Recently, two of my three children were home. We had a lovely week of cave time: eating, sleeping, reading, writing (that was me), watching, playing, (that was them), and more eating. My daughter, 19, and my son, 16, pulled out Sims, a game they used to play a lot when they were younger.
Apparently it’s tough being a parent in Sims. It’s a lot of work. It makes you tired, frustrated, and the kids drive you crazy. You have to press buttons to feed them, clothe them, educate them. One of my kids told me that after you’ve picked the baby’s name and outfit, they’re no more fun. After that they’re annoying and they make you tired and hungry and you don’t have time to clean the shower and the toilet gets clogged. And Sims toddlers have to be potty trained. Oh! The list goes on and on! It’s a nightmare!
My kids worked out a long time ago that there are ways to get around your problems in the Sims. For instance, if you stop your Sims kids from doing their homework, and keep feeding them spaghetti, and put their books away when they’re supposed to read, eventually the ‘social welfare people’ will come and take the SIMS kids away. Hurray!
Since no one but you can activate instructions regarding your babies, you can actually leave your littlies on the sidewalk outside your house, when you go to check the mail. And since no one can interact with you when they come to your house unless you officially greet them, you can just leave the baby outside and refuse to greet the social welfare person who comes to reprimand you.
When parenting really gets to be too much, you can just speed up time and make the hard stuff pass faster. Of course, all of life generally happens faster. One morning, my daughter came down and said that her Sim character, a pregnant mother, made spaghetti and put it on the dining table. She clutched her stomach and became uncontrollable. The Sims game gave the kids the instruction to cry softly, and the whole family went into the living room. The grim reaper turned up and turned the mother character into an urn. The children’s instruction continued to be to cry softly, but the father swung between crying and laughing. The game instructed him to call a therapist. Fun stuff!
Sims teaches other lessons about life. The people aren’t real, so almost anything goes. My son learned ages ago that if someone really annoyed you, you could simply build a swimming pool, invite the offender to go swimming, and then delete the ladder. Sims can’t dog-paddle indefinitely. My daughter came up with another equally good plan. You build a room, put the annoying SIM character in it, throw fire crackers in, and keep instructing the character to play with them. Voila!
I just don’t get why people want to play games that simulate everyday life. And I’ve got doubts about the morals the game teaches. Got a problem with your boss? Invite her to come see your firecrackers. That thing you’re responsible for? Ditch it. The hard stuff? Rip through it at triple time. There’s something Twilight Zone about this virtual experiment in adulthood.
Maybe I should encourage them to play Assassin’s Creed instead. Blood? Sure. But killing the enemy with a sword seems less brutal than inviting them to go swimming.