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Article2nd Mar 2014

Top 5 Unrealistic Features of The Sims

I love The Sims. I have been playing it off and on since the original game launched back in February 2000. Part of the appeal for me has always been the crazy things that Sims will do. Many times these are far more entertaining than the ever increasing array of realistic things.

Over the years as the series has developed, Sims have become more aware. Social interactions are more sensible, Sims can actually move furniture themselves and you can even change your hairstyle for different occasions. However, I miss some of the crazy things my Sims have done over the years. So, drawing from my experiences with all three games to date, here are my top five unrealistic features of The Sims.

5. Appearance

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In at number five is appearance. In the most recent Sims incarnations a lot of this has changed but sometimes the oldest memories are the best.

You all know how the game begins: open family screen, create new family, spend an hour trying to think of a name then spend even longer getting their look just perfect. It is always advisable to take your time at this point as, in the earlier games at least, that look is yours for life. Yes Maybelline has nothing on the makeup of The Sims. This stuff literally never comes off. Apply once, wear for the rest of your natural life. The same goes for hairstyles. I have no idea what hairspray Maxis are endorsing but it holds like super-glue... thinking about it maybe it is super-glue, that would explain a lot.

Later incarnations of The Sims allow you to stand in front of a mirror and change your makeup and hairstyle or even haircut in a matter of minutes. However this brings in a whole new level of weird juju, I mean who is THAT skilled with a pair of kitchen scissors?

4. Food & Drink

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At Number four is the confusion that is eating and drinking in The Sims. I wish I had a fridge like my Sims. In earlier games food just magically appears day after day without you spending any money. How amazing is that? You can even eat the green looking leftovers without any ill effects (this is definitely not recommended in real life)! Speaking of leftovers, in later games you do have to buy your food and you cannot eat green food without a trip to the bathroom. However you can store the leftovers of your meals safely in the fridge. Once in there they take on magical properties and not only do they last a month but that meal for four you cooked will feed at least another six people. Bingo!

3. The Magic Rucksack

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Number three is a newer feature which always makes me smile. The Sims 3 brought us one of my favourite unrealistic additions, the family inventory. This is presented as a rucksack which contains things you can access at any time. The idea is that certain things are specific to your person or family and are always carried on you, accessible at any time. This rucksack is one of a kind though, Dora and her talking backpack have nothing on this baby. One of my Sims currently has a rucksack containing several books, a couple of pieces of art, a newspaper, a stereo, an American football and a full size car. Yes that's right, there's a car in my backpack. The only possible explanation I can think of involves Hermione Granger and a series of enchantments...

2. Social Awareness

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In at number two is something which always ends up being fun: lack of social awareness. Sims aren't all sweetness and light when it comes to interacting with each other. Sometimes they cross the boundaries of social niceties, other times they just obliterate them entirely. Interactions have come a long way since the first Sims game but those pesky Sims still make me laugh. Walking into someone's house uninvited is often frowned upon but Sims don't seem to care.

There are also the repairmen and women. They arrive at all times of the day and night, far more reliably than any tradesman you've ever known, and often either keep you talking for hours or start sneaking around your house in the dark!

In earlier games especially, you can turn round to discover a random neighbour in your house and what's worse they are often eating your food, straight from the fridge! The randomness doesn't stop there either as they will invariably either tickle you or attempt to flirt with you on the subject of toilets. Lack of decent values often makes for fun gameplay as you attempt to see how far you can push the boundaries of taste and decency before a fellow Sim decides they truly detest you.

1. Lack of common sense

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My favourite unrealistic feature of all time is how Sims react to different situations with an astounding lack of common sense. I know Sims aren't the brightest of creatures but some of the things they do simply amaze me. Once again some of these crazy antics are only present in early games, but they are always the most memorable things for me. I remember the first time I set fire to my kitchen in The Sims. I was cooking – cereal in fact – and it set on fire. Yes, my cereal set on fire. Even better was the Sim’s response to the fire: simply to stand there and yell at it until they caught fire themselves and then died. Amazing common sense right there. No running for help, no calling the fire brigade, they were just standing there, shouting at the fire as if they could scream it into submission. In later games some of them don't even scream they just stand there waiting for the fire to put itself out. This is also the reason you should always have a smoke alarm so it can magically phone the fire brigade for you when it goes off.

This fire shouting isn't even the best thing I ever witnessed in game. My absolute favourite lack of common sense moment encountered was the day I got off a dining chair on the wrong side. My Sim found herself stood between the chair and the wall. She had no idea what to do so she did what any sensible person would do: she stood there until she died of starvation. Give that woman a membership to Mensa.

So there you go, my list of the top five unrealistic things in The Sims. What are yours? Are you upset that falling asleep on the floor next to your bed didn't make the list? How about refusing a marriage proposal because you were hungry? Head to the comments and let me know what your best moments are.

Helen Ashcroft – News Specialist
Writer of randomness and maker of films Helen AKA Jetgirl lives with her hubby and 3 kids who support her gaming habit.

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