My brain is overloaded with the Sims 4 as we prepare to bring you Realm of Magic impressions early next week. I’ve been sitting in character creation for a total of three hours minimum over the entire day seeing if I can create an exotically refreshing sim that isn’t a predictable witch or wizard.
Yes, that’s right three hours. I’ve probably done that and more in some MMORPGs I’ve played and straight, not scattered throughout my afternoon and evening. However, over the years I’ve done so secretly admittedly embarrassed I get so much pleasure from dressing up every detail I can in a game.
I started online gaming in my 30’s after spraining my ankle that put me off work for 9 weeks. At the time I was dating someone who would see me every day except Sunday and Tuesday evenings because they were “raid days.” I had no interest in it and thought it was ridiculous, truth be told until I got bored out of my sprained ankle mind and he set me up a trial account to alleviate the tedium. One minute I was begrudgingly asking a million questions about World of Warcraft, next minute I was level 20 and bought the game – by the time I went back to work I was a max level holy priest already mapping out how to get gear so I too could raid on Sundays and Tuesdays.
Online gaming was good for my competitive, sporting nature encouraging a decade of hardcore raiding, PvPing and achievement hunting. It would be in the MMORPG Rift (8 years after my sprained ankle) where I was introduced to dimensions (housing) that my gaming mind was opened to another level of competitiveness – competing against myself and thinking beyond my own limitations. Rift dimensions encouraged my competitive side to build better than the last build, something new every time and start a gaming website specifically for dimensions. Now I was beginning to look at other games and yes I heard about the Sims but avoided it because every time someone mentioned THE Sims it would be followed by a snicker and a dramatic story of the X-rated content out there or something promoting it as a game JUST for children.
I wouldn’t play the Sims until last year (2018) when asked to review Sims 4: Seasons which I accepted with every intention of just getting it over and done with as quickly as I could. Starting the Sims when I did and why was the perfect introduction, all of a sudden I was in the Sims 4 “because of a review.” No need to feel any embarrassment I was just doing my job so I took my time and in that time my judgmental assumptions began to get turned upside down.
The Sims 4 has incredible character customization though I admit I spend more of my time trying NOT to create a sim that looks like an out of proportioned skeleton that’s had too much plastic surgery. If you are like me and do not use game modifications (mods) or custom content (cc) you spend a great deal of time also trying to create a sim that doesn’t look like any you already have which isn’t easy if you make them regularly.
At first, I barely paid attention to any of the events or interactions. That’s where it felt most awkward and conjured up all those old assumptions however after I killed my first sim lighting a fire, fixed my first leaking toilet, adopted a Chow-chow puppy and found out I could “motherlode” the crap out of my game whenever I wanted to along with many other legal cheats. After those small but significant kinds of details, I started to realize that the Sims 4 is whatever you make it and if anyone else chooses to create content that doesn’t suit me, it is nothing to do with me.
Now I look at gaming as a whole differently, giving myself the freedom to enjoy any game if I love the artwork and design which is very liberating. As someone who blossomed late to gaming and gaming culture these new realizations allow me to enjoy games I never had a chance to play before if I choose though I am unashamedly too busy building in the Sims 4 to take maximum advantage of that new found liberation. Too busy looking forward to endless possibilities I can enjoy and hope others do too via the gallery, my social media and here at Gamespace.