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Sim-Dud? 355

Posted by michael
from the simulated-profits dept.
Lumpish Scholar writes ""The Sims Online" was one of the most anticipated releases of 2002; but (according to this Los Angeles Times story in the Baltimore Sun, "'The Sims Online' sold 105,000 copies, or only about a quarter of the initial shipment in December," and (as quoted in this article in the New York Times), "the company's president, John S. Riccitiello, said the number of subscribers was half what Electronic Arts expected." (Check out Google News for more articles, and a registration-free partner link to the New York Times story.) Meanwhile, the game's customer reviews at Amazon.com have an average rating of only two (out of five) stars."
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Sim-Dud?

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  • by anon*127.0.0.1 (637224) <slashdot&baudkarma,com> on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:12PM (#5232461) Journal
    You probably had a real life. No need for a simulated one, then.
  • Sim the sim (Score:5, Funny)

    by anicklin (244316) <slashdot@nicklBLUEin.info minus berry> on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:12PM (#5232464) Homepage
    Maybe they should have simulated the release of the game in The Sims to see what the outcome would have been. :-)
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:14PM (#5232485) Homepage Journal
    When I told him about "The Sims":

    "Great, a simulated life for people with no real life."

    Kinda summed it all up right then and there.
  • by Coward the Anonymous (584745) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:14PM (#5232486)
    was I the ONLY one who never played the darn thing in the first place?

    Apparently it's just you and me.
  • by egg troll (515396) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:17PM (#5232528) Homepage Journal
    This article is taken from this site [blogspot.com]. Perhaps this explains its failure to achieve success in our Capitalist society? :)

    Until December Stalin's dream of socialism in one country had only been realized in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Late last year the theory took off, spreading into heretofore undiscovered nations named Alphaville, Calvin's Creek, Interhogan and Mount Fuji.

    The Sims are now online. It's not just an irritating commercial.

    The Sims, in its offline version, is an amusing little simulation of life in which you get to be the star, meeting new digital people, improving yourself and your job, accumulating wealth and a family, building a home and eventually a small community. If you always wanted to be an astronaut with a movie star wife and two kids, you can here. It was pokemon for adults, elegant and surprisingly fun. It's the best-selling video game of all time.

    The online version is superficially similar. It looks the same, it sounds the same, it has neighborhoods, housebuilding, social interaction, and skills to improve. But it also has . . . other people. There's where the problems start.

    The Sims is a solipsist's game. It has no multiplayer component and needs none, because the "people" who make up the game are really objects, to be moved around at will and cast in a story the player writes. With thousands of other people, some things (chattting, social interaction moves) have been gained, but more has been lost. With a crowd comes a need for the game's creators to control people, and the result is a collectivist's dream. But the Sims Online proves that socialism doesn't work.

    Want proof that the Simcity flag is red? Try this: In the Sims Online, your Sim spends her entire life in one city. She is never allowed to leave it. While the promise of building a home is given with one hand, it is taken away with the other. Your Sim starts with a pathetic amount of cash and no ready means of acquiring more. If she builds, her home will be a postage-stamp sized hovel, with insufficient space, poor lighting, no entertainment, bad food, inadequate plumbing, cheap furniture (and not much of it), and little means for the Sim to grow her skills to improve her lot. To have a nice home, she must join a collective. She has to squat on a vacant lot with up to 7 strangers, and only then will the State provide sufficient land on which to build, and enough money pooled to build something worthwhile. If the Sim ever tries to escape this collective, she must leave her investments behind.

    You never see a child here. The nuclear family is dead. Online Sims seem to be grown in vats a la Brave New World or The Matrix. They enter the game as fully formed adults. Fully formed in body, but not in mind. Most of these vat-grown Sims are bred to be idiots (perfect proles for the all-powerful state), unable to make adult conversation. My Sim has searched the city for a commons where intelligent discussions can be had, and came up dry in all but two places. But if you want witty banter like "i think U R hot!" or "This place is gay!" or "sucky my meat!" well, you're in luck. In the Sims Online, spelling classes are taught by Prince, and conversational style is dictated by Cartman.

    The economy is a basket case. The money, called by the dubious name of simoleans, is worthless. It can't be converted to dollars any hard currency, and there's not much on which it can be spent (a lot of the objects from the original Sims aren't here yet).

    There are no real jobs. Where offline Sims could climb the ladder from office boy to mogul of finance, their online cousins are given makework jobs no different from digging and filling holes. To earn their keep they have to carve wooden gnomes, paint portraits of purple zombie women, make telemarketing calls, bake pizza after pizza, solve pointless codes, or bash open pinatas for no apparent reason. Once again, the collective is the model. Sims get more money for carrying out these degrading tasks together. It's not uncommon to see a dozen Sims at identical workstations, filling jar after jar with apple jelly that no one will ever eat. This "cottage industry" model was tried during the Great Leap Forward, when millions of Chinese peasants were ordered to smelt steel in backyard furnaces. The result, as in the Sims Online, was a vast national effort to produce piles of useless scrap.

    There is no rule of law, but Sims cannot defend themselves. They are a disarmed populace who cannot own guns. A Sim who builds his "body" skill can bully other Sims mercilessly, performing "piledriver" after "piledriver" on his smarter but scrawnier peers. The victims of these steroid-monsters cannot call on courts or police, as they are unreliable and never respond. The only choice is to run away and be cornered, or to leave the property. It's no wonder there are houses full of Sims working on Nautilus machines in team exercise drills. It took Colonel Colt to make all men equal, but he never heard of Simcity.

    Finally, the government endlessly promises that our sacrifices will be rewarded in the future, but it never delivers in the present. The game's creators issue pronouncements that in the future we will have casinos, more land and bigger lots, better clothes, and new ways to enjoy ourselves. But in the here and now, we must continue with mass gnome-carving, collective bodybuilding, and living with strangers in cramped quarters, lest utopia never come.
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:19PM (#5232549) Homepage Journal
    You are not the only one, I never saw the point in playing it. Now mix Diablo and The Sims, then you might get me to play it.
  • by Kibo (256105) <naw#gmail. c o m> on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:22PM (#5232582) Homepage
    The greatest joy a man could have is victory; to conquer one's enemies armies, to pursue them, to deprive them of their possessions, to reduce their famillies to tears, to ride their horses, and to make love their wives and daughters.


    How do you kill people and steal all their stuff in the Sims online again?
  • by First_In_Hell (549585) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:22PM (#5232591) Homepage
    "Deer Hunter" comes pre-installed on computers? God help us all.
  • by efatapo (567889) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:23PM (#5232598) Homepage
    When I told him about "The Sims":
    "Great, a simulated life for people with no real life."


    Kind of like an animated form of the slashdot community...
  • by The Notorious ASP (628859) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:24PM (#5232605) Journal
    The directors of the firm hired to continue the marketing after the other people had been sacked, wish it to be known that they have just been sacked. The marketing has now been completed in an entirely different style at great expense and at the last minute.
  • by NetMagi (547135) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:27PM (#5232637)
    AUP's and "End User Agreements" scroll slowly across the screen . . . .
  • by The AtomicPunk (450829) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:27PM (#5232638)
    You must be one seriously boring dude. :)
  • by Otter (3800) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:30PM (#5232668) Journal
    Meanwhile, the game's customer reviews at Amazon.com have an average rating of only two (out of five) stars.

    Given that "death by Ebola virus" would probably average two stars in Amazon reviews, that's not very promising.

  • by WileyWiggins (622087) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:34PM (#5232698) Homepage
    Maxis managed to take the few things that were fun about the original game, (customizability, being able to wreak havok with a large group of Sims 'lives'), and remove any trace of them from the Sims online. A game where you have to spend days of real-world time doing telemarketing and making pizzas to try and save up to buy a virtual refrigerator? This game isn't just dumb or boring, it's sadistic.
  • by Duds (100634) <dudley@enterspac ... g minus math_god> on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:45PM (#5232792) Homepage Journal
    And I can even get laid in the real world!

    How? ;)
  • by La Temperanza (638530) <[temperanza] [at] [softhome.net]> on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @01:47PM (#5232819)
    is an expansion pack with 50 brand new ways to torture and kill your Sims when you get bored of them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @02:04PM (#5232943)
    Seriously...

    Where's the ability to pull a crime spree. (Grand theft auto expansion pack coming 2005) And the trial for the crime spree you've committed (Justice expansion pack coming 2006). Maybe after you finally get out of jail, you'll join the army (AmericasArmy expansion pack coming 2007), then come back home, leaving the wild life(leisure suite larry expansion pack), to your loving wife and adoring kids (TSO base program).

    Ahh EA challenge everything...
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @02:44PM (#5233351) Homepage
    That's realistic. I've been involved in local politics for years, and all those experiences sound familiar.
  • by Autonymous Toaster (646656) on Wednesday February 05, 2003 @09:21PM (#5237132) Homepage

    I mean you simulate a guy making toast,

    Did someone say something about toast?

    I haven't played, but this sounds like an excellent game to me.

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