Flashback Friday: SimCity

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

Rachel and I tend to really enjoy simulation games, a genre we’ve been exploring more outside of the Sims. On that note, this Flashback Friday is dedicated to another installment in that franchise, SimCity!

Double Jump | Video Games | Nintendo | SimCity

SimCity was originally released in 1989, and has since spawned on many different platforms, from consoles to the personal computers to portable and online versions to many spin-offs. It’s a city-building simulation, where the player starts with a piece of land and develops residential, commercial, and industrial buildings for the citizens to thrive. The player acts as the mayor and must provide services to the citizens — like hospitals, schools, and police stations — to keep them happy (low taxes also help).

While I’ve never played the original port on the SNES, I have played SimCity 4 for the PC. It’s not the best but, like many simulation games that I’ve played, strangely addicting. You’re in charge of districts that are part of one region. All the roads snap to a grid and all the zoning must be attached to the roads. Supposedly SimCity 4 has servers and you compete with others online for the highest score for your city, but the servers have never worked when I’ve played. Fortunately, the online competition isn’t too important to me, but I know for some it was a deal breaker.

Nevertheless, SimCity is a fun waste of time and just feeds into my love of simulation games, and the Cities: Skylines that just came out on the Nintendo Switch this month remind me of them. One day I’ll remember to download Cities: Skylines!

Have you played any of the SimCity games? What did you think of them?

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Sims 4 Seasons Expansion Review

Double Jump Kris MiiHello, everyone!

The Sims franchise is a favorite of mine ever since a coworker back from college let me borrow her collection of Sims 2 expansion packs. Sims 2 turned into Sims 3, which I still have installed, before Sims 4 came around. Sims 4 is how I find myself wasting and enjoying time nowadays, especially with the newest expansion pack, Seasons.

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The Sims 4 Seasons expansion pack came out a couple of weeks ago on June 22. Being a Sims expansion pack, I bought it for myself just in time for Camp NaNoWriMo, a monthly writing challenge, and I’ve been playing it as a reward for whenever I reach my word count goal for the day.

The Pets expansion packs always tend to be my favorites, because who doesn’t love virtual dogs and cats? Aside from that, though, Seasons is right up there as it gives so much more variety to the world that you’re playing in. The temperature changes, holidays, the new clothes and accessories for the sims, Seasons was always a coveted expansion pack for the Sims.

The Sims 4 Seasons comes with all of those. The temperature changes bring about new deaths and interactions for the sims, depending on how hot or cold the weather is. A thermostat is a new item for homes and businesses, allowing sims to make the temperature inside the house comfortable… supposedly. I still had my sims automatically dress up in their outdoor winter gear around the house in the colder weather despite the thermostat being set to warm (not to mention a fireplace or two in the house).

Holidays were interesting, especially since you can create your own. A calendar button is included in the interface, allowing the player to see the coming seasons and holidays in the next couple of weeks. Each holiday has “traditions” that you can assign it, actions that your sims can take in order to really celebrate the holiday. For example, Lovefest is the Valentine’s Day equivalent, and traditions can include gifting flowers to someone or going on a date, while Harvestfest’s main tradition is eating a Grand Meal. A sim’s personality traits also effect how they feel about the individual traditions. A romantic sim loves the idea of going on a date during Lovefest, while a loner sim ignores the same tradition. It’s pretty interesting to play around with, creating your own holidays as well as being able to plan events like birthday parties in advance.

The biggest addition to Sims 4 Seasons is the Gardening career. The gardening skill got an overhaul, making plants seasonal, while also adding the Flower Arrangement skill. With the Gardening career, you can either become a botanist or florist. Botanist focuses more on research and the gardening skill, while florist utilizes the flower arrangement skill as well. Gardening is the type of career that allows you to work from home if you wish like the careers from City Living, or you can create your own retail store for your floral arrangements if you have Get to Work.

One of the disappointing aspects of the expansion pack, in my opinion, is that there was no beach world or beach area to allow the sims to swim in the ocean or just hang out, really. Imagine being able to have a 4th of July-based holiday on the beach or just a beach party to go with Seasons. In Sims 3, with its open world, being able to swim in the ocean was a major development, and I feel that Sims 4 is missing out on this.

Still, there are plenty of extra activities, such as rollerskating, ice skating, beekeeping, having snowball and water balloon fights, along with the new holidays and Gardening career to keep you entertained should you choose to purchase the expansion pack. If you’re a big fan of the Sims and have the cash to spare, Seasons is a pretty good expansion to add to your game.

Do you play the Sims 4? Have you gotten the Seasons expansion pack? What do you think of it?

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Friday Favorites: Simulation Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

One of the last few game reviews Rachel and I did was for Game Dev Tycoon, and it reminded me of how much fun I have with games in the simulation genre. This Friday celebrates some of my favorite simulation games and franchises.

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Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon franchise was probably my first foray into the simulation genre. Valuing hard work and fostering healthy relationships with the community are key aspects in the game, and I enjoyed the virtual farm life with the animals. I definitely prefer some of the older games to the newer games, but the Switch’s Light of Hope seems to cater to some of the more nostalgic story and controls from the older titles.

Stardew Valley

Another farming simulation game, Stardew Valley is similar to Harvest Moon but with a few fantasy twists, such as defeating monsters in the mines, along with the ability to date whoever you want regardless of gender. The co-op mode is another plus to this game! Rachel and I are looking forward to giving it a go!

Game Dev Tycoon

Game Dev Tycoon is so much fun! The strategy needed to develop good games against the clock with the story events constantly evolving makes the game addicting. It’s a game I’ll keep going back to, and I’m on the hunt for more business-like tycoon games, if anyone has any suggestions!

The Sims

The Sims franchise is horribly addicting. Every time I turn the game on, it’s hard to want to do anything else in my free time. Recently, I’ve been testing the newer Sims 4 Seasons expansion pack, and I’ve been having a good time. With the expansions and free reign to act out whatever kind of stories you want, the Sims probably won’t be getting deleted from my computer anytime soon.

What are your favorite simulation games?

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Flashback Friday: Sims 2

Double Jump Kris Mii It’s another Friday! Yay!

We’ve been going back and forth between playing our Switch Games and living out perfect lives on the Sims 4. This month I thought we’d go back to when Rachel and I had first gotten hooked onto the Sims series with Sims 2. 

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The Sims 2, first published in 2004, is the second installment of the Sims franchise published by EA Games and developed by Maxis. Like the original Sims, the Sims 2 is a real life simulator where the player controls the characters and aids them in living their lives day to day.

The game itself was released on a plethora of platforms, most notably the PC but also the Xbox, the Playstation 2, and Nintendo’s GameCube, Gameboy Advance, and DS. It was a commercial success, smashing records with its release, and sold over 13 million copies over all platforms by March 2012.

The Sims 2 allows the characters — the Sims — to age through life cycles, such as child, teen, and adult, with a 3D game engine. Players customize the Sims’ looks and personalities before throwing them into a world where they can get jobs, develop relationships, and grow old or die unfortunate premature deaths. The game allows the players to play the role of a god, choosing and manipulating every aspect of the Sims’ lives, or just letting the Sims choose their own fate however their personality dictates they would act.

Besides the base game, the Sims 2 had expansion packs to greatly expand the gameplay. For example, Pets included dogs and cats, Nightlife boasted clubs and a dating system, and Seasons brought weather to the Sims’ world. Expansions tended to bring new life forms for the Sims, such as PlantSims, Vampires, and Witches. Stuff Packs were also developed and sold separately, bringing new items to decorate the Sims’ world with.

Since then, the franchise has evolved to The Sims 3 and most recently The Sims 4, each bringing new content to the franchise. Despite initial glitches and problems with the games’ releases, the Sims franchise continues to be a success.

Have you ever played the Sims 2? What did you think of it?

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For the Love of Loading

For the Love of Loading...

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Last Saturday Rachel and I both got the urge to play the Sims, despite us still needing to finish Breath of the Wild and having tons of fun with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It was one of those lazy, rainy kind of days, so we thought why not boot up the game. Rachel was going to play Sims 4 on our desktop while I would play Sims 3 on my personal laptop. I also have Sims 4 on my laptop, but it’s the same account on both computers so we obviously can’t play it at the same time.

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It took me about two hours just to get The Sims 4 up and running. Neither one of us could remember our Origin email and password, so that took a half hour in and of itself. Then, of all the times, The Sims 4 game had to update. Fine, whatever. The timer said it would take an hour and a half. I groaned, Kris said it doesn’t usually take that long, but it did. Oh, it did…

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The Origin is usually always signed in, unless it needs to update, of course. I’m the one who usually plays the Sims 4, and I’ve been playing it more on my laptop than the desktop. So, while my laptop is up to date, I’ve forgotten about updating it on the desktop. Then didn’t it pause or lose connection or something in the middle of updating? Meanwhile, I was in the other room trying to get the Sims 3 up and running, and just from the age of the game and the number of expansion packs I have with it, it definitely took its time…

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Oh, right. Origin had to update, which didn’t take too long, but it took long enough. Then we couldn’t log in. When we did, The Sims 4 had to update. About an hour or so later, it was at 91% and then an “error occurred.” I had to resume the update and it started all the way back 40%. It took another 40 minutes. I mean, I got some reading done while I waited, but… I couldn’t get over how long the loading wait was.

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It was definitely much longer than it usually is… The Sims 3 wasn’t too bad, considering that the Sims 3 boasted that it was an open world and didn’t have loading screens after the initial world loaded, but it still took a while. It makes me wonder how patient we used to be with games that always had loading screens, and how the games nowadays have so much content on them that loading screens seem to be the norm.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
We are pretty spoiled nowadays when it comes to loading screens. Even the loading times for Breath of the Wild aren’t bad at all. You would think it would be much longer since there’s just so much going on in the game. The Sims 4 has a lot going on too, but I didn’t think an update would take that long…

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It was probably several updates in one… I should make a point to check out the desktop version if I notice that the Sims 4 on my laptop updates. Remember way back when the games used to fit on an entire cartridge instead of having updates, patches, and DLC? Breath of the Wild recently had a patch itself for the voice acting, and I know there’s expansion packs for it in the form of DLC.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Technology is amazing these days… I’ll admit that I have a love/hate relationship with it, but if it didn’t exist then I have no idea what life would be like. I don’t mind waiting through loading screens, and I can handle it, but I’ll still complain about it.

Do you miss the pre-loading screen days? How patient are you? Let us know in the comments below!

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Friday Favorites: Sim Expansions

Double Jump Kris MiiAnyone else around here write? Rachel and I are avid writers as well as avid gamers. This month is Camp NaNoWriMo, which is the challenge to write 50k words (be they for a novel or a script or whatever) in a month. I’ve been doing well with mine but, well, I did something silly recently — I started playing the Sims again. Anyone who plays this franchise knows how addicting it can be! So, today I will be talking about my favorite expansion packs for the games, most of which are generic and have had some reincarnation for each of the Sims versions.

4. Seasons

Although sometimes the rain and snowstorms made the games run a bit slow, the season expansion packs were always a great addition to the games. The weather was a wonderful addition and, with Sims 3, the new social interactions and seasonal sports was awesome.

3. Nightlife/Late Night/Get Together

These expansion packs were lots of fun basically for the added content they gave the game. The new outfits were great, and they usually involved musical instruments as well. The band interactions were one of my favorite parts of Late Night for the Sims 3! More social interactions are always a plus in my book.

2. Ambitions

This Sims 3 expansion pack is near the top of the list mainly for the extended list of jobs that your sim could do. I wasn’t too thrilled with the “professions” aspect of the game, where you follow your sim around for their job rather than them disappearing into a rabbit-hole location, but the self-employed option was fantastic. I could have my sim-self be a successful writer instead of needing a desk job!

1. Pets

Anyone who knows me understands my four loves in life: writing, video games, chocolate, and animals. The Pets expansion pack for the Sims games were always my favorite if only because I could have adorable puppies and kittens to wreck havoc in my sims’ homes. Horses in the Sims 3 Pets expansion pack was an amazing bonus! Sims 4, I’m expecting great things from your Pets expansion pack!

Do you play the Sims? What’s your favorite part of the games?

Pro-Diversity in Sims 4

Double Jump Kris MiiThe Sims franchise has always been a favorite of Rachel’s and mine ever since an old coworker years ago had let me borrow her collection of Sims 2 games and expansion packs to try it out for myself. Since then, we had been hooked.

Now the Sims 4 have been creating more and more customization and expansions, and I believe this latest update is one of my favorites…

Way back in February, Rachel and I did a post detailing our first impressions of the Sims 4 games by Maxis. While Rachel really enjoys the game, I wasn’t as enamored with it as I was with Sims 3 for a variety of reasons. With the new update that was released just a few days ago, my respect for the franchise has grown.

This update unlocks all of the gender restrictions in the Create-A-Sim mode.

That means every female hair style can be placed on male sims, the male voices can be used for a female sim, every type of clothing, walking style, and physique is shared between the two genders. It’s a fantastic step forward in not only customization but also representation. Considering my country at the moment is arguing over who can pee in which restroom, I’m all for it.

If anyone has glanced at my personal blog, usually used for writing and reading, they would know that I’m a fan of We Need Diverse Books, a campaign dedicated to promoting diversity (ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) in books. Considering how influential books are to the masses (seriously, how many movies nowadays had started out as books?), having a wider range of representation of people is needed.

Diversity is needed in other forms of media as well, like movies and video games. People, especially the younger generations of the world, now more than ever are coming out with their gender and sexual identities, and the world needs to hear. Hindering representation and those who identify as anything other than “the norm” is only going to hurt the future.

There is nothing wrong with gender not being as black and white as it was before, and I’m glad that a huge franchise like the Sims can support that.