As an Avid Sims fan and consumer, I have been in love with The Sims for years. From building dream houses to virtual remakes of my own home, I have enjoyed almost every aspect of this age-defying franchise. The Sims has something to offer to everyone and offers so many avenues of pursuit that you can often get lost in the virtual soap opera of simulated life. In its many layers of amusement, it seems to also shed a spotlight on actual life as well.
In a recent free update for The Sims 4, a new career was added to the base game, enter the Freelancer. No longer are you tied to the dreary hourly schedule of having to race off to work, hoping that you completed your prerequisite performance needs to inch ever closer to that promotion. Gone are the days of watching your sim run out the door, only to be met with time rapidly flashing by as your screen speeds up to skip the work day. You too can be your own boss as a Writer, Artist or even Programmer!
While these constraints often mirror our normal working joe lives, I was quite surprised at how much more this put the spotlight on me. I felt oddly under the microscope, while constantly stressing and abusing my sim. Racing the clock against deadlines and only marginally taking care of my health and well-being. The Introvert achievement seemed trivial as my sim only ever left the house to take out the trash. Working well into the next morning and sleeping only when needed meant that days and nights were only a concept kept by everyone else. Social interactions were at an all-time low sending my sim into bouts of depression. As a last resort, I purchased a talking toilet just so I could talk to something during the day.
It is a wonder how a game can be so fun and oddly surreal at the same time. In my opinion, the new career offers more than just a new way to play the game, but also inches closer towards a comical parody of our ever-expanding modern lives. Perhaps The Sims can teach us all a valuable life lesson, and to stop burying ourselves in work and stop to actually enjoy what life has to offer. In the meantime, I’ll have to get back to chasing deadlines fueled by caffeine, cheap food and chaos.