At least that’s what I’d have people believe when I put my best foot forward in this blog. The truth is, I crave mindless distractions like a boozer drooling on a frosty cooler of Budweiser. One of my current favorite escapes is The Sims 3.
EA’s first inceptions of The Sims games came out when I was in my 20s. In those early games, you couldn’t control your Sims away from their homes. At home, they wouldn’t do anything on their own. If you weren’t paying enough attention to their needs to notice their “bathroom” bar going up, they pissed their pants.
Today, the game-play and graphics are much more realistic. Back in the old school days, Sims were either thin or had little pooches that looked like beer guts. Today, they come in the same range of shapes and sizes as real people. If you want, you can make a Sim whose booty need its own zip code. Personalities and relationships are much more complex, and they’ll usually pee on their own. Your Sims can visit other Sims and run all over town while under your control. You can even govern how they act at work.
I hadn’t played the Sims in years. The truth is, even though the early games were rudimentary, they sucked me in like a steamy cowpie does a fly. I spent way too much time yelling at little computer people for peeing their pants or trying to get them not to throw hissy fits if their wife hugged a neighbor. Eventually, the novelty wore off and my games sat unused. When my computer went kaput, I didn’t bother to upload the Sims on its replacement.
This fall, I started fondly remembering how much I used to enjoy The Sims. As a bribe, I promised myself I could check out the Sims 3 when I finished writing my book. When the game arrived, I was in for a surprise. While I’ve been busy becoming a writer, the Sims have been growing up too.
Even with all the advancements, it amazes me how this silly little game is such a fun stress relief tool for me. What is it about making sure these little computer people go to work, earn money, pay their bills, advance in their careers, get enough exercise, eat, and maintain healthy relationships that helps me unwind? I mean, isn’t that the same damn shit that stresses me out in real life?
Hmmm … maybe that’s the whole point.
1. In real life, the higher you advance in your career, the more hours you have to put in. For Sims, things are just the opposite. For example, one of my Sim chicks is a news anchor. She works four days a week from 8am-noon. Only by playing the Sims will my broke ass ever experience a 16 hour workweek that pays all the bills.
2. Sims get paid every day that they work, and they get paid damn well once you move them up the ladder. For example, my anchor girl makes 7oo-and-something dollars an hour. So after her 4-hour shift, a little bubble pops up that says “News Anchor Chickie brought home 2,800-plus today!”
If that ever happened to me in real life, I’d pee my pants so fast that you’d think I was an old-school Sim.
3. Forget all this daily workout crap. A Sim can avoid exercise forever, then do jumping jacks in front of her TV for a little while and suddenly be so fit and strong that local gyms are calling her up to participate in athletic contests.
4. My writer Sim can peck away at her keyboard for one day, and have a finished book. She gets a little cranky, but she can do it. She has currently written 10 books to my one. And the bitch is already collecting royalties.
5. Pregnancy is a 3-day deal in Sim-land. If real-life pregnancy had only required that short of a caffeine hiatus, I might have considered reproducing.
6. Sims who accomplish things that make them happy get “lifetime reward points.” You can cash in these points to buy your Sims “helpers” that will improve their lives. For example, one of my flirty Sims got a bad reputation as a cheatin’ hoseweasel. Cashing in her points for the “clean slate” helper erased her bad rap and now everyone wants to date her again. Let’s face it, we all have friends who could use that kind of help in real life!
Yep, Sims have gotten smarter and more entertaining over the years. But the bottom line for me is that there is nowhere else I can have a mini-me who makes gobs of money working 12 hours a week, writes best-sellers in a day, and every now and then goes “oh damn, I’m getting fat. Let me go run on the treadmill for 2 hours to fix that.”
Oh, and in real life, I’ll probably never be able to afford a maid, either.