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Livin' With The Sims
theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

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Vol. 2, Issue 15
March 13, 2000

Livin' With the Sims

An article by theAntiELVIS


Is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?


arl Sphincter is sleeping. He was up at the crack of dawn to shower, dress, eat, and catch his ride to work at the Institute. He almost missed work this morning - just before going out the door he broke down, sobbing, overcome by his unbearable loneliness. But Earl has bills to pay, and a 'fridge to stock, and plans to enlarge his home. So squaring his shoulders and choking back his tears, Earl went out to greet the day.

I'm one of those freaks who enjoys shooting the Scientists in Half-Life - mostly just because I know I'm not supposed to. I used to build sprawling urban blight on purpose in SimCity and SimCity 2000, with integrated Crime Zones and Eternal Traffic Jams. Then I'd torch the whole lot and start over. So when I popped-open The Sims my first move was "let's see if this thing will let two mixed-race lesbians adopt kids". So I cover the whole demographic: a young white woman, hip-dresser with a bob and shades, meets older black woman in a sweater with gray hair. I build them a nice little bungalow. I furnish it well. I make sure they are well fed, amused, and clean. And not only do I not get that offer to adopt, these two just totally hate each other.

Six sleepless days and nights later, I have experimented with numerous permutations. A slovenly biker dude and a serious-minded career woman, one black and the other white. No dice. A paunchy balding middle manager, white, and a four-eyed nerd with a pocket protector, brown. Well, at least those two got along. Finally I went for the buff Ken doll lookalike, and a Barbie-esque beauty queen, both white, and guess what? They were falling in love and reproducing in no time. Likewise with a middle-aged small time crook, male, and a middle-aged librarian, female, and both black. Two Asians of similar age: ditto. A pattern began to emerge.

Turning to the manual, in the section entitled "Moving In" on page 56 we read "The Moving In proposition is…available only for same-sex friends. Opposite-sex friends never have Move In available…" Why not? On page 57 under "Marriage", it says: "Only opposite-sex relationships qualify for a proposal of marriage. Marriage is the only means to bring an opposite-sex character into the house to stay". Well, there is currently a controversy going on about same-sex marriages, so maybe Will Wright is just taking a stand here. I can even see a certain game-design reasoning to all this. These two rules control migration of characters through the homes in the neighborhood, and without pretty strict rules for this, you'd quickly end-up with 16 people living in a one-room studio. And I have discovered that with a lot of effort you can get same-sex couples to fall in love, although I still can't get the little schmoes to cross the race line…

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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Tinusch. This article is © 2000 theAntiELVIS. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. So don't do it, or we'll deport you.