The 101: Playing God


Anthony Bartoli, Assistant A&E Editor

I remember a long time ago, my grandmother (who’s now 74) took me to Wal-Mart to buy me two things: a Nintendo 64 with the “Pokémon Snap” expansion pack, and the original “Sims” game.

My grandmother is this little old lady with the mind of a 21-year-old. I mean, come on, she wants a giraffe for God’s sake! Anyway, without my parents knowing (because I was so young), she bought me “The Sims.” We got home, and you could cut the tension with a knife. My parents have to be psychic. They just knew what was in my shopping bag.  My grandmother told them that at the ripe young age of 7, that I was growing up fast and should be allowed to do things that the big(ger) kids did. (If you knew me as a 7-year-old, I was scrawny as all heck, and not even close to being a medium-sized kid.

Well, eventually, my parents let up, and I got to install “The Sims.” Within the first two hours of figuring it out and playing, I was hooked. I sat at my computer for hours upon hours.

I loved the fact that you could control people’s lives.

That’s the one thing I love about “The Sims”, you can either make or break someone. All without actually doing any harm. Maxis (the first developer of “The Sims”) called it “Playing God” and has used the phrase in several other Sims-related games (such as “Sim City 4”). One could live vicariously through their Sims.

Back in the days of the original “Sims” games, the spaces and people that you created weren’t that customizable. However, now in the “Sims 3” era, you could customize everything, even the size of a female Sims’ breasts.

I’m not even joking.

Since its release in February 2000, the original “Sims” had sold more than 16 million copies worldwide. Side note: EA and Maxis only projected that the original Sims game would only sell 160,000 copies. Oh, snap!

Then came the “Sims 2” era, which took players into a whole new 3-D world. It “takes place” over 25 years after the original game, where some of the original families are now elderly folk, and some notable original Sims have “gone missing.”

It was released in September of 2004. Now, you could create your Sims at all different ages. Sims could roam through an open neighborhood. Because “The Sims 2” was not compatible with the original “Sims”, however, some objects and features had to be remade. Sims could now have life aspirations, fears, desires and a customizable personality. “The Sims 2” has eight expansion packs and nine “stuff” packs, along with a Sims 2 Store, which featured more than 400 items that you could place into your Sims’ world.

Now, we’re in the “Sims 3” era, which has nine expansion packs and nine “stuff” packs, The “Sims” trilogy (as of now) is the best-selling P.C. game of all time according to Guinness World Records. It was one of the non-cloud based P.C. games to be available for digital download. The Sims 3 was set 25 years prior to the original game and features an open neighborhood where Sims can go on car drives, visit their neighbors or go to the beach (along with many other activities). In my opinion, it’s truly one of the most interactive video games ever created.

This series has nine expansion packs including (in order of release) “World Adventures,” “Ambitions,” “Late Night,” “Generations,” “Pets,” “Showtime,” “Supernatural,” “Seasons” and “University Life.” EA and The Sims Studios are expecting to launch the final expansion packs in the summer and fall of this year, giving players newer, better ways to exercise their omnipotence from behind the keyboard.


Thinking of “playing God” yourself. Before you can do that, you have to know the language of the divine. Let us boil it down for you in…

“‘Sim'”-ple English (Get it?)”

This is the usually-green diamond-like figure (however, it’s actually a hexahonal bypyramid with 12 isosceles triangles, 18 edges, and eight verticies; get it straight, sucka!). I say usually green because the color reflects the active Sim’s mood. It can be green (great/just good mood) brownish yellow (not very good mood) and red (unhappy-to-horrible mood).

This is the language that Sims speak. I can’t understand it for the life of me, but if you can, hit me up. Music artists including All Time Low, Aly & AJ, The Pussycat Dolls, Katy Perry and Lady Antebellum have all re-recorded some of their songs in Simlish for the series.

A Simoleon is the form of Sim currency. A Simoleon is depicted by a “§” symbol, and the bills are red, orange and white. Some people make their Sims work for a living to earn money, but most use the cheat “motherlode” which will get a Sim family §50,000 for each use.

Non-Playable Characters. They cannot be played by the player, and come in many different forms. There are Service NPCs (maids, gardeners, etc.), Emergency NPCs (cops, Firemen and women), Visiting NPCs (Grim Reaper, Paper Delivery people, and Burglars), Wandering NPCs (Tourists, Explorers, Paparazzi), Community Lot NPCs (Bartender, Tattoo Artist, Bouncer, etc.) and Other NPCs (Carpool/Taxi/School Bus driver, Mummy).

WooHoo/Try for Baby
I really don’t think I have to explain these, but, when two Sims WooHoo, the girl doesn’t get pregnant. However, when two Sims love each other very, very much, and mutually decide that they want children (because, you know, that can never be a one-sided decision) they “try for a baby.” Bow chicka wow wow!

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This cheat allows so many options to become available. For example, if you use this cheat and then shift-click the mailbox, you can make your Sim know everybody, or set their career and career level. You can shift-click a Sim that is not in your household and select “Add to Household.”

Sunset Valley
This was the original Sims 3 neighborhood. It’s really quite big compared to other neighborhoods in the previous games. It has 92 lots, 86 of those being premade. All lots are customizable, though.

The Sims Resource
The oldest and largest Sims website online. The site has over 839,000 downloadable objects, Sims, lots, and homes for any Sims game. You can either get a subscription ($15.95 for two months or $39.72 for 6 months), or just use the site for free. However, if you don’t subscribe, you can’t get access to subscriber-only downloads which are usually the best downloads.

Fresh Prince Creations
I use this site to get all of my cars for my games. I’ve downloaded the Range Rover, a Bentley, a couple two-tree Mercedes, a Porsche, and so many others.