Have You Played… The Sims Online?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I didn’t play it for long. The Sims Online was a mess.

I like the Sims, for its satisfying sense of progression and the anecdotes you can wring out of it. I loved the idea of The Sims Online, which transported the same basic concepts to a massively multiplayer world. It should have been about players building towns and societies together without, for once, combat forming the bulk of the interactions.

In reality it was a total mess – although a type of society did emerge. TSO played out like a capitalist cautionary tale, with its player-driven economy leading to all the criminality of EVE Online but with a dollhouse setting. This included a virtual mafia who would extort players of their simoleons in exchange for not marking down their reputation and therefore limiting their account.

The result was a game that was excellent to read about but horrible to play. At one point, for example, the game’s entire economy was wiped out by a clothing rack through which a bug allowed players to gather huge amounts of money. The bug was patched, but not before massive inflation caused the value of land and items to collapse – something which wasn’t fixed until the game was relaunched and rebranded as “EA Land”. It closed down a year later.

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  1. geldonyetich says:

    My impression of playing The Sims Online is that they essentially removed the star of the show: the Sims’ AI. The whole delight of The Sims’ for me was always the same as Little Computer People, and once they took it away there was literally nothing left. The Sims Online was just one gaudy looking graphical chat room with monotonous activities on the side. It was a poorly-wrought cage for extreme gratuitous extroverts.

  2. monkeytommo says:

    Just lots of cooking pizza! That’s pretty much all that anyone did… It was a glorified chat room.

  3. GameCat says:

    “It closed down a year later.”

    That’s a quote you can put on box of every EA online games.

  4. Bfox says: