BONUS CONTENT: Looking Back at The Sims (PC)

“Uhh shamoo ralla poo”

The sims

Can you believe The Sims has now existed for 21 years now? I surely can. The Sims was a game that I put in a fair amount of my teenage years being the somewhat of a social outcast I was. I thought with the original game now old enough to drink in the US it would be a good time to look back and reminisce about a simpler time.

The Sims was brought to us by Will Wright and his crew at Maxis & published by EA (before they became evil personified). For those who aren’t aware of the original PC meth addiction (pre World of Warcraft) The Sims allowed you to create and live your own little slice of suburban SimCity. You send your Sims to work or school, feed them pizza, put them to bed, bathe them, set them on fire and drown them. A typical Thursday. As your Sims worked, got promoted and made money you could improve their living conditions give them better shinier gadgets before they shuffle off to the grave.

When The Sims was released in 2001 it was an instant hit with a lot of different gaming demographics. From casual gamers to hard-core gamers, it seemed everyone was playing The Sims. I think it’s popularity lied with it’s simplicity to play. Anyone could sit down in front of a computer and pick up the game quite easily because of it’s simple aesthetics and ease of use. I too was drawn in by the simple charm of The Sims. My enjoyment continued into The Sims 2 as well, although by the time that The Sims 3 came around both me and the series had grown apart, becoming different from the people we once were.

It was about this time that EA’s corporate greed and contempt for humanity started to show. It seemed where most series would expand and incorporate new features. The Sims in contrast did the opposite, narrowed it’s field of household objects and creation tools. All in the name of packaging it up into DLC packs and charge the same price as the core game EACH!!! I wouldn’t mind it so much if there was 4-5 DLC packs but the sheer number of DLC packs is mind boggling. The Sims had 7 DLC’s, The Sims 2 had 18 (8 Expansions & 10 Stuff Packs), The Sims 3 had 20 (11 Expansions & 9 Stuff Packs). The Sims 4 currently has 37 (10 Expansions, 9 Game Packs & 18 Stuff Packs) with more still being released. So I’ve done the maths (so you don’t have to) and to buy The Sims 4 and all of it’s DLC’s at full price it would cost you over £600 for the privilege.

The Sims and to some extent The Sims 2 are a reminder of a time when EA actually wanted to market games that entertain and spread enjoyment. Although I can’t help but think that The Sims as a series is a victim of it’s own success. Maybe if the The Sims & The Sims 2 weren’t as popular as they were and made as much money as they did in DLC’s then EA wouldn’t try and ring as much money out of their clientele as humanly possible without resorting to muggings.

I’m sorry if you read this expecting a nostalgic return to a game that was much loved and was well deserving of that love and instead got a hate speech on the evils of EA. Although I do have a lot more to say about EA I’ll wait and dedicate a whole piece to them.

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BONUS CONTENT: Dungeons and Dragons and My New Perspective on Baldur’s Gate 2.

Despite the disadvantages that a global pandemic has on interacting with new people, I have been getting into Dungeons & Dragons. I have played a few sessions, even playing as Dungeon Master on some occasions and I have revelled in the experience, but what was I to do in the periods between? This is what drove me to revisiting Baldur’s Gate 2.

Baldur’s Gate 2 starts with the hero of the pervious game and a few companions captured by the elven mage Jon Irenicus in order to use his powers as a Bhaalspawn (A child of the God of Murder) for his own evil deeds. The player and his party must escape from Irenicus’s clutches and stop his horrible doings. Although between these two point a vast amount or very little can happen depending on the players actions.

I’ve never played the first Baldur’s Gate, opting to jump straight into the second instalment. I believe I first played Baldur’s Gate 2 in 2008/9 and I must admit I struggled in getting to grasps with the games lore and mechanics since I came in all fresh faced and bushy tailed. Although now coming back to it after a few D&D sessions I have a much clearer picture of the world and it’s workings (I originally didn’t get what the whole d4, d6, etc. thing was, I do now). To be fair I have been playing the Enhanced Edition recently which does have a few extra bits but for the most part it’s the same game.

My time learning how to play D&D has been a revelation in regards to my experience with Baldur’s Gate 2. The extra background knowledge meant I could properly tweak each party member to use specific gear and properly strategies combat so was no longer relying on blind luck and determination to get me through the game, this in term gave me a greater respect and appreciation of the game which is more than deserving of the critical acclaim it got at release all those years ago. The world is massive with so many side quests to do and different people to meet. The story is a true epic and with the Enhanced Editions graphical upgrade it doesn’t feel all that old despite turning 20 this year.

I’d defiantly call it a must play for any D&D or Western RPG fan, although since it has been out for the last 20 years I can imagine all D&D & Western RPG fans have already played it. It certainly makes me more excited about Baldur’s Gate 3 which has been on Early Access on Steam for a while now but at £50 for a game that’s not complete yet, it’s still a bit rich for my blood.