The Even Sims

I’ve been playing The Sims 4 for a couple of days now – not continuously, of course, although if it weren’t for things like Gilmore Girls, books, showering, work, and sleep, I suppose I might be. I’m loving the game.

I’ve never played The Sims or The Sims 3. I went directly from 2 to 4. I still have The Sims 2 on the laptop, and I still enjoy playing it.

Here, then, are my first impressions of The Sims 4, compared with The Sims 2. Some of these things might be carry-overs from The Sims 3 – I don’t know. Some of them may turn out to be incorrect, as I continue to discover more and more subtleties of the game.

No Groceries. This is, by far, the strangest feature of the game. I can’t wrap my head around it. I don’t like it, actually. In The Sims 2, sims go grocery shopping. When food supplies run low, sims go to the grocery store, or call for a delivery, to restock the refrigerator. Or, they can call for a pizza delivery if they’re too hungry to go shopping. (In the “Seasons” expansion, a sim can grow fresh food, too.) In The Sims 4, there are no grocery stores. Refrigerators seem to manufacture food, and charge for it. Every meal a sim cooks comes with an individual cost, and the simoleans are deducted when the sim takes food out of the refrigerator. The food supply never seems to run out. It’s weird, and it’s unrealistic.

No Undies. There is no “Undies” category in The Sims 4. I like this. The Undies clothing category in The Sims 2 seems rather pointless. In The Sims 4, there is no longer a choice to either “Sleep in PJs” or “Sleep in Undies”. A sim always sleeps in their “Sleepwear”. However, if you do feel the need to have a sim walk around their underwear, there are undies in the “Sleepwear” category.

Free Clothes. I haven’t found a clothing store in The Sims 4, yet. In both 2 and 4, you create a sim with an outfit for each clothing category. I’ve recently discovered that Sims 4 has multiple options for each category – “Everyday 1”, “Everyday 2”, “Swimwear 1”, “Swimwear 2”, and so on. I like that. I don’t know what the limit for the number of options is. Basically, in both 2 and 4, a sim wears the same clothes all the time – unless you change them. In The Sims 2, this means sending a sim to a clothing store to buy more clothes. Clothes cost simoleans, of course. The sim brings the clothes home, and they go into a dresser or (with the “Apartment Life” expansion) a closet. Then you click on the dresser or closet, and select “Plan Outfit”, and you choose among the clothes your sim has purchased. In The Sims 4, you click on the dresser, select one of your sim’s categories or options. Or you can plan an outfit, which brings you back to the “Create a Sim” screen, rather than a popup menu, where you can either change an existing outfit, or add a new one. And, as far as I can tell, adding new clothes costs nothing.

No Newspapers. It’s been many years since The Sims 2 was released. Technology has changed in the real word, and it has changed in the sims world, too. Sims now have smart phones and tablets, in addition to desktop computers. If a sim wants to find a job in The Sims 4, they use their ever-present phone. (I don’t know if landline phones exist anymore.) This is nice, but it means the newspaper delivery sim is out of a job.

Open World. This was introduced in The Sims 3, I know. In The Sims 2, a sim lives inside their house. They can go to community lots (stores or parks), but those, too, are self-contained worlds. Leaving a house, or going back home, means watching a loading screen. In The Sims 4, a sim steps out of their house, and they’re in the neighborhood. They can walk down the sidewalk and be somewhere else. But, since there are no grocery stores or clothing stores, leaving home seems to be a purely social function. Oh, and there are no book stores, either. Bookshelves sell books. That’s weird.

Foraging. In The Sims 4, a sim can grow food at home. (Planter boxes sell seeds!) They can also pick strawberries from random plants in public spaces – free food! I love that. There are also rocks that sims can dig up for gems, treasure maps, and other random stuff. I don’t know what that’s all about.

Cars. In The Sims 2, there were no cars, except for the carpool to work, until the “Nightlife” expansion came around. With the expansion, a sim can own a car and add a driveway to their house. But you never see a random car driving by. In The Sims 4, sims walk everywhere, even to work. There are no driveways. (Maybe there is, or will be, an expansion with cars.) And yet, there are many random cars driving by.

Customization. These days, in The Sims 2, I’m playing exclusively in a custom neighborhood, named Clam Cove, which I built myself. There doesn’t seem to be an option to add a neighborhood in The Sims 4. There is a lot more player-built custom content on Mod The Sims for The Sims 2 than for The Sims 4. (Players are still playing The Sims 2, it seems.) The Sims 4 doesn’t seem to focus on customization beyond the limits of game. That’s okay for now. I need to learn the game first.

Some of the game controls in The Sims 4 are similar to The Sims 2. Some are not. It’s taking a lot of discovery, and a lot of experimentation. I’m sure there are features I have yet to discover.

I’m enjoying playing The Sims 4. Thank you, Phillip.

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