A few weeks ago a podcast I’ve spoken about before in my blog, had a question of the week about what games people had skipped school to play. I the process of asking myself that question I was hit with several games and several instances, but one game that stuck out was The Sims. Now, I don’t mean The Sims as we now know the franchise today, but rather that first incarnation of the game back in 2000. Back before the crazy add-ons, cell phones, pet clothes, designer labels, Katy Perry DLC, and all the other crap Millennials ruined the game with in its most recent forms. I’m talking about its most base form, when the goal was to live day by day, work, come home, try to improve yourself, and just have a hell of a lot of fun doing it. Perhaps I made it sound boring, but as a person in their early 20’s, working, and going to school the game seemed to relate to me a lot. After all it was the video game odyssey of a young person setting off on their own, trying to make it, and become successful while attempeting to keep everything balanced in life including basic needs, and even relationships. The game had its un-realism’s like the fact that a career change only took a quick look in the newspaper and a phone call, or that all you needed to do to be promoted was study out of books in your own bookcase, but the heart of the game was about the journey, which hit home with those in their early 20’s at the time.
Of course without being too heartfelt, the game could be as fun as hell to play just for some of the trouble you could get into. Like naming a character after someone you didn’t like and walling them up somewhere, or inviting a neighbor over just to pick a fight, or on the flip side encouraging things romantically. Of course with that said it was sad to be playing The Sims on a Friday night trying to help your little Sim get lucky, and realizing that while that was happening… you where sitting at home alone on a Friday night playing The Sims trying to help your Sim get lucky (**tears of loneliness**). Of course the same year The Sims came out I would meet my future wife and introduce her to The Sims, so not so lonely after all. Of course we played it together through college, than had our first son, and suddenly The Sims wasn’t as fun anymore since we lived it.
By the end of the last decade The Sims had sequels as well as many, many add-on’s and DLC’s. The game which was now “cool” to play, had drifted away from a young 20’s crowd and instead to teens and pre-teens who bought all the add-ons and downloaded all the DLC they could. Although the game played roughly the same I couldn’t help but feel the heart of it had been stripped away and the game itself turned into a marketing tool for teen and pre-teen consumerism. My niece would often go on about The Sims 3 and its add-ons for hours, and how all her friends played it, leading me to quietly say to myself “I played it before it was cool!”. To be honest I haven’t played the game in forever now, but I do know my wife and son played an iOS version on the iPad a few years back, and although close to the original version it was hard to play without committing to micro-transactions left and right.
The game I played years ago was something really special and was about life itself in a roundabout way. I have many fond memories of playing it back then, and it will always be a cherished part of my life in my early 20’s.
I should also add the disclaimer that I actually didn’t skip school to play The Sims, but rather school was skipped as a consequence of playing The Sims a little too late into the evening, and not waking up in time for class the next day but I guess it all balances out if you think about it.
So with that said whats a game you played before it was cool?