I'm putting this entry in the 'gaming' category even though the gaming geeks out there will probably turn up their noses with an audible sniff. That's fine; it's no WoW, but the same addictive qualities apply.
I was inspired to write about The Sims after espying an entry on the UThink RSS feed by the author of the Pensive thoughts of a Rock Star blog; she gives a great overview of the game, but what I've found most intriguing about the game is its latent effects on the psyche of the player. This broaches into suspect territory and I don't profess to have any academic background in gaming psychology, but I do know that after building home after home and outfitting it with the requisite goods desired by my Sim families, it's made me much more interested not only in interior design but architecture as well. And, of course, human nature and interpersonal relationships, but that's probably more voyeuristic than anything else.
It also appeals to the control freak that quietly (or not so quietly) resides within all of us, and I've found that one of the game's major appeals to me personally is its inherent requirement that the player be comfortable multitasking and juggling things about. If Kenny Bugsome isn't taking showers and Pim Bugsome has been skipping school and Lou Bugsome is flirting with Biff Dillweed down the street, and I sit on my laurels and let them free-will their way about, there's going to be strife. The Bugsome household does not cope well with strife. (However, the Newbie household sure seems to!)
The amusing thing is that I often catch myself muttering angrily at them when they don't do something I tell them to do, when their natural clean-freak habits cause them to miss the carpool or ignore a guest at the door. It's a wonderful escape from reality, if you're into that sort of thing, but it's kind of disturbing at the same time because before you know it, three hours have ticked by and you've barely moved an inch from your chair. But boy does the Bugsome house look impressive. I guess until I actually own a house of my own, these SimHomes will have to do.
There's a whole other can of worms called The Sims 2 that I've steered clear of for the time being, satsified as I am at the moment with The Sims Deluxe. Also, expansion packs seem to be the work of the devil himself. In particular, the Sim Pets expansion pack beckons beguilingly to me from the Target shelves everytime I walk past the gaming section, but luckily I think that requires Sims 2. See what a bonus it is to my real life that my main computer's still running W2K on a painfully slow processor with just a smidgen of RAM?