Playing with life

Today, I am going to tell you about THE video game to which I owe many hours of endless creativity, inspiration, procrastination and even sleeplessness.

Yes, we are talking about the well-known and loved The Sims series.

To give you a little bit of background info: I am not a "gamer". In fact, my cousins got one of those X-box things at Christmas and were extremely excited about it (and so were my grown-up friends), but I didn't really understand why.

I've played a lot of computer games, and I discovered the Sims in 2005, when I borrowed it (it was a disk back then) from childhood friends who came for the summer. At the end, I had to return the game to them, and I was devastated; for the few weeks until I got my own, I felt like I had abandoned the huge world and characters I had created.

I hadn't even discovered The Sims 2, which was the one I played the longest; I loved how much flexibility and storyline it allowed. It was the time of Sims-stories on Skyrock, that I would read passionately, especially this Harry Potter-themed one (in French), and the few, cringe-worthy ones that I created, and that are lost somewhere in the endless archive of the net*.

The Sims 3 (which I still play currently), has (almost) everything I ever hoped for in a Sims game. The travel, the story progression, amazing, slightly twisted humour, and the countless and countless things to explore.

Oh, and there's the witches.

(I haven't tried The Sims Medieval or The Sims 4**; I'm very happy with the current version and still have a few extension packs that I haven't tried yet. )

There are many reasons as to why, at twenty-four, I still love this game. First and foremost, it's amusing; for a video game, The Sims 3 allows to unwind and relax a bit (this said, there can be some stressful moments, like when a fire erupts on the lot and everyone begins to panic!).

Secondly, creating alter-egos or alternate realities, helps a lot with visualisation. And I must have mentioned somewhere that I use visualisation a lot to get what I want from life. The Sims 3 makes this easier. This means that I may or may not have created Sims versions of myself and the woman I love... But that's something I would only admit in the presence of my lawyer!

Thirdly, there's the amazing liberty this game allows. It's the American dream, accelerated. Marry the hottest man in the world? Easy! I can create him. Build myself the biggest mansion, with a maid, butler, and even a horse-riding course? Even easier, thanks to a cheat code! (motherlode, for those wondering!). Learn skills? Have kids? Travel the world? Adopt ten cats? Change life states? Create a family dynasty? You can do anything you want, test out any scenario, the possibilities are just endless!

Let's talk also about the reason why I stopped considering The Sims as procrastination. Unlike action games, playing with a life simulation game helps hugely when you make a living from creativity. In fact, the novel I've been working on for the last five years has been inspired by a Sims game of mine, where one character got out of control and started doing things that would eventually become my plot***. There's not one moment where I'm not inspired while playing the Sims (not just for fiction but for blog posts as well!), so if some may call it procrastination, I call it research.

And finally, there's the witches.

Do you play the Sims? Which version? And what are your favourite expansion packs?



*If one day I become super famous, I'm sure someone will find them and put them on GOMI or something... But being super famous and a successful blogger and all, I will likely not care.
**I'll buy it if EA Games makes a Harry Potter-themed Sims game!
***Does this mean that I will owe EA Games my book rights?!

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