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Have You Played... The Sims Online?

EVE Online with living rooms instead of spaceships

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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