Letting your Sims free-roam can be just as exciting as controlling every aspect of their lives.
When most gamers think of the hit video game franchise The Sims 3, the notion of playing God is not a foreign concept. The Sims 3 is basically a game where you can build a neighborhood of your own and control almost everything that happens. If you’re not familiar with this game, then think of films like The Truman Show or Adjustment Bureau just to get an idea of it.
You have the power to map out the entire lives of every Sim in your neighborhood. What their job is and who they start a family with is ultimately your choice. With free will on, they can deviate and make decisions of their own but anything you don’t approve off can be easily rectified. There’s even the option to shut off their free will entirely. I have played The Sims 3 this way for the longest time.
The game made me feel like a virtual GodThe game made me feel like a virtual God, but somehow I got tired of being in complete control all the time. There wasn’t much surprise in my game since I pretty much know what’s going to happen since I’ve mapped everything out and I can manipulate any unwanted circumstance. It made no sense giving my Sims personalities. It didn’t matter because I could pretty much override it even if it conflicted the principles they were programmed with.
The Sims 3 gives you the ability to set your Sims free will on ‘high.’ The game added in the feature called ‘Story Progression’ and it enables Sims outside your household to age and make important life decisions without your consent. It was heavy risk since I’ve already paved the way for my Sim to become a film director and planned to marry him off with another female Sim in the neighborhood.
Turning on these features would shake up my plans, but I was excited at the same time. It was intriguing to see what my Sims would do when I left them to their own devices. I’ve given them a personality and lifetime wants. It makes me wonder if they would choose and act the same way I controlled them or would they do things radically different?
There were a lot of surprises to say the least. One time I couldn’t find this female Sim that I played in the house that I put her in. Later on, I finally found her in another man’s house happily married. The last time I played her she was still single and I was thinking about pairing her with someone else. However, the best experience I’ve had with free will and story progression on would have to be with one particular family.
I raised Chip since he was still a child and I had his whole life planned out for him. You know, get married to his childhood love and have a child. Happily ever after! This was a cycle I repeated maybe more than ten times and it was getting pretty stale fast. Anyway, I noticed that he and his girlfriend’s sister Lucia kept flirting with each other even if I wasn’t telling them to do so. In fact, he and his girlfriend never did that autonomously.
Strangely enough, I discovered that Chip and Lucia were compatible based on their zodiac signs. I decided to try something new and simply follow the wishes and desires of my Sims with me acting as a mere enabler. Consequently, Chip and Lucia got married but not without any drama. They kept wishing for more kids, so I obliged and let them have twins. On top of that, Lucia had a midlife crisis and wished for a divorce. Don’t worry, they eventually got back together but boy was that so different from the suburban bliss I initially planned. Nothing prepared me for what would happen next though.
The Sims 3 becomes more than just a game, it becomes a human experience.
While I was playing another household, I got a prompt telling me that Chip played died in a fire. He left a widow and two children by the time he died. I had such a hard time (I didn’t use cheats as a part of my No God Mode experiment). Sure, they had a considerable amount of money but it was hard taking care of two children. Eventually, she did it and raised two young adults with pleasing personalities. If you don’t raise them well, a random personality trait is assigned and it is usually negative.
This was truly a whirlwind romance and a far cry from the predictable stability I used to have. Do I regret it? Hell no. It might not have been a perfect play through, but I appreciated my Sims more because I felt not only their joys but their heartbreaks. It wasn’t as easy for me to kill or delete a Sim because I invested my time and effort into their lives.
On another note, it was fun not to expect what would happen next because I let my Sims and the game take control as well. In a way it feels less like a game and more like life itself complete with happiness, heartbreak, and spontaneity. Some people might play games like The Sims 3 to make perfect versions of their lives. However, I choose to play the game as a way to recreate the wonderful and bittersweet surprises life brings us. The Sims 3 becomes more than just a game, it becomes a human experience.
Yesika Reyes is Gamemoir’s co-editor, and a regular contributor to Unreality Magazine. You can follow her on Twitter at @cdrbedlam, check her personal blog Commander Bedlam, or shoot her an email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buy The Sims 3 or pre-order The Sims 3: Into the Future from Amazon.com now.
- Sims 3 : What I do ! (asiyahrollins.wordpress.com)
- The Sims 3 goes back … back to the future (joystiq.com)