Electronic Playground Previews TheSims for PS2

Thursday, August 1, 2002 - 23:00

"A brilliant game, coming to the PlayStation 2, and bringing with it original gameplay and social possibilities beyond those of any other PlayStation 2 title."

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The Sims on PlayStation II Preview

Bottom Line
A brilliant game, coming to the PlayStation 2, and bringing with it original gameplay and social possibilities beyond those of any other PlayStation 2 title.

With more than seven million copies sold, The Sims is now the number one selling PC game of all time. And, unlike the game it replaced as the top-selling game of all time, Myst, The Sims is an outstanding game, and truly deserves the title. There is just something compelling about creating your own little Sim and guiding him or her through his or her virtual life. The freedom that the game gives you to experiment with lifestyle choices (like, just for example, never cleaning your room, or relieving your bowels whenever and wherever the urge strikes you, or spending all your money on pinball, or making a pass at your friends' wife, or even trying to see how long you can survive living in a single room with no exit), is amazing, and the attachment that a perfectly sane gamer can develop for a little virtual extension of his or her self is quite simply phenomenal and attested to by the incredible number of expansion packs that have been sold for The Sims (over 16 million, or more than two of the possible four expansion packs for each copy of The Sims).

Obviously, the idea of bringing The Sims to the PlayStation 2 is an appealing one. First, it represents a type of gaming that, until this fall, has not been available to console gamers (except sort of with Seaman on the Sega Dreamcast), and, even more importantly, The Sims represents a type of gaming that appeals to a much broader group of people than your typical hack 'n' bash 'n' race 'n' crash fifteen-year-old console game player. Your mother may enjoy The Sims. Your significant other is almost sure to enjoy The Sims. Your grandmother might like The Sims. Your sister, your auntie and your dairy-farming second cousin twice removed are all candidates for loving The Sims when it comes to the PlayStation 2. It is very likely to become the best selling PlayStation 2 game of all time, just as it became the best-selling PC game of all time.

That is, of course, if the developers can manage to translate the game's interface to a console gamepad, a task that doesn't seem like it should be very easy. The Sims was designed for play controlled by a keyboard, and on the PC, you use a lot of that keyboard controlling your Sims and their environment. Yet, in a recent demonstration, we were pleased and surprised to find that interacting with anything in your Sim's environment is as simple as scrolling the thumbstick-controlled cursor over it and pressing a single button. The game seems to play very well with this easy system, into which a lot of thought has been directed.

Other PlayStation 2 changes to The Sims include level-based gameplay to guide newcomers through the game, PlayStation 2-specific items, a much more detailed character customization system (unlocked by purchasing a vanity mirror, with special hair styles, etc. discoverable in the level-based game), and two-player split-diagonally-screen play.

This two-player possibility is very intriguing, allowing someone experienced to guide a new player through the game--imagine considering a PlayStation 2 game session "quality time" with your parents, siblings, significant other, great aunt, etc. It's possible that The Sims, with its moderate play pace, and richness of conversation starters, can be just that.

We can't wait.


  • The possibility of actual social, quality time while you play with someone else
  • Full 3D
  • Events and items unique to the PlayStation 2
  • Level-based gameplay helps new players enjoy the game
  • Controlling the game with the gamepad actually works


  • They insist it works best, but we still fear the weirdness of diagonal split screen
  • Level-based gameplay could be a restraint in what has always been a completely open game


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