Electronic Arts has announced that The Sims 4, the latest installment in the popular franchise, is scheduled for release in autumn of 2014. And it will be a fresh start: content cannot be transferred from previous games because the Sims Studio will be using incompatible technology. This is good news for me, as I’ll be returning to the series after a decade-long hiatus.
But The Sims, well, that was the first PC game I became obsessed with. I remember staying up until the wee hours of the morning, well past my childhood bedtime, on the family desktop with the lights off and the sound turned down (so as not to wake my mother), tending to my needy Sims. Usually they were based on other kids from my middle school or characters from my favorite TV shows, and I treated them accordingly.
Like in Roller Coaster Tycoon, I’d sometimes derive a perverse pleasure from killing Sims, the ones that really annoyed me. Not only that, I’d make them suffer. I’d watch sadistically as they’d flail around in the swimming pool I built for them, eventually succumbing to exhaustion and drowning, because I’d removed the ladder.
However, The Sims 4 promises that, “For the first time, Sims feel and express emotions.” Maybe this means I’ll find it more difficult, and less satisfying, to systematically torture and murder my Sims. At least I hope so…