I’ve mentioned before that I’m a bit of a Sims fan – although I’ve not played in ages. Lately I’ve been considering putting it on this computer – although I fear the computer is not quite up to the task of running it (my computer is currently throwing a fit every time I dare consider asking it to do more than one thing at the same time – sort of like my husband). But it got me thinking about the Sims and how it’s actually more than just a great game. I actually think the Sims could serve as a modern guide to life. In fact I’ll rashly go as far as to say that if we lived our lives the Sims way we wouldn’t go far wrong.
Ok what do I mean? Well consider the following:–
1. The Sims have three very basic needs-
You neglect any of these in the game at your peril. This is true of life. After all who wants to end up starving to death while at the same time feeling dreadfully exhausted and finding no one will sit next to you on the bus? In the game there are nice green bars to help you monitor your Sim’s needs in this area. Unfortunately we don’t come with these bars. But we do have their equivalent, namely hunger pains, body odors and uncontrollable yawning. Do not ignore these signals.
Let’s look at each in a bit more detail.
A Sim will not do much if it has free will & is hungry. In fact it gets rather stubborn. We don’t get to act in the same way in the real world. I’ve tried stomping my foot, waving angrily overhead and muttering gibberish in work when I’m peckish but they just threaten to dock my wages. But the real lesson is simply not to let the Sims or ourselves get to the point where we are so hungry we cannot think straight.
And it’s not enough just to eat. The Sims teaches us (although in fairness about a million diet & nutrition books tell us the same…but they’re far less fun with no whoohooing) that the quality of the food is important. Eat well & you have to eat less often. This is where good cooking skills come in. In the Sims this is matter of life and death. Anyone who plays knows that if a Sim cooks without any cooking skills they will have a fire & they will stand in that fire (no GTFO add-on here it seems). But high cooking skills also means better food – the relevance of this to us is obvious. It is false economy to shove crap down your throat (…wipes toast crumbs from lips before continuing) & if possible we should try to improve our cooking skills & at the very least – if it all goes badly wrong – move out of the way of the flames.
Sims do not like to smell. And other Sims do not like to be around Sims who smell. So you need to ensure they bath/shower regularly. The better the quality shower & bath (i.e. the more expensive) the better the hygiene rating. Indeed generally in the Sims quality items (which equate to costly items) get the job done better (i.e. quicker). This is good because it means there is more time to spend on doing other things (see Fun below). Yes this is the Sims equivalent of enjoying the benefits labour saving devices brought to our ancestors. Now not all of us can afford expensive high powered showers (mine is attached to my taps & for some reason I constantly aim wrong, miss my hair & soak the wall), but you do what you can. And we all feel better after a nice bath or shower (unless you’re me & you have a wall to wipe down). Certainly we all smell better and this makes us better people to be around (none of our colleagues will feel the need to leave a bottle of deodorant on our desks with a “Please use me for the love of God ” accompanying note).
Again Sims will not do much if they are exhausted. They are the wise ones. In real life we all push ourselves far too hard. So think Sim when you’re next asked to do something and you’re tired. If thinking Sim isn’t enough act Sim by collapsing in a heap on the floor, snoring gently while a lullaby magically plays overhead. Your boss will get the point (& you might get the boot – but you’ll have caught up on some much needed shut eye).
Ok – so that’s Eating, Bathing & Sleeping. But beyond these basic needs you have others that should also be satisfied. For example:-
Another green bar for this. For many Sims this is a primal life force in itself. I’ve had Sims refuse to do anything unless their fun bar was completely full. Such self indulgence can leave those of us with a rather Calvinistic work ethic completely astounded but there you go – maybe we could learn a thing or two from these unapologetic self indulgent Sims.
The computer is usually the most efficient way to drive up the fun bar - in Sims world & in life. A quick injection of a mindless game (*cough* WoW *cough*) & your Sim is usually in happy land (like us all). But creative Sims will get the same fun out of playing music, painting or writing; logical Sims out of playing chess or taunting aliens via the telescope; lazy Sims out of watching TV etc. The lesson is – pleasure is an individual thing, find your pleasure point and stroke it (oh did I really say that…).
(b)Socialising - again some Sims need this more than others. One of my Sim’s used to have a breakdown if she didn’t speak to someone at least once a day. This was so the opposite of me I found her impossible to play – I could not identify with her (whereas my male Sim who got abducted by an alien and then gave birth to twins was virtually living my life).
The computer is again the answer to your prayers here – for the Sim & in real life. You can socialise via Twitter, Facebook & chat, but no one outstays their welcome & you don’t have to provide nibbles. Perfect.
So there you have it – The Sims priorities which, if we prioritised them too, would surely leave us happy, well balanced & fulfilled. I’m certain of it. Sort of. But there are some aspects of Sim behaviour you would want to avoid. For example do not do the following:-
-Haunt your son – it’s not very nice & could cause his new wife to collapse in terror. This happened to one of my Sim couples. It placed a strain on the marriage it must be said.
-Fail to clean up after yourself thus causing an infestation of cockroaches which in turn will lead to a life long insect phobia and recurring flashbacks whenever your mood is a little low. Don’t be that Sim. Wash your dishes.
-Whoohoo with son’s partner (in a hot tub too) – tut tut
-Play poker non-stop for a full 24 hours while all around goes to rack & ruin. The only thing in the defence of the Sims who did this was that the entire family was involved so it was rather bonding.
-Invite the headmaster around but have a breakdown as soon as he enters the house & refuse to do a thing no matter how hard your lovely player clicks the mouse.
-Leave baby on floor, forget to feed baby, refuse to teach baby (now toddler) how to talk (because your entertainment bar is red & of course you’re well within your rights to neglect your child when that happens), then fail to ensure child does homework & finally fail to get child into good school (by failing to successfully schmooze headmaster as per above). This all took place in one of my dysfunctional Sim households because I insist on playing at full speed (that’s how I roll baby) and kept losing control (that’s how I fall baby). Poor neglected child. He was the one who then grew up to be traumatised by cockroaches, haunted by dead parents & then in the twilight years of his life whoohooed with son’s partner. Can’t really blame him when you look at the start he had in life.
But - but – all that said – I still think the Sims offers a good balanced approach to life.
Just remember to avoid cockroaches, day long poker sessions & inappropriate whoohooing in hot tubs.