Playing God (a.k.a. Life is a Simulation)

During the week, my routine is not very different than most of yours. I take kids to school, go to work, come home, cook dinner, pay the bills, etc. Just like most people. But when the day is over, and all the work is done, I am God.

Okay, okay, don’t get all offended. The thing is, I have these secret worlds, filled with people whom I have created, who wear what I tell them to, sleep when I tell them to, and live and work wherever I see fit. It is up to me to decide who will become a beautiful rock star, who will become a poor family with six children, or who will become a lonely insane genius who works all night in his laboratory, creating mysterious potions. In this world, I control everything. I can make it snow for weeks on end! I can (sort of) bring the dead back to life! I have the ability to turn an entire population into bloodthirsty vampires! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

A Sims 3 Family Did I get too carried away? Oops, sorry. Something about playing The Sims 3 turns me into a power-hungry megalomaniac. Yes, I said The Sims 3. It is one of my favorite creative escapes. Truthfully, I have been a huge fan of simulation games since I was quite young. Back when Sim City first came out, it was like I had discovered gold. Since then, I have played every subsequent sim game:  Sim City, Sim Earth, Sim Farm, Sim Tower, you name it. When The Sims was first released, I was immediately hooked. And now, more than a decade later, I am still Sim-ming.

Here’s the deal – like a god, you create a person, or an entire family. You dress them, give them names (and sometimes pets), then move them into a home in your neighborhood. Really, it’s like playing a sophisticated game of Barbies. Only get this – the Barbies have come to life. And you, the player, have to guide them as they live their lives, and help them to stay happy as they navigate the ups and downs of careers, relationships, and family. Just like real people, each individual Sim has wishes and desires, which you can help them to fulfill. Like real people, they age, give birth, raise children, and then kick them out into the real world. And, like real people, the Sims grow old and die. (Or they can die sooner, you know, like if their house burns down and they can’t escape because you “forgot” to add doors. Just sayin’.) You can even throw a funeral, and then watch your other Sims get freaked out when the person comes back to haunt them as a ghost. Best game of Barbies EVER!

(Great video of Sex & the City, Sims 3 style)

Sims can walk around the neighborhood and meet people.

Sims can walk around the neighborhood and meet people.

Okay, so maybe the Sims isn’t the right game for everyone. It does take a lot of responsibility, organization, and time management skills to succeed in controlling the lives of others. And while the Sims can satisfy my hunger for power much of the time, I recognize that some of you may need to control a greater territory than just one little town of Barbies. I understand. And for you, I recommend one of many great war strategy simulation games, such as Civilization, Europa Universalis, or my personal all-time favorite, Age of Empires (the second one – forget the others). Then you can have your very own world of Barbie warriors who engage in medieval skirmishes or global thermonuclear warfare. HUZZAH!