A decade on, 'The Sims' is a cult game in India

11th May 2010
A decade on, 'The Sims'   is a cult  game in India

The world’s biggest-selling PC game just turned ten – and there’s still no winner! You can play indefinitely -- as many of over 125 million buyers have done since early 2000 -- creating their own community of simulated characters, turning them into heroes or heels, carving out their entire life patterns and careers—and seeing them win, lose or fall by the wayside.

‘The Sims’ is a strategic life simulation video game, which cannily anticipated the coming wave of Internet-driven social networking. At start-up, the game offers as few pre-made characters as well as the three life states, baby (optional), child and adult. One can create entire families, build houses for them, set their daily agendas, see them through sickness and health ( medical and financial!) and choose the career paths of individuals…. in short the ultimate wish fulfillment – albeit virtual.

In the years since it was first launched, “The Sims” has seen three editions and and numerous ‘expansions’ each creating a lively new ‘maidan’ or locale. The last -- Sims3: World Adventures -- allows players to transport their characters to France, China or Egypt and put them through experiences like climbing the Pyramids, learning martial arts – or making nectar.

Due in June this year, is the next expansion: ‘Ambitions’, a career-based game play. where the options include fire fighter, private detective, architect – or tattoo artist! You can ‘create’ a scientist and decide if he is to be a billionaire inventor or a bumbling ‘absent minded professor’

A game with no winners or losers ( purists say, this is not really a game at all, but a virtual toy), is an unlikely candidate for mass appeal. Yet ‘The Sims’ has become a cult ‘time pass’ with dedicated pages at Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

The Sims has always been available only as a PC-based game – either as a direct download or on a DVD, for Windows or Mac machines. There are 32 add-ons or variants and the price in India ranges from Rs 999 for the basic game and Rs 400 – Rs 600 for the expansion software ( full Indian rupee catalogue at http://www.electronicarts.in/  ).

A version for the iPhone and other mobile platforms has also been released and is available on respective phone ‘app’ sites. There are indications that before year end it will finally come to games consoles like PlayStation and Xbox 360. -- Anand Parthasarathy

This review also appears in the current,  May 16, edition of The Week magazine in India.

May 11 2010