IT’S A SIMS WORLD OUT THERE – an exploration of meaning-making through Sims game play.
The Sims is arguable one of the most popular PC games ever. With its latest launch, The Sims 4, witnessed a massive turnout of 408,150 copies worldwide only four days after its launch and more than 1.10 million copies worldwide in just two months. The Sims has presented itself to be an alternative digital world of characters, love, conflicts, and emotions. Being one of the best-selling game of all time, it has truly placed itself on a pedestal of not only gaming culture, but contemporary culture in general.
(source: VGChartz through Wiki)
The thing that attracts most players to The Sims isn’t its graphics nor its advanced technology, but its incorporation of both simulation and game (Sihvonen, 2009). “Games are defined by the relationship between the designer and the player” (Chan, 2003). Undoubtedly, it’s the new-found collaboration of the game’s mechanism (i.e ruleset of the game, its aesthetics, its programming) and gameplay (the actualisation of these simulative qualities) that leads the players into a god-like position towards their own world. Never before have the gamers been made so powerful and free in their own decisions. That is why The Sims is greatly open for different interpretation, with countless discussions surrounding how we can make sense of this universe.
Placing The Sims into meaning-making of games and it serves as a powerful paratext of how we can read sociological traits in a video game. And indeed, the critical study field of games have argued that “games as opposed to literature and film are not static representations made of fixed sequences of events but rather dynamic simulations” (Albrechtslund, n/a).
Based on these foundation texts, my digital artefact will serve as a beginning exploration into the sociological effects of The Sims through its relationship with its players. I will emerge myself in the game, noting down thoughts and findings that are relevant to my research as a source of reference. Furthermore, I will engage in The Sims communities on YouTube (through walkthrough videos, game analysis videos), Reddit (r/thesims, r/sims4), and the Tumblr community (aesthetic blogs, discussion blogs, mod blogs) as my primary source.
Please leave a comment if you’re also an active Sims player and give me some suggestions on how I can improve on my project!