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Full Steam Ahead – The Ship: Tutorial & The Sims 3

Time logged before Full Steam Ahead: 12 minutes and 84 hours, respectively.

Welcome back to normal Full Steam Ahead! I’ve come through the month of Adam with only moderate trauma. That means, for the foreseeable future, when the games I play for this series are bad, I’ve no one to blame but myself.

Somehow, that’s less comforting than I wanted it to be..

Wish I hadn’t used all “Come Sail Away” jokes for the last post about The Ship. Too bad there’s only ever been one nautically-themed song.

In any case, it’s time to get back into the swing of things! Time to play The Ship – Tutorial!

When I originally bought The Ship, it came bundled with a variety of other programs, including a multiplayer server, a single player game, and a short tutorial. Since I included every separate program in randomly generated order for Full Steam Ahead, it means that the tutorial is included in that list, in a separate place from the other games.

A few of this blog’s readers, including the infamous Adam, have questioned the wisdom separating games in this manner. To you I say… piss off, you didn’t buy September, I do what I want.

The first and only other time I’ve booted up The Ship – Tutorial, it took me 12 minutes. This time, it only took me 11 minutes to complete the tutorial. If nothing else, at least I’m getting faster. As tutorials go, it’s perfectly reasonable. It explains the game, the controls, the basic premise.

And then it ends, in less than a quarter of hour. It doesn’t generate any strong feelings or emotions. The tutorial imparts the necessary knowledge, and then goes off into the wild blue yonder. That’s all there is to it.

Doesn’t make for much of a post, does it? Fortunately, I have other games in my Steam library, including The Sims 3! And what’s more, there’s even a common thread between the two games. One of the aspects shared by both The Ship and The Sims is that your characters have needs that must be met: Hunger, rest, thirst, social interactions, and so forth… Okay, it isn’t a terribly thick or sturdy thread, but in a randomly-generated list you take what you can get.

35 games into Full Steam Ahead, I’m honestly impressed this didn’t happen sooner.

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. There have been games that work poorly, games that close unexpectedly, and games that I have to fight with to get working. This is the first game Full Steam Ahead cannot cover, because it will not work. I’ve tried the fixes and solutions listed online, and I cannot get The Sims 3 past its launcher.

This is also distressing, because The Sims is my wife’s favourite game series, and she was looking forward to seeing what I had to say about it. In fact, most of the 84 hours logged in The Sims 3 were logged by Sarah using my computer.

Fortunately, I have a backup plan. Also on my computer, downloaded through Steam’s primary competitor, Origin, is the follow-up to The Sims 3, The Sims 4.

The Sims series is a cartoonish life and social simulators in which players can build neighbourhoods, furnish houses, and create families to populate their world. At that point, they can choose to micro manage every aspect of their Sim’s life, or essentially let them pursue their own goals.

The major selling-point of these games is, undoubtedly, the customization. Sims can be cartoonish or realistic, elegant or slovenly, serious or goofy, or anywhere on a variety of spectrums when creating their identities. More than just their fashion choices, one can determine their moods, their habits (good and bad), their character traits, and their goals. In the actual game, these goals can be pursued or ignored at the player’s discretion. As impressive as the character creation is, the house-building is no less impressive. No doubt, someone who has spent a long time in this game could build a working replica of Buckingham Palace, and a Royal Family to live there.

For my part, I’m somewhat less ambitious. Kennedy is a passionate art-lover, who becomes a cat burglar by night. Joanna is a dedicated police captain who wants a safe community which to start her family. Together, for richer or poorer, they’re the Powells.

I would watch the cuss out of that show.

Immediately, my plan goes straight into the bin because somewhere between installments 3 and 4, the Sims got rid of the law-enforcement career. Joanna instead takes a job in the writing career path, While Kennedy takes a job a a street tough working for the local gang. So much for my single-camera dreams of canned laughter.

I could probably find a mod to give Joanna a police job. After all, there is an extraordinarily active modding community for The Sims games. Just in case the game didn’t offer enough options in building and clothing your creations, there are any number of wardrobe modifications, and no shortage of added lifestyle mods. One that’s been making some headlines lately is the mod that introduces illicit substances into the game. That’s right, someone is making money selling a mod to give you the ability to give fake drugs to your fake people. The future is a weird place.

Not long into playing, however, I remember why the Sims series never held much appeal for me.. A common complaint I’ve heard against televised games (on everything from minor card game let’s plays to the Olympic Games) is that the people watching others do something is somehow less interesting that going and doing something yourself. Watching someone else go to work, make dinner, and pay the bills, is not appealing to me. Even the idea of maximizing someone else’s life only holds minor appeal to me. After all, I can’t even properly maximize the outcome of my own life.

Like many simulators, or creation-heavy games, how much one gets out of The Sims depends on how much they put into it. If I put more time into this game, I could probably get a lot more out of it, but I don’t really want to.

Joanna Powell in front of her house. It’s a nice little virtual house, and it makes this virtual person happy. Job well done.

Why then did I buy the game in the first place? A long time ago, before Sarah was my wife, she recommended that I play The Sims 3. I wanted to get to know her better, and I felt playing games she enjoyed might help that. Fortunately, life isn’t quite that mechanical, and Sarah and I got to know each other better, even if The Sims didn’t turn out to appeal to me that much. Life turns out pretty well sometimes.

Even if I’m not a cat burglar.

Next Episode: Cosmic DJ

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