Your Name In Garbled Lights
It’s getting to the point where it’s difficult to say anything about a Sims expansion because the audience for this franchise is so well defined that everyone has their minds made up. The fans are going to go out and buy the new content regardless, and the skeptical will continue to remain just that. Having said that, with the latest addition, Showtime, The Sims 3 adds some new professions, a new town, and, dips its toe back into the online realm in a much more cautious fashion than the failed Sims Online game that ran from 2002 to 2008.
Showbiz In Simlish
The various expansions for 2009’s The Sims 3 have done everything from allowing people to finally see their Sims at work, to just creating more stuff to buy and decorate homes with. Showtime continues the trend of incrementally expanding the complexity of the Sims’ world by adding three new professions, all related to show business. Singers—which is an elaboration of the band career from the expansion The Sims 3: Late Night—Magicians, and Cirque Du Soleil-styled Acrobats are the big additions here, adding new “quest lines” for players to pursue with a new or existing Sim. The obligatory new town, Starlight Shores, shows off the new facilities for the expansion, namely performance venues, but aside from that, the big new feature here is the online capability Showtime now offers. Of a sort.
The game itself is the same Sims that players have grown to love, so even the new careers are really just an addition of tweaks that are new, but familiar in content. Even a lot of the items that appear here are reintroductions of décor or appliances that have appeared in past Sims games like the pool table making a return. The new entertainment careers benefit from the tweaking that’s occurred since Ambitions and Late Night starting players out performing on the street, before eventually auditioning for gigs, and then becoming famous enough that they’re asked to perform at larger and more elaborate venues. Players now have the option of setting up the stage before hand, using Simoleans to purchase increasingly more complex stage lights and props, with a convenient ability to save specific configurations for the various venues performed at. Once the stage is set up to satisfaction, the player can either leave it to the Sim to perform, or tweak the performance themselves by selecting specific songs, moves or tricks for a personal performance routine. It’s a nice addition that adds even more cute animation sequences to an already humorous series.
Finally, there are the new online additions. Showtime takes all that fancy social media like Facebook and Twitter and integrates some of the functionality into the game, so if you absolutely, positively have to let everyone on your Twitter feed know that your Sim has just wet themselves on stage… now you can, without ever leaving the game. There’s also the ability to send your Sim off to the neighborhoods of people on your friends list—which can even be done when you’re not playing—in order to go on “tour” and unlock additional items. This is also turned around with the ability for you to host the Sims of other players in your town, if you feel like allowing people on your friends list to get some stage time on your home ground. When this occurs, it’s not like you’re actually playing online with other people; sending your own Sim away takes up 12 hours of game time during which your Sim is unavailable, similar to way employment used to work in earlier games. When the Sim of your friend shows up, that Sim is an NPC and not under the direct control of your friend.
All in all, interesting additions have been made to the series which are probably just enough to keep the Sim addicts coming back for another round. The changes are largely incremental, which should be no surprise considering that this is the sixth instalment in this third series, but they still add some depth and variety to the gameplay. This isn’t just a bunch of extra chairs and coffee tables, but some tweaks to the gameplay that add some variety to the list of available jobs, and give players a chance to dabble more thoroughly in show-biz fantasies. If you’re a serious fan of The Sims 3, it’s a safe bet you’ll enjoy this addition, but it doesn’t offer anything ground-breaking.