Electronic Arts today announced The Sims 4 is spawning a reality TV show, The Sims Spark'd. No, it's not about strangers trapped in a swimming pool without a ladder. The four-episode series actually sounds kinda cool, challenging twelve Sims players to build characters, places, and stories in The Sims 4 and maybe win $100,000 (£78k). I'm so impressed by so many of the things players make so sure, I'll give this a go when it starts this month. Anything to interrupt the six seasons of Ink Master I have so far watched during lockdown.
Host Rayvon Owen describes the show as "a creative competition where you design characters, build anything you can imagine, and tell original stories using The Sims."
The manufactured drama of American reality shows can be awful but I hope that it's about nice people making nice things. The Great British Bake Off is helping swing reality competition shows round to niceness, I think. And The Sims isn't really a series where EA would want to be mean to fans. Not like a Plunkbat reality show, which I imagine would involve chugging a four-pack of Red Bull while being hit with a frying pan.
Host Owen is a Sims fan and was a 2015 American Idol finalist. Judges include Sims producer Dave "SimGuruNinja" Miotke and singer/voice actor Tayla Parx, who has a Simlish version of a song in the game. Now my brain hurts. When I'm caught off-guard by Simlish songs, I briefly fear I'm experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning or a stroke. So, like, well done, really, it's very impressive - alarmingly impressive.
The Sims Spark'd Presented By ELEAGUE, to use its full name, will be broadcast Fridays at 11pm on the American TV channel TBS, from July 17th through August 7th. They'll be streamed the following Mondays on YouTube on the BuzzFeed Multiplayer channel.
Running alongside the show will be a Spark'd Challenge Program for folks at home to potentially win a spot on the next series.