Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why The Sims fail.

Okay, before the massive protests pop my ears out, I’m going to make a disclaimer. I’m not saying Sims isn’t addictive. It is. It’s taken many countless hours from many hopeful girls (and some really sad guys) who enjoy it, which I must stress is in no way a measure of its calibre as a video game. Just because some programme can keep you glued to the computer for hours clicking here and there every couple of minutes doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a game. By the same logic, this could be a game too:


What I’m saying is, games do have a certain calibre that needs to be respected. It’s a work of art, just like that awesome film you watched last night that keeps haunting you and is constantly replaying in your head, or a really well written novel. Sure, a big chunk of games consists of a lot of planning and technical stuff, but just as importantly, games need imagination and creativity. It’s like a really good film script; without it, all you have is shit like Ben Affleck films.

So I’m saying that compared to the many other games out there, The Sims fails. It’s a well planned out game, it’s not handicapped by bugs or poor playing experience, but in terms of the script or imagination, it is thoroughly lacking.

Let’s make a comparison for a bit, okay? Left 4 Dead: A group of immune survivors left to defend themselves in a zombie infested city. Fallout: You are a survivor in a post apocalyptic wasteland, scavenging for items and subject to its anarchist rule. Starcraft 2: Choose whether you want kick your opponents' ass by swarming them with a bunch of Zerglings, slicing them down with some Zealots, or just using the brute firepower of the Terrans.

In all these games, some really awesome dude sat down and really thought about what he/she’d like to come to life, and then proceeded to make a really awesome game where you could live out your fantasies.

Even if it involves a lot of sex.

In comparison Sims,

Doesn’t force you to imagine anything.

Honestly, it doesn’t. In Fallout, you’re given a choice in your adventures whether you’d like to give some dying beggar a bottle of your precious clean water, or blow his head off and take whatever stuff he has on him. As a matter of fact, you can blow anyone’s face in Fallout universe and take whatever they have on them. A vendor selling you bullets at ridiculous prices? No problem. Take a faceful of lead motherfucker. Some slaver wants you to enslave a 14 year old kid? Indulge in your inner doucheness and enslave the kid, or do the right thing and blow the slaver’s brains out.

Doing the right thing. Sort of.

Makes you wonder doesn’t it, if the world really did turn dystopian, would you be an asshole, or a Saint?

With Sims on the other hand, the game makes you wonder if... the couch should be facing the stairs, or if it’s blocking the way to the toilet, or does it match the rest of your furniture, and if you can afford it, and how ‘comfortable’ it is. Perhaps you spend hours arranging your expensive furniture after meticulously choosing the most matching colour and theme, but here’s the thing: All that meticulous planning does nothing for your Sim. You don’t level up, or earn more money, or go to the next stage of the story because, well, there is none. The Sim doesn’t give a shit whether that antique dressing table matches your new, modern, plasma T.V. As long as it’s expensive, it works, which kinda shows what a shallow, gold-digging douchebag a Sim is.

And if you like playing it what does that make you?

The only choice you’d have to make as a Sim that probably has the teeniest consequence is the occasional Job chance cards that come out while you’re at work, like if your Sim is a video games developer, this chance card might pop up:

“YourSim has a brilliant idea for a video game about running the lives of people in their own homes, but she is having a difficult time finishing the storyline for one of the group characters. One couple needs to be broken up, but YourSim doesn’t know how to do so in a creative way. Should YourSim write a story so that Aliens take the wife away while looking at the stars, or something else?”

Done rolling your eyes at the game’s self reference? Good, let’s get back to it. While this may seem like an interesting problem, it really isn’t. Each choice has a chance of either rewarding you with a lot of money, or it goes wrong and you have to pay money in damages. That’s it. You don’t become a celebrity or win award for the game which instantly gives you +7 stamina so you can stay up longer to do more push-ups or have more ‘WooHoo’ with the girlfriend, you just lose money. Which can be regained by well, working for like, 30 Sim days (approximately like an hour of real time).

And just F.Y.I, Fallout 3 addressed the above issue in an awesome kickass way. The correct answer was to steal another woman’s lingerie, and leave it on the desk in the basement. The wife finds the lingerie when she goes in there, and then consequently dumps his ass. You can even stay in their house to listen to the messy break up conversation. Or even kill them both, if you don’t think you’ve fucked their lives up already.

In Post Apocalyptic America, shooting the person is always an option.

But coming back to my point, basically my beef with Sims is that it doesn’t offer anything to the gamer’s imagination. The world you live in Sims is a world where you are a middle/ upper class, urban family, which you probably already are if you’ve decided to spend 170 ringgit on the game, or subsequently the minimum 3, 000 ringgit computer to play it. You don’t even get to experience what it’s like if you were, let’s say a thug who can’t find a job because you were institutionally discriminated by society and have to resort to a life of crime.

Unlike these guys.

Which would make life in Sims...

Absolutely normal and boring.

It does. The game involves you trying to manage your time between taking a dump, bathing, eating, cleaning, sleeping, changing, watching the T.V, and going to work. And just like real life, you don’t have enough time to do all of those without sacrificing something like your social life, or skipping work every once in a while. Heck, you don’t even get to take your girlfriend out on a date or take your wife out for your anniversary or spend some time with the buddies without having the constant danger of just dropping down and falling asleep wherever you are.

Now this is the most mind boggling part of the game for me. I mean, Seriously? If I wanted to do all those things I might as well just go and do it myself in real life. You gotta really sit back and ask, ‘Why am I paying 170 ringgit to see a miniature pixelated version of myself go to the toilet and take a big shit?’

Answer: Because you’re a tool.

And then somehow if you did stick it through the game, made enough friends to make it to the top of your career ladder, finally saved up enough money to buy the most expensive crap and never have to work again, then, and only then, do you finally, finally get...

The level 80 equivalent of Sims.

...nothing. Because the game never ends, and it’s just a big cycle of never ending boredom. The only thing you might experience is quarter/mid-life crisis, realizing that the 20 hours or so you played the game could’ve been spent at the gym, reading one of my posts, or playing an actual fun game.

Fail rating: 5/10

Why rempits, (and some people from the government) fail.

If you’ve roamed the streets of KL in your car or as a pedestrian in the early hours of the mornings, you may have encountered a group of douchebags on motorcycle travelling in formation and hogging the road and basically breaking every traffic rule ever created, just because... well, they’re douchebags.

Typically, these riders are Malay youths with cheap motorcycles that opt to switch perfectly working parts like the muffler, which is originally designed to lower the decibel count of any motor vehicle, and replace them with loud mufflers that announce to everyone within earshot how lacking in self respect they are.

They’re also always seen speeding on highways and roads doing stunts that impress absolutely no one, except maybe rempit girls. I mean seriously, when was the last time you were walking down the street and saw a rempit do a superman stunt or other and stopped and gave a standing ovation with tears in your eyes? Never. As a matter of fact, come on, let’s be honest here, I bet the only reason you stopped and watched is only because secretly you want that little shit to trip over his motorcycle and do a REAL fly-through-the-air superman stunt don’t you?

My photoshop skills suck, but then again, so does your face.

But you know, honestly, I get it, why they do that. These guys have illegal races where they just race through highways and for the winner, there’s a crash a prize and your very own minah rempit, your floozy for the night. Glory, girls, and gold, what’s not to like?

Well for starters,

1: You’re inconveniencing the fuck out of everybody else.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been delayed on the road where a group of rempits decide to hog the road, and they have this facial expression that says I-have-nothing-to-do-so-i’ll-just-take-a-leisurely-ride-along-my-bike-please-excuse-the-dick-on-my-face while they ride. They’re the equivalent of bums who just ‘hang about’ on all sides of the road and slow everyone else with a life down. During these ordeals I spend the time wasted trailing behind them imagining them to be neatly arranged bowling pins, and I’m driving one giant ass bowling ball.

Or, alternatively she could throw her bowling ball at them.

But the problem is, when they become roadkill I would’ve continued the cycle by inconveniencing the honest, hardworking road cleaners that make sure we have driveable roads in the morning.

It’s pretty obvious no one appreciates the hours of hard work you put into risking your life on the road. Which brings me to...

2: No one’s impressed. Really.

I can’t even stress how important this point is. No one is impressed guys. Let me say it in another language just for emphasis; Takder orang ingat kau gempak. When you pull off a stunt, we groan in disappointment because we didn’t see you fall, and when you don’t pull it off, we say ‘see, I told you so’. In case you think this is me being a little prick, google ‘rempit accident’. The search comes up with 313,000 entries, with a disturbing majority of them titled ‘Mat rempit kepala pecah’, which just goes to show that a large majority of KL citizens are deriving a sense of pleasure watching a rempit break his freaking head.

The only thing people enjoy watching you do.

You know what would really impress us instead? If we saw a rempit reading while riding the motorcycle. That would be one goddamn bad ass stunt. As a matter of fact, skip the riding the motorcycle part altogether. Just pickup a book and read, we’ll salute you and shake your hand, because your awesomeness factor would have risen by about 1000 percent.

We’ll call it, ‘The Reader’.

And while we’re talking about impressive stunts...

3: There’re better ways to get chicks.

Contrary to popular belief, it turns out there’re better ways to get chicks than to constantly do dangerous idiotic stunts that could kill you at any time. For example, getting a job, or starting your own business; basically, anything indicating that you are upwardly mobile on the social ladder, promising a good life for her and not out robbing handbags off innocent women and causing public disturbance is a universal aphrodisiac guys. I don’t know, there’s just something about you not making a goddamned fool of yourself and being a productive member of society that makes women want to take their clothes off for you. If you want an example of it, you know the burger stalls that open till late at night that feed you after that long hard night of being a douchebag on the road? Yeah, that guy has rocked more women’s worlds than you have. Cause the dude’s moving on up.

Gets way more ass than you do. And not just because the sign reads ‘gangster burger’. No seriously, it does.

But really, maybe I’m being too hard on rempits, because let’s face it, we don’t exactly frown upon or discourage such behaviours. I mean we the people do, but institutionally, we give them a free pass to every-goddamn-where. Honest. This guy actually termed them ‘Mat cemerlang’ (loosely translated, ‘successful dudes’), because riding around being a public menace is apparently his definition of making it in this world.

Or maybe you can look at the state of Kelantan that decided enough is enough and that to finally rid this menace once and for all, they will fucking... give them a brand new 10 million dollar race track .


There’s only one solution to end rempitism, and that is to recreate Bruce Lee to do this:

Fail rating: 7/10