All posts by alexandrameurling

The Sims FreePlay

All right, let’s talk The Sims FreePlay.

First of all, this is a game that has perfected the free-to-play model. Not from the individual gamer’s point of view, unfortunately, but for EA. In other words, if you’re not careful you’ll find yourself parting with a lot of Simoleons.

Collecting resources to achieve goals within a game is one of the most common game mechanics there is. It can be really fun too if implemented correctly. But it’s a balancing act, and in my opinion, The Sims FreePlay lands on the wrong side of fun a lot of the time. If you don’t buy different currency packs to speed things up, the game can become a bore. That rewarding feeling you get when completing something needs to pop up regularly; if the intervals are too long, it will start to feel more like work, and less like fun.

Luckily, there is a way to circumvent having to pay for currency. It’s called Enslave Ten Sims And Force Them To Make Toast Twenty Four Seven (it’s a working title). This requires quite a lot of work from the player as well, but it’s an honest way of earning currency if you’re not inclined to either pay, or cheat, your way through the game.

IMG_0666Welcome to my slave factory.

The Sims FreePlay isn’t free to play and it will cost you, one way or another. Either you pay in real money or in time, patience and commitment. Because hidden away behind the mechanics that are in place to lure the money from your wallet, is a thoroughly enjoyable game.

For a customization junkie like myself, jonesing for a project to dig into, this is a perfect game. The Sims 4 is sure to have many more options, but I find myself more and more drawn to games that won’t chain me to my computer chair for hours on end. It was fine when I was still a student, but after a long day at the office, that’s an option that has lost much its appeal.

IMG_0667Some rest and relaxation. It’s taxing to decorate all day long.

In the end, it’s worth giving it a chance. There are many things I would like to change about a freemium game like The Sims FreePlay, but those things are mostly tied to the monetization model. The game itself is fun and engaging. It’s a perfect excuse to ignore the responsibilities of the real world. I know I’m certainly living vicariously through my The Sims alter ego, especially after a long day at work, when refurbishing her house is far more appealing than tidying up my own flat.

The Way I Game

I didn’t grow up as a gamer (unless playing Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit qualifies me for that epithet), but rather as a bookworm, and I didn’t discover the world of gaming until I was well into my twenties. That’s why it’s funny how a lot of my life has come to revolve around gaming and game development.

So, who am I as a gamer? First of all, let’s check my stats:

profile

My gaming style is calm, spontaneous, relaxed, immersed, and expressive—which isn’t a bad description of how I am in real life either.

As you can see I completely discard skill, accomplishment, and action when I play games. (That’s not entirely true as I’ve been healing heroic raids for a few years now, and I’d like to think that require at least a little bit of skill.) But generally the chart above is a good illustration of my gaming motivations relative to those of other gamers.

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft continuously since 2009, and I’ve been an active raider for most of that time. I’ve yet to try another MMORPG that I enjoy more.

I dip in and out of Diablo 3 on an irregular basis, and about two or three times a year I earn a card back in Hearthstone.

Right now I’m on a hiatus from raiding as I was dangerously close to getting burnt out. And because I have such love for WOW, I’m refraining from playing too often so I can return with a vengeance come Legion.

Instead, I’m exploring the world of mobile games. Among the ones I’ve thoroughly enjoyed are 80 Days, Fallout Shelter, The Wolf Among Us, and The Sims FreePlay. The next one to tackle is Lifeline which is written by Dave Justus (Fables: The Wolf Among Us), and I’m really excited about it.

I’m also keen on playing many of the games of late that have been hailed for their great narrative, and I’ve prepped my wishlist on Steam so I can acquire them whenever one of them pop up on special offer.

Lastly, the one thing I love, apart from a great story, is to play with customization. Give me many appearance options, or ask me to furnish my polygon dwelling, and I’m hooked for hours.

And oh, if the customization options include horns, hoofs, or tails, I’m on it like a car bonnet.

I’m a mutant

The X-Men are mutants, a subspecies of humans who are born with superhuman abilities. The X-Men fight for peace and equality between normal humans and mutants in a world where anti-mutant bigotry is fierce and widespread.1

I may not be an X-Man, but I do have super powers.2

So, what’s the deal? It’s really quite simple:

I’m a mutant.3

My brain isn’t wired like yours. The way I perceive reality is atypical; I connect the dots differently. These differences can sometimes make it difficult for me to live and function in your world. Because your kind make the rules—your kind decide what’s normal, and what’s not.

I’m not normal. I’m different. Divergent even, but according to you I have a disorder. A disability. According to you, there is something wrong with me.

It’s true I struggle sometimes. I struggle to adjust to your world, and the rules you’ve set up for the society we both live in and share. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in complying to a set of rules so we can all live in peace with each other. That is what having a society is about, after all.

But the norms of our shared society are too rigid. The norms we grow up with are so ingrained in our mutual consciousness that we believe them to be laws of nature—absolute truths.

They are not. They are something we’ve made up based on what suits the majority.

However, I’m not part of the majority. My needs are different from yours. That doesn’t mean I’m disabled. Believe me when I say I can function in your world. But doing that keeps me from fulfilling my true potential. It means I have to give up my own dreams and goals.

All my energy is instead redirected into playing a part—the part of being normal: of getting up on time in the morning; of washing the dishes; of catching the train on time; of remembering where I put my keys; of working nine to five; of not staying up all night writing a novel or setting up an impromptu photo shoot for an art project.

I’m different—not defective. I have abilities beyond your realm of comprehension. Worry not, I’m not calling you stupid, but you are part of the norm which is why it’s hard for you to understand me. Going forward, I’ll try to explain it to you, but for now I need you to make room for me, allow me to be all that I can be, and together we can achieve greatness.

Footnotes

1. X-men – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2. 5 Superpowers of ADHD – Totally ADD
3. ADHD-PI – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia