One of the greatest features in The Sims is the freedom it allows players in exploring different personalities and life styles. Want to see how the rich and famous live? Or would you like to become a super-sleuth like those television detectives who solve every crime case they’re given? Have you ever dreamed of being a professional athlete? Or is tending bar — and impressing customers with an array of clever tricks — more to your taste?
I often talk about the many lessons I’ve learned from simming, and of them all, I think the most important is the simple truth that — just as our parents have always said — we can be anything we want. And where the game is concerned, I mean that in two very different ways.
First, as pointed out above, we can put ourselves into the game as whatever character we want. We can create an ordinary “sim self” to reflect who we really are — and many players do this — or we can create a “sim self” who represents the person we want to become. Within the parameters of the game, we can be anybody we want, and we can do anything we want.
We can be doctors, scientists, authors, and artists. We can explore outer space, master the game of chess, and evolve plants that would make any botanist sit up and take notice. And we can do it all so easily.
This is the second part of being whatever we want in the game. Anyone can learn anything. There are no real restrictions on a sim’s abilities. It’s true that depending upon traits, some sims might learn a little faster, but with practice and persistence, every sim can master the game’s skills. Any sim can reach the top of any career with determination and devotion.
I think there’s an inspiring message there for each of us to consider. When we have dreams that seem far-fetched or beyond the limits of our personal reality, maybe we should step back a moment and take a look at our sims. When we put them into a career, they never shake their heads and say “No, I’m not smart enough to do that.” When we buy easels and send them off to draw, no sim has ever protested, “But I don’t have any talent!”
Our sims simply do what we ask of them. They practice when we tell them — unless they’re in a very foul mood, and if that’s the case, we can cheer them up, feed them, send them off to pee, or take whatever other action might be necessary. Once their needs are resolved and their spirits bright again, practice can resume.
It’s not reality. We all know this. In the real world, we do have some limits, of course. But maybe a lot of those limits are in our heads. It’s inspiring to think that like our sims, we can reach whatever goals we set for ourselves if we’re willing to put in the time it takes to learn new skills or to improve our on-the-job performance.
It’s only a game, indeed, but playing The Sims can inspire us to believe in ourselves.