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    Nov 14th, 2006 at 23:17:59     -    The Sims (PC)

    The first thing I noticed in the create character screen was that the personality selector was similar to RPGs in the sense that you are given a set amount of resources to allot to certain kinds of traits such as niceness, playfulness, etc. Could these traits match up to D&D's abilities? Outgoing = Charisma. Active = Dexterity. Not much else works. Oh well. If only it mapped up one to one, then we could have your typical Sims player rolling d10s for Niceness and so forth.

    My character started off getting into a hot tub with a female, only to be interrupted from his dream by his mother telling him to get up off the couch. He then gets pestered by his mother to fix the TV, cook dinner, take a shower, etc. The goals of the game are told to you either at the beginning of the scene or from the characters within it. I read a book on mechanics which allowed me to successfully fix the TV. As a reward, I was given the opportunity to purchase a vanity. I am not sure what fixing a TV has to do with buying a vanity. I then proceeded to set the kitchen on fire by attempting to cook dinner without studying the cook books first. This brought a fireman into my home.

    It seems like what I have read about the Sims is true. The story does not really occur while playing the game, it occurs when you tell someone else about what you did within the game. I think that kind of storytelling could be applied to any game, however. I could list off the sequence of events that occurred to my avatar in The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker and it would seem like a story. But the Sims does seem to have story embedded in it. The story elements seem to be in more discernible chunks. It is almost as if you are manipulating those chunks rather than manipulating just what the avatar is doing. That is what makes the story different than just the retelling of the avatar's actions.


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    Nov 14th, 2006 at 22:44:08     -    Zelda: Windwaker (GC)

    The first 30 minutes of my experience playing Windwaker was just a big tease. The first conversation in the game has your sister pretty much telling you "I have nothing important to say, but you should navigate to that house over there and something cool might happen". Once you get to that house, your grandmother tells you that she will give you soup later on. You visit Orca and get to practice sword fighting, but only to find out that you don't get a sword just yet. You can go to the boat with Beedle the shopkeeper, but you don't have enough rupees to buy anything significant. Trees surround a pretty yellow rupee, but you can't get to it because you don't have a sword to cut down the trees. And finally, no access to the fairy forest because the road is being worked on.

    So, it is a pretty typical beginning for an adventure game. Limited access to the world, slow revealing of what you can do with your avatar and various hints at plot points that will come up later in the game. The interesting aspect of the first 30 minutes was that pretty much all the characters that you meet were family oriented in one way or another. One guy was trying to catch a pig for his wife. Orca and Sturgeon are brothers. You live with your grandmother and your sister. One little boy looks up to you like a little brother would.

    I think the makers did a fairly good job encouraging the player to explore the small amount of world that was given to him/her. The path to your grandmother's house had three to four different points of interest that could cause divergence from the main plot line. The boat shop gives the player an optional goal of collecting rupees to buy bait and so forth. The act of collecting rupees causes the player to explore world, pick up rocks and jump on houses' rooftops.

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    1The Sims (PC)Playing
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