Things the Sims has made me realize

by Nina de Haan

Many hours I’ve spend behind the computer, playing either good old the Sims, Sims 2 or even Sims 3. I can still remember it clearly: the first time I played The Sims at a friend’s house. I was hooked immediately. I believe that same evening I talked my parents into buying the game and there was the beginning of the Sims area for me. Currently our family has all three versions including a lot expansion packs for the first, several for the second and one for the last.

But the Sims isn’t just for fun, it turns out to be educational too! Here is what I learned while playing the games.

I learned:

  • what DNA looks like and the first principles of genetics, about hair and eye color especially. I should have realized earlier that kids look like their parents, but I remember quite clearly that I was reading that how sim children look, depends on the looks of their parents and experiencing that later while playing the game. Also I remember me asking my sister what the spiral was supposed to look like and she told me it was DNA. I find this funny because now, about ten years later, I’ve become a Biology student and I am supposed to know all about DNA and genetics.
  • that practice does make perfect and that you have lots of options and potential. All sims are (were) equally talented and just did what they (you) liked and got better while doing it. Cooking, painting, training, you take your pick! Want a promotion? Work for it, improve your abilities and you’ll get what you want! Of course it’s not that simple in real life, but the principle is still there. You have lots of options and potential and you should use it, if that’s what makes you happy.
  • that I don’t care about buildings. My sister, who is now graduating on architectural engineering, totally played the sims like it was at first intended: to build houses. She could (can) spend hours creating the perfect home for their sims, while I always just do something that looks quite okay and that’s that. I, on the other hand, can spend hours creating sims (in Sims 3, where you have the most options) and picking their clothes. Always when we bought a new expansion pack, firtst I checked out the new clothes (and hair). I even bought the one with H&M clothing. Sadly with only the World Adventures expansion pack, there aren’t that many clothes that fit my high standards, but still I like playing with it. Funny thing is that I don’t mind at all what the men are wearing. Okay, a little, but not much.
  • that there’s a difference between working out to lose fat (improve your cardiovascular system) and to build muscles. This is quite stupid, but I had just never realized it until the Sims made me choose between these two.
  • that body hair does make a man more manly! This was actually half a year ago. Sims 3 had had an update and I was creating a new male sim and I discovered the option to add body hair to your character. I was surprised that I had never ever even thought about this possible option, but now of course I had to try some body hair (arms, legs, chest) and the sim instantly got more manly! (Yes, I am 19 and for the record: I don’t think body hair is necessary to be manly and I don’t mind if a guy doesn’t have much, it was just funny.)

I am not a big fan of the Sims anymore. I tend to make my sims do everything possible to make a career, because everything else is unimportant. For me all the silly things in life are the things that keep me going and maybe for my sims goes the same, but I don’t notice it as the one behind the screen. Sometimes nice, unexpected things do happen in the game, but they’re not real and not at all spontaneous because they’ve been programmed with high accuracy and therefore they’re not satisfying to me. Not that I really care much about their careers, it’s just about the money, isn’t it?

What I still like is naming baby sims. I still want a Vladimir (loosely named after Vladimir Prelog, a chemist), but the last three babies I produced turned out to be girls. Too bad.