Trying to not fall down “The Sims 2” rabbit hole, out of time and space…

In general, I’m not much of a computer game person. I’ll play on the PlayStation we (supposedly) bought for Will for his birthday once in a while (I like the driving games), and I really enjoyed playing SimGolf for a few months. But I don’t really like “first person shooter” games because I just find the idea of shooting anything that moves to be both troubling and boring.

The one game I did like when it finally came out for the Mac was “The Sims.” I liked that a lot, bought a lot the expansions of the game (“Livin’ Large,” “Hot Date,” “Superstar,” etc.), and for a while, I played it through the night when I should have been doing other things like sleeping. So of course, despite the fact that I am a very busy academic worker bee right now, I had to buy The Sims 2, and I am fighting the urge to get sucked down that rabbit hole where I lose all track of time and events in the real world.

So far, so good. For one thing, the only windoze PC in the house is Will’s, and I can’t really throw him off of it to play this thing. I’m getting ready to go play golf this morning, and yesterday morning, I rented a roto-tiller and spent quite a bit of time working the maching over most of the garden (we’re working on a “backyard reconfiguration” project).

On the other hand, I was up until 2 am on Thursday playing with it, I have been mindful of the clock when playing it the last couple of nights (because you do lose track of time and space…), and I would be playing it right now if Will wasn’t on his computer.

I am just figuring out how the thing works, and I’m sure I will write a whole lot more on this later on, but a couple of quick thoughts:

* Despite the fact that Will’s Dell computer is just over a year old, has a Pentium 4 2.2 Gig MHZ processor with 512 MB of RAM, this game runs slow, sometimes painfully PAINFULLY slow, especially if you’ve got a bunch of people (“Sims”) running around trying to do stuff at the same time. I browse through magazines while waiting for some stuff to load.

* My favorite part of the game now is the same as it was before: the “architectual” simulation aspects of it. This new one allows you to build even more elaborate and cool houses.

* With the Sims 1, I generally cheated just about all the time– basically, by just giving my Sims as much money. But in the Sims 2, it seems like the motivation to cheat is quite a bit lower and, much like life itself, you can’t solve every problem by just throwing money at it.

* The concept of the Sims 2 is different in a way that I think will keep the game interesting for a lot longer. Sims are born, live, and (potentially, though I haven’t gotten to this point) die of old age, and they have “aspirations,” which are little goals you want to meet to keep ’em happy. Annette always asks “what’s the point?” with this game; this stuff gives it more of a point.

* Still, it’s kind of a stupid game, really. I feel a bit odd as a middle-aged man playing with what amounts to an electronic doll house. And it is also still this computer game where you can actually have your Sim characters playing a computer game, and it is the kind of game where you get really into watching your Sims washing the dishes and cleaning the house while your real dishes pile up in the sink.

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