There isn’t any brilliant commentary here, so don’t go skimming through here for my insights about the Deleuzian immanence of social interaction in The Sims 3. It isn’t here, though now I want to think about the implications of that kind-of silly sentence.
Nope; I just want to talk about how much fun I had playing The Sims 3. I am an old school player of The Sims series. Until this moment, I had no idea that the first game was released in the year 2000. It was a world without 9/11, the Backstreet Boys still mattered, and most of us survived Y2K. I was also ten years old. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, or really any money at all, but my parents were the kind of people (like I am today) who spent all of their spare money on newfangled entertainment media. So, in the year 2000, we had a fairly new-ish computer and The Sims.
I played the hell out of that game, making families with elaborate backstories and complex social relations with all of the other families on their block, who I also created. The Sims is, of course, a “god game,” and that appealed to ten year old me. Stability was king–I was a terrible god, and I often ran out of money making giant ornate homes.
So fast forward to a couple months ago. I have been waiting on The Sims 3 to go on sale, and when it did, I grabbed it up. Then I went into god mode.
The Sim I created was a young, strapping Saddam Hussein. I’m not sure why I thought Saddamn would have been the best first Sim to make, but I made sure to build in all the ideological strangeness and hiccups that we like to project on foreign dictators in Western media: he started with the traits of Evil, Artistic, and Flirty. I created him to be a brilliant mind who everyone could imagine being their best friend, but also as someone who had a terrible, dark secret: he wanted to rule the world.
The Saddam that existed differed from the being I imagined in my mind. In reality, Saddam had to choose between the social relationships in his life and his lifetime dream of becoming the Emperor of Evil. He began dating a woman, but the strange hours of his crime career meant that he couldn’t devote enough time to her to make her care about him. Eventually their dates at his home turned from sitting on the couch together to Saddam lifting weights and his lady friend playing loud computer games in the living room.
Sometimes they would go on dates to the art museum, since they both liked art, but other people would interrupt; Saddam was too nice, inviting anyone into a conversation, driving a wedge Saddam and the woman. Saddam’s days off changed. He would get up, eat breakfast, and then sit at his computer. He wrote several novels, each one making more money than the last. He would also paint, and though he never got very good, he did produce a sweet still-life of the lighthouse on the edge of town.
The difference in my expectations and what happened is probably something like what a parent (or a god) feels like when their child grows up to become both the Emperor of Evil and a famous author of biographies. I look upon Saddam with a little pity and, well, a small amount of pride. I don’t do much to control him. I am a hands-off creator, telling him to buy books and to write, but mostly I let him do whatever he wants.
Like I said before, there is nothing grand here, no big statement.