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the sims

The Sims 4 photo
The Sims 4

Like me, The Sims 4 keeps getting 'Smarter and Weirder'

Maybe just weirder in my case
Jul 01
// Brittany Vincent
In a new gameplay trailer released today, fans were given a sneak peek at the latest entry to the Sims franchise, The Sims 4. Many of the old Sims tropes abound, such as electrocuting yourself when you attempt to learn how t...
The Sims photo
The Sims

No pools or toddlers in The Sims 4 at launch

Well that's crummy
Jun 27
// Jordan Devore
The new Build Mode for The Sims 4 looks fantastic in that it just works -- you aren't fighting with the tools to design something halfway decent looking. There's one problem, though: no pools! In a blog post, The Sims Studio ...

The Sims 4: Aspirations and emotional traits systems shown

Jun 10 // Dale North
[embed]275865:54327:0[/embed] Aspirations are long-term goals for a Sim. When you build your character you'll pick from a selection to start along the path of one of these aspirations, which gives your Sim different goals to complete. You can make your sim athletic or knowledgeable, among others. I saw a demonstration where one Sim was set to become a computer whiz.  Traits come with these aspirations; these abilities and tendencies give your Sim more depth. For example, the "quick learner" trait can help your Sim build skills faster. So while the aspiration gives your Sim its overall goal, the traits under it have an effect on the Sim's overall personality.  Emotional traits could have your Sim being cranky all the time, and lifestyle traits could make it snobby. Maxis explained that these trait choices will even have an impact on how your Sim moves and feels. All of this plays into interactions with other Sims. A Sim's emotional state is affected by chosen interactions, the environment, and those previously mentioned traits. For example, being happy could lead to giving another Sim a heartfelt compliment. If they hit it of, a music-loving trait could have them talking about new albums. Traits can even have Sims building skills faster. That same music lover could pick up piano playing faster than normal, for example. And while we're on relationships, for the first time there's a new relationship track for The Sims 4, giving each a friendship track and a romantic track. This can bring about some interesting situations. I saw an example where a Sim wasn't exactly friends with another, but did have have romantic interests. They were like enemies with benefits. 
We've seen some of the key features of The Sims 4 since its announcement around this time last year.. We know, for example, how easy it is to create your character, and we've seen how they've overhauled the game's build mode. But Maxis has only briefly touched on how you'll create and develop your character's goals and emotions. We saw a bit more of how that works at a recent pre-E3 briefing.

Sims 4 photo
Sims 4

The Sims 4 lets you create and define your sims' personalities

Also, you can die from laughter
Jun 09
// Brett Makedonski
Want to play The Sims 4 with a hot-headed athlete? Or maybe as a hopeless romantic? That's going to all be possible, as The Sims 4 grants the player more freedom to craft the sims that they want. For the ...
Metal as hell photo
Metal as hell

Get stuck in the metal with this 17-minute tribute to video games

Make the gamers dance 'cause he's rock 'n' rollin'
May 31
// Brittany Vincent
What's more metal than a 17-minute instrumental medley featuring some of your favorite video game tracks? Anything Nathan Explosion touches, but that's beside the point. This impressive project was three years in the making,...

The Sims 4 new build mode shown off in new trailer

May 28
// Dale North
They've improved the build mode for the Sims, and you'll see exactly how it works in this new trailer for the The Sims 4. Instead of messing with little individual pieces, you can now simply slide around whole rooms, with th...

Creating a character in The Sims 4 is easier than ever

Manipulate with ease
May 14
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Oh right, there's a new Sims game in the works! Here's a new trailer for The Sims 4, specifically featuring how you'll be able to create your very own Sim. The new character creator has been overhauled, as the system is now ...
CENSORSHIP!!!!!! photo

Russia brands Sims 4 18+ because of same-sex relationships

Putin the Sims in jail
May 10
// Steven Hansen
Look, The Sims can get villainous. You play god and can deprive a simulated individual of basic necessities or trap them in a swimming pool or whatever. But Adults Only? Due to a backwards 2012 law that restricts the promotio...
Watch this, fo' real photo
Indie Game The French Movie
This is confusing, but cool. Pixel Heart is going to be a documentary that visits a bunch of talented, global folks in videogames -- Tetsuya Mizuguchi (Rez), Robin Hunicke (Sims, Journey), Edmundo Bordeu (Zeno Clash), Mark H...

The Sims photo
The Sims

The Sims 4 releases fall 2014

Recreate your friends and family and do terrible things to them
Oct 22
// Jordan Devore
Electronic Arts has given the heads up that The Sims 4 will be out in fall 2014. Good to know. I always like it when a full numbered Sims is about to release because then I can concentrate on it and not feel like I'm missing ...
The Sims 4 photo
The Sims 4

The Sims 4 is super customizable, uses lots of EMOTIONS

If I knew Simlish I'd put some here
Aug 20
// Patrick Hancock
We knew that The Sims 4 was coming, but the game was finally detailed and shown off at Gamescom today. Gameplay will largely have to do with emotions, so if your Sim is pissed off they won't be able to flirt and so you ...

Titanfall will be playable to the public at gamescom

As will a bunch of other Electronic Arts games
Jul 31
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Electronic Arts will be at gamescom in a big way this year, and they're bringing a big lineup of games that people can get hands-on with. The most notable being Titanfall, our game of the show for E3. Fans can also play Battl...
SimCity photo

SimCity feedback led to an offline The Sims 4

EA is 'making changes to the business practices that gamers clearly donít like'
Jul 24
// Jordan Devore
The disastrous launch of SimCity is over and done with. Emerging from the wreckage with two million sales and counting, Electronic Arts is considering allowing the game to be played offline like many of us originally wanted. ...
Sims 3: Dragon Valley photo
Sims 3: Dragon Valley

The Sims 3: Dragon Valley lets you play with baby dragons

It's like The Sims Medieval, but not
Jun 03
// Joshua Derocher
The Sims 3: Dragon Valley is a new medieval-themed world available from The Sims 3 Store. A family has moved into town and they brought some baby dragons with them. There is a story between two quarreling families trying to ...

Wolfenstein's New Order, EA Wars & Presidential Nad-Kicks

The Destructoid Show eats pizza and stays up late
May 07
// Max Scoville
Today's Destructoid Show is here to tell you all the worst news about video games. And also some good news, too, I guess. Wolfenstein: The New Order has been announced, and it has robots. Disney has handed over the Star Wars...
The Sims 4 photo
Yes, it's playable offline
In a short, rather bland announcement, Maxis has announced its next project: The Sims 4. It's due out on Windows and Mac next year, and that's about all we know at this time. I mean, it is The Sims -- not like folks need much...

Review: The Sims 3: University Life

Apr 24 // Joshua Derocher
The Sims 3: University Life (Mac, PC [reviewed]Developer: EA MaxisPublisher: Electronic ArtsReleased: March 5, 2013 (NA) / March 8, 2013 (EU)MSRP: $39.99   Any Sim that is a young adult or older can decide to go to college, and if they decide to go they will be transported out of the game's main town into a separate town where the college exists. Once in the new college town area, Sims can either live in dorms, get their own apartment, or join a sorority or frat house. Living in close quarters with lots of other Sims can be a major pain, just like in real life, and now Sims can annoy their roommates to clean up after themselves. The actual classes and studying function almost identical to current jobs and schooling that Sims can do in the regular game. Once a Sim earns enough credits to get a degree, they will be able to start out in their chosen career with a higher salary. [embed]252210:48290:0[/embed] The most interesting addition is the introduction of social groups with the Jocks, Rebels, and Nerds. Jocks are sport-loving frat boys, Nerds are book lovers who enjoy reading comics, and Rebels are a weird hybrid of punk and hipster. Sims can gain popularity with these groups in order to make more friends and open up new career choices such as Sports Agent, Art Appraiser, or Video Game Developer.   There are a handful of new personality traits, my favorite being "Avante Garde" since it's basically the hipster trait. Now your Sims can accuse their friends of selling out, drink organic beverages, flirt with the local Barista, complain about the mainstream, or enthuse about an obscure band. I love The Sims franchise, and this is a fun expansion, but it doesn't feel like it's worth $40 to me. I would think about spending $20 on it, but the cost of The Sims 3 has just gotten way out of hand. EA is really pushing the boundaries of reality if they are expecting fans of the game to continue to buy every expansion that comes out, especially when the expansions mostly contain stuff from earlier versions of the game. University Life is decent on its own as an expansion, but when you stack it up against the other eight for The Sims 3 it really doesn't jump out as being that special. It's better than Seasons, but it's not game-changing. If anything, this just serves as a sign that the series is getting long in the tooth, and EA needs to think about releasing a complete edition to make all of this stuff more accessible to more players.
Sims 3: University Life photo
Care for a game of juice pong?
The Sims 3: University Life is expansion pack number nine for The Sims 3, and it's essentially a re-hash of the University expansion for The Sims 2. If you decided today you wanted to start playing The Sim...

Why people hate Electronic Arts

Apr 22 // Vito Gesualdi
Lack of creativity Electronic Arts is terribly afraid of the word "creativity." Being creative means taking risks, trying things which haven’t been tried before. EA, meanwhile, prefers to release the same game as many times as possible, seeing just how much money they can milk out of a franchise before the public realizes they probably don’t need the “Extreme Farming” expansion for The Sims.  I've said it before, but this is still the stupidest thing ever. For a good example of how shameless Electronic Arts is about their lack of original ideas, look no further than Goldeneye: Rogue Agent. After snatching the Bond license away from Rare and churning out an endless procession of uninspired shooters, EA finally decided to just try and trick people into thinking they'd crafted a sequel to the N64 hit. The game wasn’t even based on the movie Goldeneye, it was about a dude with an actual golden eye, which makes literally no sense whatsoever.  Worst of all, EA doesn't even have the decency to recognize when they've published another uninspired piece of crap. Medal of Honor: Warfighter was universally panned by critics, though rather than recognize their failure and learn from it, EA execs decided to loudly whine about how unfair the scores were. Is there anything more pathetic than a bunch of filthy rich executives crying because reviewers judged their game based on its merits rather than its gigantic marketing budget? Buying out the competition As established, EA hates coming up with new ideas, and nowhere is this more apparent than their massive lineup of cookie-cutter sports titles. Of course, who can really fault them for taking advantage of those knuckle-dragging cretins who are happy to pay $60 for the exact same game they bought last year? Look at how excited John Madden is about his royalty check.  That being said, it’s pretty pathetic to see how terrified EA is of their competition, likely aware that any developer with even a sliver of respect for the customer could easily blow their half-assed efforts out of the water. That’s exactly what happened in the case of Sega’s NFL 2K5, a game which was not only hailed as one of the best football games of all time, but actually sold for $10 less than EA’s latest lazy installment in the Madden franchise. Sweating profusely as they considered the idea of actually having to work for their consumer's money, the EA execs frantically called up their chums at the NFL, negotiating an exclusive contract and killing off any competing NFL game series, including NFL 2K and NFL Blitz.  Of course, Electronic Arts themselves actually brought back the NFL Blitz franchise in 2012, which is pretty disgusting when you think about it. It’s one thing to commit murder, it’s another to reanimate your victim's corpse and force it to dance for nickels.  Treating workers like Slave Labor You might argue that EA can’t be faulted simply for being good at business, and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve got nothing against good old fashioned capitalism. Problem is, Electronic Arts is a little too old fashioned, the company clearly pining for the days when where treating your workers like slaves was just par for the course. Ah, the good ol' days. See, in America we have something called “overtime law,” where any employee working in excess of forty hours in a week get paid at 1.5 times their normal rate for those additional hours. It’s supposed to encourage companies to hire additional workers, rather than simply hiring a burly guy with a whip to provide encouragement. Somehow though, EA never got the memo about not forcing your programmers to work like sweatshop laborers. In 2004, Erin Hoffman, the so-called “EA Spouse,” posted a scathing expose on how the electronic giant had treated her husband and other employees, forcing them to work as many at 84 hours a week  without any overtime compensation. Her speaking out led to three separate class-action lawsuits being filed against EA, the software giant forced to shelve their plans for motivational shock-collars. Beatings will continue until morale improves. Ruining companies In the 90s Electronic Arts set about buying up every awesome PC developer they could find, with the hopes of working with these talented studios to create great software values for the consumer... Wait, that’s wrong. What EA actually wanted was to buy up a bunch of already popular franchises, then force the developers to release an endless stream of crappy bug-laden sequels. Remember the biblical story of Abraham, who was commanded by god to take his son Issac up to a mountain and stab the kid with the first sharp rock he could find? It was kind of like that, except Issac was the Command and Conquer series and Electronic Arts wasn't kidding around about the “murder your child” decree.    C'mon Abraham, just ship Ultima IX. Who cares if it sucks? Not that EA cared as they helped run studios like Westwood and Origin into the ground. Once the studios were no longer profitable, they simply fired everybody and pocketed whatever cash they'd made. Everybody wins, except of course for those developers who were forced to stab their most-beloved creations to death.  Poor Richard Garriott. I hope he's happy now that he lives in space. Shamless Money-grubbing Though most publishers these days have resorted to a variety of tactics to earn some additional cash, Electronic Arts is perhaps the most shameless about these practices, eagerly trying to squeeze every possible dollar out of your wallet. Countless hours of login screen fun. Downloadable content - You can be sure every EA release will come loaded with it, much of which probably should’ve been included in the retail release.  Used games - Sorry buddy. If you want to play with your friends, you’re gonna need this ridiculous online pass.  Micro-transactions - Because your favorite video games are made better when you're constantly being asked to feed them quarters Digital-rights management - EA promises to make sure that playing the game you bought is as frustrating as possible, either loading your computer up with DRM software, or forcing you to wait weeks for them to fix the servers before you can actually play that copy of SimCity you bought. See, the reason gamers love companies like Valve, is because Valve makes it clear they loves the consumer. Gabe Newell has proven you don’t have to constantly shit all over your customers just to turn a profit. Every time I buy a game on Steam, I feel like I’m supporting a company which actually cares about me as a customer. With Electronic Arts, I get the feeling my money is being used to purchase orphaned children, whose souls are used to power EA's massive fear engine, gradually opening the portal to the hellish nightmare realm where their demonic overlords plot the total enslavement of humanity. Call it a hunch. Non-Existent Customer Service It’s interesting to see how different companies approach the issue of customer service. Many retailers hold by the old adage “the customer is always right,” going out of their way to please every patron. Electronic Arts goes by the motto "we hate you, give us your money," something which has unsurprisingly earned them few fans. Hi! How can we make your life miserable today?  EA's inability to care about their consumers was less of a problem back in the retail days, though the move towards digital downloads has forced people to deal with Origin's incompetent customer service reps. Got charged twice for Battlefield 3? That's a banning. An opponent swore at you during a game session? That's another banning. You pre-ordered Command & Conquer: Generals 2 before it got announced as free-to-play and now need a refund? Sorry bro, better luck next time. The recent SimCity debacle was excellent evidence of how little Electronic Arts cares about their customers. When you sell somebody a $60 product that doesn’t work, the right thing to do is offer them a refund. However, the idea of swimming in a slightly smaller money pool was enough to send EA executives to tears. No refunds for anybody, though you do get a free copy of whatever game EA calculated would least affect their bottom line. So, Electronic Arts has established the precedent that they are allowed to sell you something that doesn’t work, then refuse to give you back your money, and potentially ban you for complaining about it. If that’s not enough cause to cancel your Battlefield 4 pre-order, I don’t know what is. Preorder your inexplicable Origin banning today! In summary, Electronic Arts is like most American companies, their blind greedy love of money resulting in a terrible experience for the consumer. Though we can't argue that they put out some great games now and again, it's their crappy business practices which are the problem. The Worst Company in America? Maybe not, but they're definitely working hard to keep the title.  
Why EA Sucks photo
Worst company in America? You decide.
It wasn't much of a surprise when Electronic Arts was recently voted the Worst Company in America by readers of Consumerist for the second year in a row. Though the game publisher's sins are arguably less substantial than tho...


EA scrapping The Sims Social, SimCity Social

Oh, and Pet Society ... ha ha
Apr 15
// Jim Sterling
The Sims Social is being scrapped by Electronic Arts, along with fellow Facebook games SimCity Social and Pet Society. In the case of SimCity, this will be a case of a game shutting down less than a year after launch. That wh...
Brain training photo
Brain training

Play videogames for an hour a day to enhance cognition

Train your brain with games
Mar 20
// Taylor Stein
According to Adam Chie-Ming Oei and Michael Donald Patterson of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, playing videogames for just an hour each day can improve performance on subsequent cognitive tasks. Good news cons...
New releases photo
New releases

New releases: Construction finishes on SimCity

Plus Tomb Raider, Naturo, and Castlevania
Mar 04
// Fraser Brown
This Monday heralds a week of mayoral responsibilities and the raiding of trap-laden tombs, both of which undoubtedly require similar skill sets. As much as I'm a big fan of Ms. Croft, and it seems like her latest outing is ...

Five most notorious videogame ripoffs of all-time

Feb 22 // Vito Gesualdi
Zynga wasn't even creative enough to come up with their own RGB skintone values... Thing is, the laws regarding which aspects of a video game are covered by copyright are actually quite fuzzy, and unfortunately, EA and Zynga have settled the matter out of court, failing to establish the precedent so badly needed in this legal gray area. Just one look at the app store and you'll find hundreds of blatant clones, quick hack jobs thrown together to capitalize on the success of other popular games. Though if you dig deeper into the history of the industry, it becomes obvious that ripoffs have been a big part of the gaming industry since its very beginning. So, as a bit of a history lesson, here are five of the most notorious game ripoffs of all-time. The Great Giana Sisters When Super Mario Bros. first released in 1985, it revolutionized gaming forever; the wildly successful game laid the foundations for the side-scrolling platformer and showed off just how powerful Nintendo’s Famicom system was. In fact, the Famicom was actually more powerful than many home computers of the time, something made very apparent by Hudson’s disgustingly ugly PC port of Nintendo's most famous game. Who needs sidescrolling when you've got screen flicker? Interestingly enough, though developers eventually figured out how to make sidescrollers work on the PC, by that point Nintendo was no longer interested in porting their games, even turning away a spot-on a Mario demo put together by id Software (who would go on to use the technology in Commander Keen). So, with PC gamers eager for their own Mario game, it seemed obvious that someone would eventually come along with a simple clone to help fill this hole in the market. What people didn't expect is just how blatant they'd be about it. See, Time Warp Productions might’ve almost gotten away with cloning Mario if they’d had the sense to not make their lifts so painfully obvious. Despite some minor graphical changes (diamonds instead of coins, owls instead of goombas), The Great Giana Sisters looks exactly like Super Mario Bros. In fact, the first stage of the game is an almost perfect copy of the first stage of Mario, with the few extra pits thrown in before the final flag not enough to fool Nintendo's copyright lawyers. See, our warp pipes are orange. It's a totally different game. Though Nintendo never took any legal action against Time Warp, they did make it very clear to retailers that those continuing to peddle this blatant Mario clone might find their orders for Nintendo product going strangely unfulfilled. As a result, the game was quickly removed from store shelves, and is now quite a desired item for Atari ST and Amiga collectors.   However, the strangest thing about The Great Giana Sisters is that this strange, forgettable clone survived to the modern age. While as recently as 2009 the series was still ripping off Mario, the latest Giana Sisters’ game was actually a wholly unique puzzle/platformer. Though the series will likely always carry the stigma of having ripped off gaming’s most beloved franchise, it’s definitely interesting to see a series finally trying to find its own identity.    Most of Square's early game catalog Though Square (now Square Enix) has earned a reputation as one of the finest purveyors of RPGs (at least until Final Fantasy XIII…), there was a time when this fledgling game company was barely a blip on the radar. It wasn’t until Square got approved to develop games for the original Nintendo system that they really got to work… ripping off Sega. And don't ask why a company named Square has a stylized Triangle in their logo... See, in the mid '80s Sega had some of the most popular arcade games around, but the home ports were only available on their own Master System console. Square saw the chance to cash in with some quick clones and capitalized on it. One of their first releases, 3D World Runner, was a terrible ripoff of Space Harrier which kept most of the action on the ground, only letting you fly around and shoot dragons (see: the fun parts) during the tragically short boss battles. Not long after came Rad Racer, a blatant copy of Sega's arcade racer Outrun, which, despite being a minor hit, wasn't enough to pull Square's revenues out of the red. With Square’s money running out, company director Hironobu Sakaguchi decided to take a risk on ripping off the work of a different company, now looking to Enix’s wildly popular Dragon Quest (itself a ripoff of Origin’s Ultima series) for inspiration. Knowing that if the game failed he’d quit the game industry and head back to school, Sakaguchi realized this ripoff could be his “Final Fantasy.” Ms. Pac-Man When Pac-Man first hit American arcades in October of 1980, the little yellow circle immediately began gobbling up not just power pellets, but quarters as well, quickly becoming one of the most popular arcade games of all time. Given this wild success, North American distributor Midway was eager to put out a sequel, though the developers at Namco were strangely dragging their feet. Around this same time, three young programmers were realizing the potential market for arcade conversion kits. Arcades were constantly purchasing new games in order to keep players interested, but each new machine was a risky investment, as a bad game might not bring in enough money to cover the cost of the machine. Conversion kits were the perfect solution, letting arcade operators upgrade games that they already knew players would like, while costing much less than a new machine. The trio quickly formed the General Computer Corporation (GCC) and set to work making plug-in boards. The original Plug n' Play game. Unfortunately for the boys at GCC, their idea wasn’t too popular with arcade manufacturers, who stood to lose plenty to this new technology. Atari was the first to react, taking GCC to court over Super Missile Attack, a mod of Missile Command. Though the two parties settled, GCC realized it could be fairly risky to continue with their new venture. However, they’d already sunk much of their time into a ripoff of Pac-Man, called Crazy Otto. With nothing to lose, they decided to see if Midway would consider buying their mod. See, it's like Pac-Man with legs! Totally new! What happened next is gaming history. Midway liked Crazy Otto so much they actually signed a deal behind Namco’s back, rebranding the game as Ms. Pac Man and quickly releasing it to arcades. Though Namco’s own sequel, Super Pac-Man, would release later that same year, the souped-up ripoff of the original Pac-Man’s code was the better game by far. What’s even more interesting is that GCC would later take Midway to court over their game Baby Pac-Man (a similarly unauthorized sequel), claiming they were originally responsible for the idea of a Pac-Man family. I mean, it’s one thing to ripoff a game, another to have your ripoff become the game’s official sequel, and another entirely to sue the company who helped make your ripoff an official sequel because they liked your ripoff so much they started making their own ripoffs based on it. GCC makes laser printers now, which seems like a much less confusing industry. Angry Birds If you think you're sick of seeing crappy Angry Birds merchandise littering your local shopping mall, imagine how the developers of Castle Clout must feel, having devised the simple game formula which has now made Rovio millions of dollars in app sales and licensing deals.  This ranks right below Decca Records not signing The Beatles on the "missed opportunity" list. Though Castle Clout is definitely a bit rough around the edges, all the basic elements of Angry Birds are in there. Structures waiting to be toppled, various bad guys to be squished by the falling blocks, and a big catapult firing off a variety of projectiles. Though Angry Birds added some serious polish, and replaced the awkward catapult mechanism with some wonderfully responsive slingshot touch controls, at heart, it's still a clear evolution of this now forgotten flash game, and you hope they'd at least have the courtesy to send the guy a free t-shirt. Indeed. Thing is, it’s kind of hard to be upset at Angry Birds. After all, the mechanic of using catapults to knock down structures can be traced back to, oh I don’t know… the ancient greeks? If anything, the real moral of the story is that if you have a successful flash game, get that thing on mobile phones as soon as possible, preferably adding a bunch of crappy cartoon animal mascots to it, so you can later brand every piece of merchandise known to humankind. The Simpsons: Road Rage The Simpsons: Road Rage is what happens when you have the rights to one of the most successful television franchises of all time and zero total creativity. I like to imagine that someone in the planning meeting for this game asked, “Why would the Simpsons be driving taxis?” before being dragged down to the basement and bludgeoned to death with sacks of money. Remember, this is Electronic Arts: the same guys who invented a bunch of crappy original characters just so they could try to ripoff Marvel vs. Capcom. The same guys who wanted to make their own Goldeneye and came up with the idea of a guy with an actual golden eye.  This is unfathomably stupid. Point is, EA is full of dangerous psychopaths who care more about money than logic, and if they say the Simpsons are going to be driving taxis then you best shut your mouth and start programming. So, you might be wondering what makes Road Rage a notable ripoff. After all, there are plenty of crappy licensed titles which blatantly steal their ideas from other games, with The Simpsons having copied everything from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater to Grand Theft Auto without incident.  See, our game has a hand instead of an arrow. totally new! What Electronic Arts didn’t know is that, unlike the other developers they stole from, Sega actually owned patents on some very specific Crazy Taxi features. For instance: pedestrians that jump out of the way of a car, or giant floating arrows which show the player where to go. That’s right, Sega owns the rights to people not wanting to get hit by cars and arrows that point at things. They should’ve really pushed their luck and tried to get a patent for cars that drive really fast. Rather than take a chance on forfeiting all the money they’d made from the million or so copies of Road Rage sold, EA choose to settle the eventual lawsuit, much like they did this month in response to Zynga's counter-suit (saying it's okay that The Ville ripped off The Sims Social, because The Sims Social was ripping off CityVille to begin with). It seems that until a big company like EA decides to grow a pair and actually fight it out in court, small game developers are pretty much forced to accept that their original ideas will be endlessly cloned, as has been the case in this industry for decades now. Now, if only we could pass some laws outlawing crappy Simpsons games…
Videogame ripoffs  photo
Okay games, great lawsuits
When I first heard that Electronic Arts was suing Zynga over The Ville, a rather blatant ripoff of EA’s The Sims Social, I was pretty excited to see the outcome. After all, there’s nothing worse than a company whose only business model is to steal the works of small game developers, and given some of The Ville's obvious lifts, it seemed as though EA had a very solid case.


Gamer crafts slave-era tropical plantation in The Sims 3

The Sims: Colonial Capers
Jan 26
// Jim Sterling
The work of a bored -- but seemingly quite dedicated -- Sims 3 player has been gaining a lot of attention this week, ever since the fruits of his labor were posted to Reddit. While user-created content in games invariably lea...
Ni no Kuni photo
Ni no Kuni

New releases: Ni no Kuni arrives at last

Plus The Cave, ShootMania Storm, and more
Jan 21
// Fraser Brown
It's Monday, and that can only mean one thing: it's the beginning of another week of new releases! And what a great week it is, most notably containing the release of the long awaited Ni no Kuni, Level-5 and Studio Ghibli's ...

Review: The Sims 3: Seasons

Jan 06 // Joshua Derocher
The Sims 3: Seasons (PC [reviewed], Mac)Developer: EA Play / The Sims StudioPublisher: Electronic ArtsReleased: November 13, 1012MSRP: $39.99 Fall, winter, spring, and summer. Sims will get to experience all four seasons and the changing weather. Winter is cold and full of snow, and sims can make snowmen or snow angels, they can snowboard, or they can build an igloo for a little winter "Woo-Hoo" (that's gotta be cold and uncomfortable). A new outerwear section has been added to clothing options, which sims will automatically change into when they go outside depending on the temperature. If they don't wear outerwear in the cold, they can start to freeze and they will eventually die (I checked, of course). Sims can also catch a cold now and spread it around with germs. [embed]241842:46267[/embed] In the summer, your sims can get a tan if they stay outside in the sun for long enough, and if it is really hot, they will switch to their bathing suits to keep cool. Jumping into water can also help sims keep cool. This is worth knowing, because sims can get sunburned and eventually burst into flames if they stay out in the heat for too long (I checked this too). As for fall and spring, these seasons are really bland and serve as transitions between the other ones. It's pretty much just like real life. Weather effects are very nice to look at, and sims respond to them well. When it's raining, they pull out umbrellas and are afraid of lightning, and when it's snowing, they leave footprints in the snow. It's a welcome visual upgrade to the game's engine. Holidays that match real-world holidays have been introduced. Sims can go on dates on "Love Day," exchange presents on "Snowflake Day," or go trick-or-treating on "Spooky Day." Holidays are fun and it's neat to have some day-specific actions that you can do. It's a good touch that helps make the feeling of these seasons more meaningful to the lives of your sims. Winter would be lame if it didn't involve Christmas. When you install Seasons and run it for the first time, one of the parks will be converted into a festival ground. Each seasons has a festival where sims can go and win prizes by completing events like hot-dog eating, ice-skating, playing soccer, or bobbing for apples. The problem with these festivals is that they are too alike. The events change, but if a sim goes once and does everything, there really isn't a need to go back again. This actually highlights a really big issue I have with The Sims franchise in general: any action is merely a new contextual menu option. I never feel like I am doing anything new. Sure, there are new animations, but the gameplay is always the same. Click on a thing, pick the thing you want to do, and watch something happen. A lot of the time the resulting actions are never that visibly different. It's great that the sims can do new stuff, but I really want EA to make me feel like I am doing something new. Each of these features adds a nice layer of depth to the game, but they really don't add a lot of new gameplay. There isn't any new career to follow, there aren't any exciting new public lots, and while playing, I pretty much just goofed around waiting for the seasons to change. If you find yourself playing The Sims 3 a lot anyway, then Seasons will add something to the experience. If you are waiting for a new expansion to make you get back into playing The Sims 3, however, skip Seasons and wait for the next one.
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