The Cycle of Games

Tanya brought up The Sims 2 and how she never gets around to playing it, despite wanting to.  I have the same game and have been a huge Sims fan since the decade began.  And I’ve realized something.  The Sims is crazy addictive but that addictiveness (usually) passes after a short while.  I’ll explain this in stages.  This can also be applied to any video game you have ever bought.

Stage 1:  Exposure.  The Sims has crazy appeal.  Who doesn’t want to create themselves or other people they know and control their lives?  Imagine you’re picked on by someone four times your size in school.  Instead of shooting them up in real life, you can just create them in The Sims, fence them in, and watch as they slowly piss themselves and starve to death.  Or have them try to cook a meal without any cooking skill, which starts a fire and they burn to death.  That’ll teach you to pick on me!

…Sorry.  Anyway, the point was The Sims has an extreme casual appeal.  People see it, they want to play it and they get hooked!  This leads to stage 2…

Stage 2:  Addiction.  A game with tons of appeal is going to be addicting.  People want to play it and that’s all they want to do.  Oddly enough, this is the path most games take.  They have something a buyer is interested, than the player devotes time to playing the game.  Gamers will spend more time on some games than others.  World of Warcraft has been out since 2004 and people who bought it opening day are still playing it!

The Sims isn’t nearly as addicting as WoW, but it will sap away a few hours of a day if given a chance.  I remember playing The Sims for the first time.  It’s all I wanted to do.  Create sims, run their lives, and when I got bored, start anew.  If I got bored making people, I could also make downtown lots or vacation spots.  Of course, when people get tired of a game, this leads to…

Stage 3:  Abandonment.  Once a game is beaten, there’s little left to do with it.  Sure, there’s probably an unlockable or set of collectibles (find x amount of these hidden throughout the game) but people are still playing through the same game over again.  Multiplayer expands a game’s lifespan but eventually, people move on to newer titles and the servers get discontinued.

With The Sims, this stage comes rather abruptly.  People play the hell out of The Sims for a few weeks/months…and then stop.  They don’t touch the game again until another expansion.  I don’t know why this happens like this.  Some theorize it’s because of the game design.  Once the player reaches the top of a career path (or wherever they want their sim to be), what else is there?  I don’t buy that theory because they can always start another family and repeat the cycle…  I don’t know why I stopped playing.  I had a bunch of created sims in college (they’re about halfway through) and then…never bothered to load up the game again.


Thoughts on The Sims 3?  I remember being hyped for The Sims 2 and when I got it, realized they had taken out a bunch of features from the original game’s expansions.  No pets!?  It was like going back to the first game with better graphics.  The original game feels so limited without the expansions.  Why take them out?  Well, to make more money but still…

The Sims 3 will be the same way.  Features from the expansions that gamers have come to appreciate will be gone, only to be reintroduced in a later expansion.  I think I’ll wait for The Sims 3 Deluxe Edition or one of those bundles where you get everything in one box.

Scream, from my soul
Fate, mystified
Hell, forever more


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