Gaming. We all do it. We all love it. We all pretend that we love our real friends better than the ones we made for ourselves on The Sims, but we also all know that’s total bull.
If I were to plot a graph of my big PlayStation and PC loves, it would look something like this:
Holla to anyone who recognises Majesty and Curse of Monkey Island in there – you wana come round and play? (If, on the other hand, your eye is immediately drawn to the Sims 2 baby, I am afraid you are probably a saddo like me who has taken family planning to its inevitable uncomfortable end).
These are the games that made me, where I learned that if your child misses the school bus because their toaster pastry took too long to cook they will most likely be abducted by social services, where you can get by for several days with no doors or windows as long as you have a bookcase to send those fun points rocketing, and where King Syndrome is a real thing that can be treated with one intense session of psychotherapy.
I am capable of holding off the goblin hordes, of being a world-class painter while holding down a full time job in the army and of riding my Barbie horse wherever the heck I like, all from the comfort of my chair, usually whilst eating a hamburger.
My Sims family may have been blossoming, but my real life relationships suffered. Saturday lie ins were traded in for an intense battle of wills with my sister, where whoever woke first would be stationed in front of the computer for the rest of the day. Passive aggressively manipulating the oven timer to extend your go and diminish your opponent’s was all part of the fun. And don’t even get me started on the outside world: if it wasn’t a realm I could conquer in Majesty, I wasn’t interested.
These days I probably have a more healthy relationship with gaming, in that I don’t really do it (except that one time where I lost a whole Summer holiday to Diner Dash…) If you ask me, the computing industry has done itself a disservice by improving the quality of its graphics. Whoever said the more realistic the game the better has clearly never played Simon the Sorcerer in all its pixelated glory or made a highly realistic version of themselves on Sims 3. The whole reason I play Sims is to live my dream life, and in that life my face is much less realistic.
But seriously, how is the fake life I make for myself on Sims that different from the one we project on Facebook? If anything, Sim me throws a far more realistic amount of tantrums. It could be that I’m on the verge of a highly philosophical point there, but I don’t quite have time to explore it – my Barbie horse won’t groom herself, you know.