GameSpy Introduces The Simprentice

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - 22:10

"With The Sims 2: Open for Business on its way, GameSpy delves deep into the cutthroat world of Sim-Entrepreneurs."

Read The Simprentice Part 1

The SimPrentice: Part 1

By Dave 'Fargo' Kosak

With The Sims 2: Open for Business on its way, GameSpy delves deep into the cutthroat world of Sim-Entrepreneurs.

Always on top of the latest happenings on the Sims front, GameSpy has followed the development of each new expansion. We looked at letters home from a Sims U. student and we chatted with a hook-up artist for Nightlife. But coming this March, the new Open for Business expansion will allow Sims to create and run their own businesses. How does it all work? We decided to follow a business up from the ground level in a new multi-part feature we call The SimPrentice.

The Sims 2 Open For Business

Fargo: Open for Business promises to allow Sims to go into business for themselves. But how does it actually work? What will people be able to do with their Sims? To find out, we hooked up with Grubbs, a full-time slacker who's decided to become a part-time entrepreneur. We'll track his progress through several columns over the coming weeks and learn all about the expansion in the process.

The Sims 2
Grubbs: Slacker. Businessman.

Grubbs: Dude, I gotta say, I'm flattered GameSpy has so much confidence in me.

Fargo: Actually we figured, 'If Grubbs can run a business, anyone can.'

Grubbs: Werd.

Fargo: So tell us: you majored in Philosophy at Sim State University. What did you learn there to prepare you for the business world?

Grubbs: I learned deep metaphysical stuff about the nature of reality.

Fargo: So... nothing then?

Grubbs: Nothing... or everything. But as it happens, there's a whole separate set of talents that Sims use for business that they can't learn through the regular game. For instance, there's a sales talent (that helps you sell stuff to other Sims), or a flower-arranging talent, or a toycrafting talent -- even a restocking talent. You learn these through experience.

Fargo: And what talents do you have?

Grubbs: None, dawg.

Fargo: I guess you've got to start somewhere. So, walk us through the process: you want to start a business. How do you do it?

Grubbs: Well, first you've got to decide on a location. You can buy a vacant community lot for just a few thousand simoleons, and there you can build up a business from scratch. That'll run you some serious coin, but you can build a huge store that way. Or, you can run a business from home, like I am. All I did was I picked up the phone and told the operator I'm opening my own business in this primo, primo location.

Fargo: This looks like your parents' garage.

Grubbs: Right on! Sweet, hunh? Anyways, once you start a business, you can buy these special lockable doors. I can use them to tell people if my business is open or closed, and I can use them to keep customers out of the main house so they don't walk in on my parents -- while they're -- [the color drains from Grubbs's face] -- I've been there.

How to succeed in hairstyling without really trying...

Fargo: What types of businesses can Sims run?

Grubbs: You can build just about anything. You can create a retail store where you sell stuff to people. You can even build your own products, like, you can build toys to sell in a toy store, or use the robot-making talent to build robots for people --

Fargo: Whoa! We'll have to talk more about robots in a future column. What else can you build?

Grubbs: You can also run your own nightclub or restaurant, which was my first choice, but my parents have this weird thing about dancing cages. Another way to run a biz is to charge people for each item use. For example, voila! I've invested in one of THESE!

The Sims 2 Open For Business

Fargo: Very cool -- that's a salon chair. That will let you give Sims haircuts and makeovers?

Grubbs: Correctomundo! I'll use my "cosmetology" talent on other Sims, then charge them for the service ... whether they like the results or not.

Fargo: But you don't have any cosmetology talent. What made you decide to go into the makeover business?

Grubbs: I did my market research. Turns out that when EA polled all of the Sims users out there, giving Sims makeovers was like the number one business people wanted to run. I can only assume it's because everyone hates how everyone else looks. I plan to take that hate and turn it to cold hard simoleons.

Fargo: God bless capitalism. But you still don't have any experience.

Grubbs: I'll slowly get cosmetology experience with each makeover I give. Eventually I'll even earn special cosmetology badges and I'll be able to do more makeover-related actions.

Fargo: So in other words you're just going to ... practice ... on paying customers? Isn't that a disaster waiting to happen?

Grubbs: That's how I roll, bra.

Fargo: Okay, now you're open for business in your parents' garage. Any moment now, customers will just come strolling in through the door. In the meantime, explain to me the new little doohickey I see on the corner of the screen?

The Sims 2 Open For Business

Grubbs: That's called the "Business Tracker Puck" by those in the know. You can see that every business has a rank, and you can click on those little icon jobbies to flip out these wingdings that allow you to set the price of your goods, adjust the cost of admission, manage your employees, etc.

Fargo: Thanks for that ... very technical ... explanation.

Grubbs: I'm deep like that. WHOA! CUSTOMER!

Fargo: You really shouldn't shout at your customers as they come in. It's bad form. Now, I can see from your Business Tracker Puck that every customer has a customer loyalty rating, either positive or negative.

Grubbs: That's right. Now, MaryLoo here has a neutral opinion of me because she's not aware of the work I do. But watch what happens once I CUT HER HEAD!

The Sims 2 Open For Business

Fargo: Lots of factors impact customer loyalty -- I guess we'll talk more about it in a later column -- but presumably it'll go up if she likes her makeover. What happens if she hates it?

Grubbs: I put a keg in the corner, just in case. Now here, watch the man in action!

The Sims 2 Open For Business
The Sims 2 Open For Business

Grubbs: TA Daaa!
Fargo: Whoa. Did you do that intentionally?

Grubbs: Well, yah, whenever you use the salon chair you go right into the face and hair editor so you can totally change up the look of a Sim. Of course, uh ... mistakes happen now and then.

Fargo: For the love of life, brother, don't hand her that mirror!

The Sims 2 Open For Business

Grubbs: She's crying. That's bad. Is that bad?

Fargo: She looks like the love child between Gene Simmons and a Teletubby.

Grubbs: Good thing I get the money either way.

Fargo: Well, that's one less customer. What next?

Grubbs: Au contraire! No matter how bad things get, you can still turn it around with quality customer service. Why, just look at this fine business establishment I have here. Customers can't help but feel at home.

Fargo: That's because it's in your house.

Grubbs: See, I hung a dartboard up. Customers can relax and chill and have a good time.

Fargo: There's even a cot here to sleep on. Wait -- Grubbs, did you build this business in your bedroom?

Grubbs: Some of my floorspace is, in fact, dedicated to employee accommodations. Now watch and learn, I'm giving her another makeover.

The Sims 2 Open For Business

Fargo: Whoa, I'm impressed. That's actually ... kinda hot.

Grubbs: It's the patented GrubbKut, boy-ee! Now, Sims have weird tastes, so there's no telling what they'll like or hate, but I think I've scored a winner here.

Fargo: She likes it! Okay, let's "Visualize Success," Grubbs. If your business does well, what can you expect?

Grubbs: Well, eventually I can make serious coin. Plus, with enough loyal customers, my business will grow and I'll be able to pick more and more rewards. I'll be able to buy stuff cheaper, or motivate my employees, or sell stuff for more money... I will finally be "The Man."

The Sims 2 Open For Business

Fargo: Well, you're off to a great start. Tell me, how are your profits doing?

Grubbs: As you can see, profits are way up.

Fargo: Dude, you can't count your initial investment money as "profits."

Grubbs: No way. Seriously? Man, running a business is hard.

Fargo: When we next visit Grubbs, we'll take a look at the other types of businesses that Sims can run in the Open for Business expansion, as well as how each one works. Stick around to GameSpy for the next episode of ... The SimPrentice!

Grubbs: You're fired!

Fargo: You don't have any employees yet.

Grubbs: I always totally wanted to say that.

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