EA is a gaming company known for it’s realistic character designs and game features. The Sims games are my favourite out of the EA games that I own because for a change I am able to create my own characters.
Not only do players get to create how their characters look, they are able to pick personality traits for their characters, decide on their characters favourite food, colour and music, and even their characters voice.
Some aren’t a fan of “playing God” when it comes to this game, however I’ve never thought of that until it was pointed out by my teacher during a class discussion. I think of this game as a tool for character and story design.
You can create up to eight characters of your choice and then send them out into the Sim world to live and interact with one another. Because each Sim has their own unique personality it gives you a chance to watch how your characters react to different situations.
For example, I had Sim who was a coward. When someone in their family passed away the Sim fainted from shock. For all you Romantic novelists out there (though the Romantic period has been gone for some time), a character having a fainting fit due to a shocking situation might be exactly what you’re looking for. This reaction reminds me a lot of Victor Frankenstein as he often grew ill when he was in shock.
When it comes to the story line, sometimes people have a hard time including subplots. Will your character fall in love? Will they get a new job? Will they break off their engagement?
You can play around with these different scenarios throughout the game and see which one works best for your novel. The possibilities are endless.
Sims also inspires many different novel ideas. Especially ones that I may not have considered on my own.
I once made a random family of a single father with two young children (a little boy toddler and little girl child). This family did not have much money at all and could barely afford their home. The father paid babysitters to watch his children while he went diving in dumpsters for items that he could sell. The family slept on the couch or in sleeping bags on the floor. Their only shower was broken, the children’s only toy was a stuffed bear that their father found in the trash and their father barely had time to eat himself while trying to make ends meet.
I actually felt a slight pain in my chest when this Sim father died while trying to get food for himself. After his long struggle he passed away, leaving behind two children who ended up being taken by the social worker.
Never would I have thought about writing a novel about a struggling single parent with multiple children. Honestly the idea wouldn’t have crossed my mind.
Note: I know that I’m able to just use cheat codes to give the Sims a ton of money but I decided I didn’t want to do that because it takes away from the game play.
The game has given me many new ideas like that one, which I on my own wouldn’t have thought of writing either because the idea was too sad, or because I myself had never experienced something like that. I’m now starting university and I only know that I should expect a lot of reading and new memories. However when I started a novel about a university student, I knew absolutely nothing about what it was like being a university student, and I still won’t until I get there.
My younger sister, who introduced me to the Sims games got Sims3 University Life for her 15th birthday.
I learned from the game that students were required to attend both classes and lectures and that they didn’t have a class each of the five days of the week. I realized how important caffeine was to the average university student, and how university was not all about throwing crazy parties and using your yellow Camaro to pick up girls.
I also got to see different settings with the towns that came with the expansion packs like Sunset Valley and Isle Paradiso. I even got to get an idea of what it would be like for a celebrity to rise to fame and then get bashed by the media.
I could even build the houses from my novels (which I have yet to do) and have a 3D view of it for reference.
If the novel consists of several years of a persons life, I could start off the Sim version of that character as a child or teenager and watch as the events happen (you can change the life span settings for all of the Sims so you don’t have to wait a month for them to age up…you could already have a good start on your novel in that amount of time).
The game overall is a really cool and fun way to get ideas for a novel, or even just to get an idea of what your characters (both main and secondary) look like and how they react to different situations.