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2008 The Sims Blogger’s Day Recap

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About 15 bloggers were invited to this Sims-only blogger’s day, including four or five from the U.K. We saw four games in total, and got to play them too, with the exception of MySims PC. We broke off into groups of five to seven, just to make everything fit into a eight hour day (it was really hard work!). My group started with SimCity Creator; the demo was led by Senior Producer Mich Ueno.

SimCity Creator is basically a re-imagining of the original game on the Wii focused on bringing the game to an entirely new audience. Now I can see, even though he is in Canada, Jason rolling his eyes. They have watered down SimCity for the Wii crowd but they have left the kitchen sink within a click or two on the easy to navigate interface. Everything is here. For example, it is no problem to go in and legalize gambling. The point is that people who don’t want to deal with all that never see it. The core game is still there.

The game is completely controlled with the Wii Remote and drawing zones and roads has never been easier.

Advisors in the game are from the MySims game, 55 of them to unlock.

There is a “cheat” mode for those who just want to go in and build stuff and not really have to worry about residential, commercial and industrial needs – and then destroy it of course.

Mission mode is where you have to complete specific tasks like build a city with x number of sims, doing so unlocks items in the game.

The DS version is quite different and is more like a cross between Civilization and SimCity, though I am sure that EA is not using that as a marketing slogan.

You take a city from the Dawn of Time through the Stone Age, Industrial Revolution, to Modern Age into the Space Age. Each time frame has different requirements. For example you do not have to deal with residential, commercial and industrial needs during the Dawn of Time, but you do have needs such as food and shelter.

A number of upgrades from last year’s SimCity DS, including better stylus controls and now allowing for two save slots (before only one was available).

Both of these games are out this week.

MySims Kingdom was presented by Tim LeTourneau, Executive Producer. The two biggest pieces of feedback – which I would call complaints – they got from the first game was that it had way too many loading screens, and it didn’t really have a story to it. You basically moved into a run-down town and the mayor tasked you with cleaning the place up and getting more Sims to move in, which is why I avoided the title entirely.

Kingdom has hardly any load times, the building aspect of the game has been freed of the segmented “build mode” and the game now has a story. It is actually an adventure game now, with the same Sims back from the first game, though all in completely different roles. This has me interested in the title.

You start the game as a hand on a pig farm and you make your way into being the king’s “Wandaleer,” or as it was described, the one person in the kingdom who would build things with a wand, of course. You progress through ten different slands, completing tasks for various Sims (like the first game). There is an 11th island that is yours after you complete the story mode.

The new graphics engine makes the game look so much better. Nice sharp and crisp graphics, at least for the Wii.

The game also introduces a sort of RPG element, in that you have a party everywhere you go, Buddy and Lindsey, who are of course from the first game.

The DS version of MySims Kingdom is not a port but its own game with its own story, again using the same characters in different roles. Includes a lot of mini-games such as ski jumping and snowball fights, and a kayaking game that was a lot of fun.

Both the of the MySims Kingdom games are out Oct. 28th, the same day MySims PC hits store shelves.

MySims PC was shown with no hands-on, guided on a huge screen by Erik Zwerling, Producer, and Ed Nanale, Development Director. They have added eight-player online play. There is a multiplayer garden you join (all peer-to-peer, no server in the middle) and there are eight different houses that anyone can interact with and modify. If you unlock something in multiplayer because a friend has it, you can take it back to your single player game.

Other than exclusive content for the single-player game such as costumes, scrolls, and essences, the game also supports high definition. I guess that really would not be much of a bullet point, but considering the original was a Wii game, it is worth mentioning in this PC version.

The last game we saw is a ways out, end of January, and had just made it to alpha last week. The SimAnimals demo was led by Charles London, the game’s creative director, and Rawson Stovel, who is the producer of the DS version.

SimAnimals is probably what you would expect, as you have to meet the wants and needs of animals instead of humans. Though these are not domesticated, but wild animals like bears and squirrels and such. You have to get them to trust you, and then provide food and shelter for them. This game is also going to be out on both the Wii and DS and I actually got a very brief time to play the DS version. Of course, the first thing I did was pick up the bear and throw him into the lake and then bounce him off the ground. Because let’s be honest, that is what people do in Sim games.

The game is about you and your relationship with the animals. Oddly enough it has a god-like hand a la Black & White. The game boasts 32 different types of animals from North America and Europe.

The game has some interesting ideas behind it. You can make a baby bear and a baby squirrel as friends and they will be friends for life. But that doesn’t mean that the bear will not eat other squirrels, just not the one he grew up with. Just like with other Sims games, your mileage will vary depending on how creative you are.

The DS version of the game will be essentially the same, though in 2-D form. It looks amazing due to the hand drawn animation and other drawings used in the game. I am actually more interested in the DS version of the game, even though the Wii version is more “sandbox-y.”

We had a tour of the EA campus, which is four buildings and 23 acres. The EA store is great as all console games are $20 and PC games are $10 (all EA games of course).

At the end of the day, we had two hours to play MySims Kingdom on both Wii and DS. This was a wonderful opportunity as Tim LeTourneau and many of the designers and testers of the game were wandering around engaging in conversations with us.

As part of our goodie bag, we all brought home SimCity Creator on Wii, which I have been playing (and destroying my cities with Godzilla-like monsters, of course). We will have a review up shortly.

I also plan some further impressions of the four games shown, so look for them soon!

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About Ken Edwards

  • http://ladympire.com Ladym

    Ken, your email keeps bouncing back when we try to contact you. Please contact me with the correct one and we can include you in all the MySims conversations. Thanks, LadyM

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/tall_writer Tall Writer

    Great insight behind the production and creative processes of the Sims games. The simulation genre has such a large draw across both genders. Looks like it won’t be slowing down any time soon. Glad you had safe travels.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Ken Edwards

    Angie wrote it down wrong. Sorry, it is ken at blogcritics dot org.