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The SuperMes: Arch Social Criticism?

I'm not sure whether Channel 4's The SuperMes is an extremely extensive advert for The Sims 3, or an arch criticism of the nature of reality television. Either way, it's a man commentating over edited footage of the game, in an attempt to create a Big Brother-style narrative. You can see the first episode, spotted by Gamasutra, below.

The web series features four Sims characters put into a house (Robert apparently played by me), and then leaving it to play out as it plays out. The edited results make up the content of the episode, this first part focusing on the arrival of Clare to the house, and her difficulty fitting in.

And the result is, I think, a very dull affair, but no more dull than the shows that inspire it. Clearly EA can't be displeased at the exposure for their game, nor the implicit message that Sims 3 is so organic that its un-interfered-with happenings are worthy of such treatment. And to an extent, the somewhat anthropomorphised results achieve as much as any recent series of Big Brother, or its thousands of mutant offspring.

Which, to me, suggests it's not just a cutting satire of the banality of such television, but an especially cruel observation of the dehumanising nature of such endeavours. If the same effect can be achieved by the simplistic AI of a bunch of interacting Sims characters, then what does that say of the minds and the interaction of whoever is still desperate enough to put themselves through Big Brother's humiliation mill? Are these people really as inherently stupid as EA's diamond-hatted creations, or does the process of being trapped in a house, Saw-without-the-deaths-style, reduce people to being barely sentient automatons?

See for yourself, here:

This is, as it happens, part of a promotion for a Channel 4 game, confusingly called SuperMe, which you can play here. It seems to be a blur of life and Facebook games, aimed at teenagers, that gives you points for watching videos and playing games.

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John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, we killed John out of jealousy. He now runs buried-treasure.org