A Lesson to Be Learned

The Sims is perhaps the most original commercial game design released in recent years . The game does not take as a starting point any other published game, but instead seems to have emerged entirely from Will Wright s brain. To look at the game is to marvel at its creativity and innovation. There is so much that is done right in The Sims , an entire book could be devoted to an analysis of its design. The game is truly like a computerized dollhouse, providing us the ability to play-act real human scenarios in order to better understand them. The description of the dollhouse found in the game is quite illuminating:

Will Lloyd Wright Doll House

This marvel of doll house design is meant for everyone, allowing children as well as adults to act out fantasies of controlling little families. This incredible replica comes complete with amazingly realistic furniture and decorative items. Don t be surprised if hours upon hours are spent enjoying this little world.

What is perhaps most interesting and compelling about The Sims is the potential it has to teach us about our own lives. What is the relationship we have with the possessions we own? How does the space we live in affect our lives? How does jealousy start in a relationship?

Of course, no one would argue that The Sims is a completely accurate simulation of human motivations and activities, but does it need to be completely accurate to cause us to think about our lives in new and interesting ways? As we move our sims around and watch them interact, we may disagree with how the simulation models their behavior. But in that disagreement , we think about what we really would expect them to do, with that reflection shedding new light on the relationships we maintain in our real lives. This, it seems, is the potential of computer games ” not to allow us to escape from real life or to even replace it, but to open up new areas of thought, to be able to see the world through a different set of eyes and come back to our own lives equipped with that priceless information.

Game Design Theory and Practice
Game Design: Theory and Practice (2nd Edition) (Wordware Game Developers Library)
ISBN: 1556229127
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 189

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