cheats are hiding in Maxis' game? The folks at SimsGlobe have collected a few of the known codes so far, and if you've ever wanted to make your Sims immortal, give them a free rung on the property ladder, load their bank accounts with Simoleons or give them the power of teleportation, then you've come to the right place.
I might have had more fun making gigantic gnomes in The Sims 4 than actually playing the game, at least so far, and right now you can do the same. In what acts like a cheat but seems like a bug (a forgotten debug command?), you can press Shift and ] to grow almost any item you are holding in build mode to a seemingly limitless size. So we decided to push it as far as it could go and capture the results in a video—gnomes, toilets, computers, we made it all huge.
Maxis has been around for the better part of 30 years, during which time it's developed an awful lot of Sim-stuff, from SimCity to The Sims. Now it's working in something new, which based on a recently-posted job listing may be a free-to-play MMO.
I...what. OK. Max and O.B. off of Hollyoaks - sorry, the dearly departed Max and O.B. off of Hollyoaks - turn up to present this latest Sims 4 trailer, which must surely be the greatest crossover since Batman met Peanut Butter all those many years ago. If you've never seen Hollyoaks, congratulations! Also, this video is mostly Sims 4 producer Graham Nardone talking about things. Things like: how your Sims will interact with each other, particularly when they're in a group.
The Sims 4 was just shown off at EA's Gamescom presentation by Maxis' Rachel Franklin, and emotions appear to be the order of the day. "From angry to flirty, from sad to happy, you can now explore the gamut of human emotions all within The Sims 4," Franklin said, showing a scene in which two sims competed for the affections of another. There was flirting, jealousy, anger - the only vital expression missing was 'Delight At Seeing An Amusing Cat GIF', but that can always be added in a patch. The Sims 4 is out in 2014 - stick around for a gameplay trailer.
After five years of The Sims 3, Maxis is stepping up a generation with The Sims 4. It was announced earlier this month, and it's due out next year. Details are still very thin on the ground, aside from the fact that it will be possible to play it offline. But what do we want to see from the next step in life simulation/digital psychopathery? We have a few ideas...
Will Wright—creator of the SimCity series, The Sims, and other assorted explorations of simmery—abandoned his work in video games a few years ago, leaving his babies in the hands of EA. But how well are EA performing as adoptive parents? While Wright generally praises the mega-corporation for the way they've nurtured his unique concepts, he apparently felt the same way about SimCity's always-online DRM that the rest of us did, calling the initial unplayability at launch "inexcusable." Oh, and according to Wright, the games industry as a whole is not fulfilling its potential, either.
If you walk into New York's Museum of Modern Art in the near future, you might discover that its curators have taken a stance on the issue of "Are games art?" And that stance, it seems, is "Yes." Fourteen games including player-driven space MMO EVE Online, perplexing puzzle shooter Portal, and ASCII graphics-based breakdown of civilization simulator Dwarf Fortress will serve as "the seedbed for an initial wish list of about 40 to be acquired in the near future, as well as for a new category of artworks in MoMA’s collection that we hope will grow in the future."
Over the years, The Sims games transformed from a meta-life experience into a stage for my inner Jigsaw to enact elaborate deathtraps. All the classics made an appearance: disappearing bathroom toilet, disappearing pool ladder, and a slowly shrinking doorless room, all spiraling my Sims into a miserable pile of urine-soaked madness. And as an explanatory article in The Sims Official Magazine reveals, my torturous tendencies aren't alone.
Games savant Will Wright has spoken to VentureBeat about his upcoming game, HiveMind. The SimCity, Sims and Spore creator hasn’t gone into a huge amount of detail on the game, but it sounds equally sinister and fascinating.
"[HiveMind will] learn about you and your routines and incorporate that into a form of game play,” Wright said. It seems to be aimed at the Facebook and mobile gaming crowd - although platform details haven’t been released yet.
HiveMind sounds a touch Googley in its approach, picking up your routines and locations and building up a profile based on what you do, and where. “It is about how we make reality more interesting to you,” Wright said, but then failed to offer any further information.
Tim gave us his verdict on EA's E3 press conferences yesterday, but he used boring words without any flashing pictures or explosions. He's rectified that now, having sent us this missive across the ocean, direct from the show floor. Inside, he explains the games of most interest to PC gamers, shows snippets of video for people too sensible to watch the entire two hours of grandstanding, and looks very, very sleepy.
BAFTA have been supporting computer games for years, but they're now making efforts to expand their membership and visibility into America. Which is weird, for an organisation with "British Academy of" in its name.
But their first step is a series of profiles called A Life In Pixels, looking at some of the people most important to the development of videogames. The first, with Will Wright, just took place at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood this Sunday evening. I was there, listening to creator of SimCity, The Sims and Spore talk about the power of obsession, the wisdom of ants, his love of hard science fiction, and just a single hint on what his next game project might be. Read on for a full report.
Once upon a time, there was a game called The Sims Medieval. Set in a picturesque fantasy kingdom of kings, knights and wizards, Medieval told many a charming and off-the-wall humorous tale of its people and their lives. It’s just that there wasn’t much game to it.
EA just took the wraps off of a new Sims game set in the olden days of swords and sorcery. It's not an expansion to The Sims 3 that transplants your suburban pet people into fantasy land, but it's own stand-alone thing with kings, castles, knights, wizards, quests and more. We'll have a full preview coming in the upcoming issue of PC Gamer, so keep an eye out.
Click the jump to see the first batch of screenshots.
This is from a job description on EA's job listing site: "Maxis is seeking an experienced Development Director to lead the development of an unannounced next-generation Online simulation game." Ladies and gentlemen, either EA have gone insane and they're doing The Sims Online again, or they're doing a browser based Sims thing that may or may not end up on Facebook. EA have already had some success with Lord of Ultima in the free-to-play browser game area, certainly. The job listing is here.
[Superannuation via Evil Avatar]