I have something of a guilty pleasure – well, maybe many, I suppose, if I’m honest. But probably first and foremost on that list is my sad, terrible addiction to The Sims 2. But why, you may ask, am I addicted to a kids’ game such as this? Well, I’ll tell you exactly why. Because I am completely fascinated by genetics.
Those of you unfamiliar with The Sims 2 may have no idea as to what genetics may have to do with this rather mundane (but beautifully so), neverending game – it’s easy, for instance, to play for hours upon hours on end without any awareness as to the passage of time. But genetics come into play in this game in a big way. Unlike in earlier incarnations of the game, in this version, Sims can actually conceive by the regular means of doing so, carry a fetus, give birth (in a very unrealistic, and very euphemistic kind of way, mind you) and pass their genes on to their progeny. This is a source of constant fascination for me as I dream up all the possible genetic combinations, attempting to perpetuate the existence of exotic, almond-shaped eyes, or dark skin with blond hair, or round, rosy cheeks, within my Sim population, depending on my proclivity on any particular day.
The architectural aspects of the game are also compelling, and in fact, they were the reason the game’s creators at EA Games initially dreamed the product up. You can build and design your own houses and community lots, and you can furnish them. Additional items are also available online, generally for free. Furthermore, expansion packs are ready to buy. I personally purchased (or rather, a relative bought me) The Sims 2: Seasons, which supplements the already good-sized playable world with a new neighborhood entirely, and it allows your Sims to plant gardens, rake leaves, and play in the snow. It’s awesome.
This may sound kind of lame and ridiculous, but it is lots and lots of fun; one of the more fun things you can do while on your couch, dare I say. The Sims in The Sims 2 can even pass on recessive genes that may appear in grandchildren or great-grandchildren, which was an unsettlingly exciting revelation for me (I hadn’t read the instruction manual before I started playing, obviously, as this is clearly stated). The first time two blond-haired Sims produced a red-headed baby, because the maternal grandfather had red hair, I could barely contain my delight.
Make fun all you want, but the addictiveness of this game cannot be denied, whether you are obsessed with genetics or not. Mock me if you will, but check it out all the same. You will not be able to stop playing.