Fans of any series are surely familiar with the excitement leading up to the release of a new installment, and likewise the concern that somehow, at some point, the developers will mess it up. Maybe it won't be as good as the previous games. Or maybe it will be a million times better. It's an emotional push-and-pull that many Sims fans are experiencing right now, but with an added layer almost unique to them.
Between the base game, the expansions, the stuff packs, the store content, the mods, and of course the sim lives created, every game in the series can be a tremendous investment of both time and money. And then the new game comes out, and you're back at square one. Even though it is a brand new game, even though the older game doesn't go anywhere, it still feels like (and is most often described as) a loss. It's a huge mental hurdle for many players to get over, and one that I personally struggled with when The Sims 3 came out back in 2009.
But this time around, I'm not. I'm actually, strangely enough, looking forward to losing it all. Here's why:
The Sims 3 is a mess. Well, to be more accurate, my Sims 3 is a mess. With every expansion, several stuff packs, a couple store neighbourhoods and honestly way more mods than even I need, it takes forever to load up and is prone to the most bizarre bugs. And crashes, of course. The Sims 3 is notoriously unstable the more you plug into it. And then there are the load times... Even when it's running smoothly, the game itself is sheer chaos. A simple trip to the grocery store can lead to werewolf fights and paparazzi snaps and a curse from a witch and a close encounter with an alien who's parked their space car just around the corner.
It's funny at first, but eventually it's just a frantic, frenetic mess -- and all I wanted was some milk and eggs.
In the lead up to The Sims 4's release I've gone back and uninstalled all my expansions for The Sims 3, and started playing again. I've been adding things back in, one at a time, giving myself a little more time to savour what each one adds to the game. There are a lot of things that make The Sims work on a fundamental level, and sometimes it seems like the more you pile on top of them, the harder they are to appreciate. There's just something about the very first time your sim pees on the floor, you know? Playing "clean" like this has actually been significantly more enjoyable than my experiences playing "fully loaded" were, and that's made me feel a lot more positive in regards to the upcoming sequel, including the mechanical changes (i.e. the new traits) they've made to simplify it.
It's a palate cleanser.
It's true that many of my favorite things to do in The Sims will no longer be available to me -- at least not for a few years. For example, projects like Sim Downton Abbey aren't impossible, but they just won't work as well as I would like until there is more content tailored towards certain time periods and aesthetics. I mean, if I'm making Lady Mary, I'm not putting her in jeggings. But as annoying as those limitations will be, I think it might be nice to have some time to enjoy the absolute core elements of the series again.
... Especially knowing that it's only temporary.Tweet
Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times, and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.