What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that these games let players have their Sims do any number of things, be it fall in love, eat breakfast, get undressed down to underwear before slipping into bed, kissing with someone on a couch, or getting into bed to "woo-hoo" with other Sims (nothing graphic is seen, however). The game does not contain nudity, bad language, or any major scenes of violence. The game's "Crude Humor" warning reflects the belching, whispering a dirty joke to another Sim, or seeing your Sims use the toilet (though the characters are pixilated at this point, which makes them fuzzy).
What's it about?
THE SIMS LIFE STORIES lets you choose to play as a young woman, Riley Harlow, who finds herself caught between a new beau and an old flame, or as Vincent Moore, a successful tech entrepreneur in search of someone to share his comfortable life. Each story takes place over 12 chapters, plus you can also choose "free play," which is more akin to the classic The Sims storyless gameplay. You must micromanage the lives of virtual people ("sims") by having them eat when hungry, sleep when tired, develop relationships, and take on a job to make money so you can buy items to customize their homes. The game mechanics work more or less the same in Life Stories, except you follow a specific story. Consider Life Stories a romantic comedy.
Is it any good?
Similar to past Sims games, much of the humor lies in the gibberish language spoken by the sims, along with the cute animations, such as tickling someone, tossing out a stinky bag of trash, or the pixilated body parts when your sims need to use the toilet. Life Stories offers a fun twist on Sims gameplay, but it isn't perfect. A number of artificial intelligence problems can disrupt the experience. Another problem is related to time, which sometimes seems out of sync in the different locations.
Other odd behavior might be fixed with a downloadable update from EA: Riley can serve drinks at a house party in her underwear, for example, yet her guests don't say a thing. Despite these shortcomings, Life Stories is a very fun game, whether you've played any of the past Sims games or not. In fact, you may find that you're more interested in what will happen to your sims than you are willing to admit.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about why these Sims games are fun. What do you like to control about the lives of these little simulated people? How is their world unrealistic? For kids who have played other versions of The Sims, do you like this story format better? Why or why not?