Gen­er­a­tion XX

Baby, it’s cold out­side, and there’s a gi­ant to­furkey on the ta­ble.

PCPOWERPLAY - - Contents -

As I have pre­vi­ously men­tioned, the way I play The Sims 4 is di­a­bol­i­cal. Ev­ery­one is per­fect, no-one has any friends and the un­for­tu­nate town­ies who con­trib­ute ge­netic data to fur­ther­ing my fiendish lin­eage only see their off­spring if I can be both­ered invit­ing them over; which is never. There is, how­ever, one ex­pan­sion pack that al­ways in­spires hu­man­ity in me; melts my heart like spring snow, if you will. It makes The Sims feel that lit­tle bit more real. No, it’s not Laun­dry Day Stuff but, my word, that is an ac­tual thing. It is, of course, Sea­sons. My un­do­ing was im­me­di­ate. I in­vited the fe­male townie (who was only ever sup­posed to be a bi­o­log­i­cal ves­sel for my con­tin­u­ing mad­ness) in for a Grand Meal on Win­ter­fest. I even gave her a present; a new fea­ture which ef­fi­ciently im­proves re­la­tion­ships when you’re not wast­ing time on so­cial skills and re­wards. Then it was Love Day and I couldn’t ig­nore its as­so­ci­ated buffs, so I gave her flow­ers and more gifts. By Har­vest­fest, she was a fully func­tion­ing mem­ber of the fam­ily, mak­ing flower ar­range­ments, tend­ing the gar­den, and se­cretly woo­ing the scare­crow.

The cal­en­dar, which shipped with Sea­sons, means you can see when these new hol­i­days, in­clud­ing New Year’s Eve and Talk like a Pi­rate Day, will oc­cur. (You can even make cus­tom hol­i­days and tra­di­tions, like a bar­beque where ev­ery­one streaks or pays re­spect to the gar­den gnomes.) Other new fea­tures, how­ever, are less in­tu­itive. I thought I knew how gar­den­ing worked but this process has changed sig­nif­i­cantly. As I of­ten do, I went to Carl’s Sims 4 Guide to get some hints on how to stream­line my hor­ti­cul­tural over­achiev­ing.

As I of­ten do, I went to Carl’s Sims 4 Guide to get some hints...

Carl’s guide first ex­plained that the rea­son I hadn’t seen snow in Win­ter is be­cause I was play­ing in Oa­sis Springs, a desert re­gion. I guess this means it’s cold, but dry, and that each world has slightly dif­fer­ent weather. Snow or no snow, one of the ma­jor changes to gar­den­ing is that plants will only grow in their sea­son/s. I’d been keep­ing one per­fect spinach plant be­cause eat­ing per­fect spinach makes Sims +3 Happy, but it now lays dor­mant un­til Win­ter. I had also no­ticed tweaks, like area of ef­fect wa­ter­ing and tele­ki­netic plant evo­lu­tion, as the guide con­firmed.

I do have to ad­mit to be­ing a fan of Carl’s Guide. The first thing I ever helped write for PC Pow­er­play was a lengthy Sims 2 guide and, not be­ing privy to any of­fi­cial in­for­ma­tion, I still re­call how dif­fi­cult it was to defini­tively con­nect cause and ef­fect within sys­tems. I asked Carl Rat­cliff what the most chal­leng­ing thing about main­tain­ing his guide is. He says, “Mo­ti­va­tion. The ex­pan­sion comes out when it’s ready, but are you in the right place to write about it? I’m lucky to be writ­ing about games pro­fes­sion­ally and do re­mind my­self of that.”

Carl says he’s spent “thou­sands of hours over the last decade” cre­at­ing Sims guides and that a great guide “helps peo­ple to get more en­joy­ment out of the game be­cause learn­ing how things func­tion is key.” I also asked Carl which parts of his site get the most hits. He says, “Aside from want­ing to know how to cheat, peo­ple are look­ing for skill and ca­reer guides. They want to know how to care for ba­bies and toddlers, too.” Max­ing tod­dler skills on nor­mal speed is still one of my favourite self-di­rected chal­lenges in The Sims 4, as well as nail­ing adult ca­reers.

Al­though Carl sug­gests that “gamers want to know how changes will af­fect their char­ac­ter”, I’m gen­er­ally more sur­prised by how ex­pan­sion packs change me. I ac­ci­den­tally got quite at­tached to the townie-mum-gar­dener men­tioned above. Un­for­tu­nately, so did her fam­ily who were all +5 sad for days when the cow­plant ate her. So that’s what hap­pens when Sims care about each other. She was at level 8 of Flower Ar­rang­ing, too. Worse, Love Day rolled around again and her part­ner got the sad de­buff of non­par­tic­i­pa­tion be­cause I felt bad about mak­ing him date some­one new.

What has hap­pened to me? It’s okay. I al­ways got mushy when Sea­sons is re­leased. I was also some­what hot and cold on The Sims 4, largely be­cause the ini­tial gap in con­tent seemed egre­gious, even if emo­tions were an ex­cep­tional new fea­ture. And I do like packs with pre­scribed goals, like Jun­gle Ad­ven­ture. I’m al­most tempted to try out Laun­dry Day Stuff, just to see how ‘com­plete’ the game can feel be­fore we get magic and robot love in­ter­ests (an­other fea­ture that un­der­mines my ‘no love’ rule for some rea­son).

I’ve used Carl’s Sims guides for as long as he’s been mak­ing them. They pro­vide ex­actly the in­for­ma­tion I’m look­ing for and as Carl says, “We get ad­dicted to those level-ups and a sense of mov­ing for­ward.” Yes, in­clud­ing when toasty­warm win­ter feasts soften our hearts and playstyles. Carl’s guide also has fo­rums where you can join in chal­lenges, tell sto­ries or dis­cuss game fea­tures.

Meghann O’neill does form lov­ing re­la­tion­ships with her friends and fam­ily in real life, she prom­ises. Doesn’t do laun­dry, though. Her hus­band seems to get pos­i­tive moodlets from clean, white shirts, which is use­ful.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.