Vampires – Should I Bite?

This should probably be an easy decision for me. As a “realistic” style Sims player, I don’t care to have vampires — or aliens, or plant-sims, or werewolves — in my game. And before you ask, yes, I’ve tried those different life forms. They’re not for me.

While playing Sims 2, I did create a few vampires, mostly to see what all the excitement was about. I tried it, I didn’t like it, and afterward, I simply ignored the whole concept of vampirism in my game. I didn’t have a choice, you see. Electronic Arts included vampires in an otherwise fantastic expansion, so like them or not, I had to live with them. I decided I could easily work around — or, well, actually play around — the idea of vampires by considering it a dreadful, deadly disease. Should any of my sims be turned, I would simply declare them to be fatally ill, and that would be the end of the poor sim.

I never had to use that strategy, however, because it never happened. Apparently sims don’t become vampires unless they want to — meaning, of course, unless the player decides to play that way.

During Sims 2, I also had aliens in my game for quite some time. I had, in fact, an entire Alien-Earthling war. We earthlings won, and having decided that I didn’t really like playing aliens, I banished them all back to their home planet far, far away, never to be seen or heard from again.

Plant sims? Werewolves? No thanks. I can do without them.

I did have a few witches in my Sims 2 game, and while I didn’t do much with ghosts I did have a few “Knowledge” sims who loved ghost-hunting. It was actually rather amusing.

But let’s get back to vampires.

They’ve come to Sims 4 in a big way, with an entire game pack devoted to their nocturnal activities.

Sims 4 Vampire

They bring along a new world — Forgotten Hollow — and a few other new things for the game. The complete list of items included can be found HERE as part of the Sims 4 Vampire Guide at VIP Sims.

As I first read through the new gameplay additions, I cringed a bit. Truly, I did.  It’s all about vampires…nothing else! But, what else should I have expected from a game pack called “Vampires”?

New traits include:

  • I Am the Master
  • Regained Humanity
  • A True Master

Nope. Nothing of interest to me there.

How about aspirations:

  • Vampire Family
  • Good Vampire
  • Master Vampire

No! I would never use any of these for my sims.

Lot traits, clothes, club activities, and hairstyles. You guessed it. All designed to complement the vampire life. And as a new skill, sims can learn “vampire lore”. That might be somewhat interesting, but for my sims, probably not.

So, it would seem that this new pack has absolutely nothing — repeat, nothing — to offer me and my sims. It should be easy to “just say NO” and forget about the pack. But, I can’t.

Am I crazy?

Part of it is the fact that as a dedicated simmer, I like my Sims collections to be complete. Whether I personally like a new addition to the game or not, I buy it. That’s how it’s always been in the past. And without exception, I’ve always found something to enjoy with each new expansion, stuff pack, or game pack.

But…vampires? Nothing but…vampires?

Wouldn’t I be wasting money to buy a pack that has nothing I want to use? Well, I could always use a few new lots, and the idea of having a new world is appealing. But then again, I’ve heard that Forgotten Hollow isn’t much.

I had just about made up my mind to forego this game pack, but temptation kicked in again when I saw it on sale. Still, the thought of getting a game pack, installing it, and then hating it makes me nervous. I’ve started questioning my sanity.

Another factor is the “Verdict” from the game review at Sims VIP which says, in part, that while the main point is vampires…”there is enough included that it will be a welcomed addition to your game regardless of how you play.”

The reviewer also allays another concern by assuring players that…”NPC Vampires don’t take over your game and Vampires won’t turn other Sims into Vampires.” In other words I don’t have to worry about any “deadly diseases” infecting my precious simmies.

All of which means I’m back on the fence again. I’m tempted. I’m very tempted. But I’m scared, too. Should I take a chance and purchase Vampires?  Or should I just accept the fact that this game pack isn’t for me and that my game won’t really be lacking anything if I don’t buy it?

I’d love to hear from players who already have the game pack installed. Please, help me make up my mind!

What’s Your Favorite Fantasy?

No, no… I’m not talking about those fantasies. I’m talking about The Sims and all the fantastic creatures that have been part of the game throughout the years. Even though my playing experience with “other wordly creatures” has been limited, I do enjoy hearing stories from other players.

I’ve shared my first “alien encounter” — the time my grandfather got abducted — but I haven’t mentioned the other times I’ve tried playing with weird things in the game. Those werewolves and vampires have always intrigued me, but my realistic playing still soon rebels if I try to incorporate fantastic elements into my simming.

In Sims 2, I did have a few “knowledge” sims who wanted to see ghosts, and that fit rather well into the family’s storyline. Mr. Langley was a retired professor. His wife was also quite brilliant, as were their two sons. It was after Professor Langley retired that he became interested in the supernatural. His wife scoffed at him — skeptic that she was — but every evening he and his youngest son would sit out in the yard close to a wooded area complete with gravestone. It was entertaining for a while, but after they saw the ghost and she became a bit of a nuisance, I’d had enough. Fortunately, so had Mrs. Langley. She insisted her husband tear out that wooded area, get rid of the old grave he’d found there, and plant a lovely garden.

Yes, dear.

Next I tried playing aliens. This was also in Sims 2, and I allowed myself to expand my storylines into more “sci-fi” themes. I created an alien couple, and as I played them, I felt a strange sense of alienation. Seriously. Whenever they went out, everyone seemed to ignore them. It was a weird feeling. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not personally prejudiced against aliens of any sort, but the other sims in my game sure were.

The alien scenario continued for quite some time, and the tensions between human sims and the aliens — who had now expanded in my game — grew steadily. Soon there were rumors of war. Well, why not go with it? As a tabletop war-gamer, I was prepared to orchestrate a few battles, and it did become quite dramatic. War stories, you know. But when one of my favorite sims — the adopted son of one of the nation’s leaders — was killed in battle, I couldn’t handle it. This couldn’t happen in my game. I broke all my rules and resurrected him. He wasn’t killed as was first reported. He was missing in action. Later, he was found, and I returned him home to his wife and child. Alas, he’d fallen in love with one of the female fighters he’d been with. His marriage was over, his reputation as a hero ruined, and I quickly “signed a treaty” to end the war and banished all aliens to a planet of their own, never to be played again.

I tried vampires. They’re so much trouble! I really don’t understand the fun of playing a vampire. Same with werewolves. I tried it; I didn’t like it.

Now, plant sims were cute. I’ll give you that. I had fun with little plant sims — until they grew up. Nope. Not fun. Way too unrealistic for my playing taste. So, no more plant sims for me.

Witches, yes, I can live with. I believe in natural magic, and I feel there are awesome powers surrounding us. I had several covens in Sims 2, one of which was headed by Diana Warner — who became one of the most infamous sims in my game. I’ll be sharing stories of Diana from time to time.

MimsyNow, with Sims 4, I’m staying away from fantasy. Yes, an occasional ghost appears, but so far they’ve only been seen by one elderly gentleman who’s grown quite senile and a group of “goofballs” in therapy. Obviously these ghosts aren’t real, but only figments of the imagination.

So, what about your game? Are your ghosts real? Do you tell fantastic stories with aliens from Sixam? What supernatural creatures do you want to see in the game?

Testing the Limits of Reality

One of the questions that makes the rounds frequently at the Sims 4 Forum involves realism.  Players differ in the amount of realism they like in their games. For some, realism is almost a “dirty word”, while others — like me — do all we can to eliminate the “un-realistic” supernatural elements from our sims’ lives.

As a new player back in 2000, I was unconnected to the online world and blissfully unaware of any supernatural elements in The Sims…until the day my grandfather got abducted by aliens.  How did that just happen? That experience sent me to the internet searching for explanations and answers, and I’ve been actively involved in the simming community ever since.

Now, back with the original game, by the way, I did know that there were ghosts, but they sort of floated around the edges of my consciousness. I didn’t want ghosts in my game so I mostly ignored them. I found ways to avoid them and never gave them much thought.

As new supernatural aspects have been added to each game, I’ve bought the expansion packs, plucked out the more realistic elements to use and have devised “worst case” scenarios to get me through any unwanted encounters with fantastic creatures. With vampires in Sims 2, for instance, I told myself that if one of my sims got bitten, I’d write it into the storyline as a “strange, mysterious disease”. I learned, though, that I could keep my sims away from vampires — they were easily recognizable — and I no longer had to worry about them contracting some exotic illness.

Realistic players like me are often scoffed at by the supernatural fans.

For heaven’s sake! The game’s got ghosts, aliens, werewolves, vampires, witches, and plant sims, and you want to play with normal people?

I heard that a lot back in the days of Sims 2. I was missing out on so much fun by playing a dull, boring game. Realism sucked in the minds of a lot of players. Supernatural is where it’s at for them.

Another comment I’ve heard often through the years is this:

What do you mean, realism? There’s nothing realistic about The Sims. Mops appear and disappear, babies suddenly turn into children, and a black-garbed figure with a scythe comes strolling through the neighborhood. What’s realistic about that?

Excellent point. The game does have a lot of highly-unrealistic happenings. I counter this argument with simple logic. I’m not creating reality when I play; I’m only creating an illusion of reality. It works for me.

For those of us on the realism side of the fence, there are questions about how much reality the game should include. Some players find reality a bit boring, in fact. Years ago when “doing laundry” was first discussed as a possible addition, the idea brought out a lot of “real life” frustrations.

"Let's Do Laundry" by Mightyfaithgirl
“Let’s Do Laundry” for Sims 3 by Mightyfaithgirl is available at TSR. Click the picture to visit the site.

 

I hate doing laundry. I play my game for fun and doing laundry isn’t fun.

For many, of course, playing The Sims — in any of its multiple versions — is an escape from reality. Even without fantastical creatures — aliens, vampires, and the like — some players still prefer their virtual realities to be somewhat limited. No laundry. No disabilities. No routine visits to eye doctors, dentists, or pediatricians.

We get enough of those things in real life. We don’t need them in our games.

That’s a popular opinion, and I definitely agree that reality does have its limits when it comes to gaming. Each of us has to decide where we want to draw the lines. For me, it means excluding the purely fantastic — aliens and any other supernatural creatures — and ignoring unrealistic elements in my game play. I don’t make aliens, nor do I take actions that might lead to abductions.

Even so, I do still have a few “out-of-this-world” game elements. Two households have rocket ships sitting in their back yards. One also has a cow plant. I simply pretend and use my imagination to make these things fit into my version of reality. The rocket ships, I pretend, are not really in the backyard. They’re at NSSA — The National Simerian Space Agency — where those sims work. The cow plant? It’s a mutation that occurred when NSSA conducted agricultural experiments in space. As for all those weird events that “happen” when my astronauts go into space…well, I just ignore those and hope everyone returns home safely.

On the other hand, I have added a lot of realism that EA can’t include in the game. I have “teen sluts” who occasionally get pregnant. I have sexual predators. I have prostitutes, fortune tellers, and serial killers. I don’t use mods to create these scenarios; I use my imagination. It works.

The Sims is a unique gaming experience, and each of us can choose how we play. That includes choosing the degree of realism we want in our game.

How much REALISM is in YOUR game?