The Sims FreePlay Review

The Sims FreePlay Review

Mar 6, 2012

I remember the first time I played The Sims, back in the early 2000’s. I’d kind of missed the big wave of obsession over it, but decided to try it out anyway. I enjoyed it a fair bit, but managed not to get addicted (though I could completely understand how it would be easy for others to do so). I was less interested in building homes for my Sims than I was in playing puppet-master with them. I enjoyed creating their relationships and frustrating them sometimes. So when I saw that EA Games had developed a mobile version of The Sims I found nostalgia compelling me to try it out. And imagine this – it’s free!

The Sims FreePlay truly is free to download, and ad-free as well. That doesn’t mean users won’t necessarily end up spending some money on it, but I’ll get to that. The Sims FreePlay sets users up immediately with a Sim and its house. For those who aren’t familiar with the original game, Sims are people avatars that can be customized. This includes all of the details of their physical appearance, and there is a set of personalities. Once created, the Sim moves into its house, which is then customized as well. The Sims Freeplay is a bit different from the original in that Sims can also develop careers and have pets.

Sims are a little bit like Tamagotchis in that they have needs and wants which must be monitored and cared for. This includes their happiness, hunger, sleep, hygiene and, uh, need to use the bathroom. To motivate users to continue playing the game presents challenges to complete, such as building a garden for the Sim, or having it make a friend. Completing challenges earns XP which earns levels which unlock items to purchase. The Sims Freeplay has in-game money as well as “LP” that can be spent on items or activities. To keep Sims happy they have to do things like bathe, sleep, and listen to music. All of these activities take time, real-world time to complete. Luckily they will continue in the background when the program is closed, or else LP can be spent to speed them up. If users run out of earned LP then they can of course spend a few real-world dollars to gain more.

It’s a fun game, if you enjoy digital pets. Sims can be friends or even romantically involved with one another. It’s vicarious living at the extreme, and I think that’s why it’s so captivating. When Sims are sad they generate a lot of sympathy so the drive to keep them healthy and happy will keep people playing on and on.

It should be mentioned that it is a huge game which required me to clear out a significant portion of memory just for it to install. It was worth it for the graphics, but a bit of a hassle if users are not expecting it or don’t have a large enough memory card. It is completely worth it for the graphics which are insanely crisp. The only problem is that they are on a small screen which causes some details to be lost. There is a limit to how far users can zoom in on the game, and so mistakes can be made. For example I accidentally placed my Sim’s fridge door up against the wall, making it impossible to open. Hopefully I can solve the problem before my Sim dies of hunger.

Freaky Friday – Dreamboy Calculator

Freaky Friday – Dreamboy Calculator

Jul 1, 2011

Oh, calculations; where would we be without them? No doubt we would be spinning helplessly into the endless abyss of not really understanding things. That said, there are some things that not only don’t require calculation, but that, by their very nature, are incalculable. I’m talking, of course, about love.

Unfortunately, this week’s Freaky Friday app disagrees with me. It thinks that with the application of rigorous numerical tests, love can easily be worked out. All you need are a few statistics referring to your intended and a few statistics referring to your self and hey presto, Bob’s your uncle, love will happen. What a spectacular load of old nonsense.

When you add to that bucket of ridiculousness that fact that Dreamboy Calculator is obviously a straight, lazy port of an iPhone app, and you can see why it’s made it onto our whirlwind of the wrong.

The app allows you to keep track of your dreamboy matches, add them from your contacts and compare them against your own preferences. Say you want a rich boy with no sense of humour, then you rate your dream boys with sliding scales and see which of them is the richest and most boring. Yay, instant matches!

Of course, if they’re in your contact book, you could just text them and ask if they want to go and get a drink. That way, you can find out for yourself, sans calculations, whether or not they’re your dream boy. I mean, they’re probably not, but it’s worth a shot, right?

Dreamboy Calculator is stupid, vacuous and shallow and a fine example of everything that’s wrong with the world. All right, maybe not everything, but definitely the bits that involve love and relationships and common decency.

Or maybe I’m just upset because it said my dream boy match was only 19%. Dammit, I thought me and hypothetical Jonny were going to be together forever.

Dreamboy Calculator is available now, for free, from the Android Market