By C’Loni Bailey, Assistant Manager at Bookmans Mesa

It began with a sudden, intense need to have my own castle. Perhaps it was because I am in the process of house hunting and my modest means are not conducive to owning an actual castle, so I did the next best thing. I got myself a virtual castle. Five of them, actually. So it was that I found myself falling back in love with The Sims games again.

The Sims 3 Retail Therapy

For the uninitiated, The Sims is a popular computer game series that plays like a virtual doll house. You make a Sim, a virtual character who can be whomever you want them to be. You can make them look however you wish, dress them in a myriad of styles and build your Sim the dream home you’ve always wanted. While the current iteration of the series is Sims 4 (released in 2014), I’m a fan of Sims 3 with its numerous add-ons and stuff packs that pack an already robust game full of extra goodies.

What really makes the Sim games special is the community, specifically the modding community. As with real world hobbyists who make doll houses, new clothes, furniture and other things for miniature homes, modders are people who specialize in doing just that only virtually. The modding community spends much of their time making everything from clothing and accessories to furniture and even complete “lots” (pre-built and furnished homes). I spend half my play time “shopping” (i.e., downloading stuff) for my Sim.

It sounds ridiculous, but shopping for my Sim acts as a sort of shopping therapy–one that doesn’t require money. I get the instant gratification of “buying” my Sim the extravagant clothing, furniture and homes that I could never afford to buy myself in real life. I find it therapeutic to live an indulgent virtual life via a Sim, especially when real life feels stagnant and dull. In The Sims, I can have the dream castle I’ve always wanted and, although the game can be a time suck (seriously, you will burn hours on this game if you’re not careful–keep an eye on the clock), it makes me feel better when I’m feeling down and is ideal when you want to play something but don’t have the energy for anything that requires concentration or reflexes. Sometimes, I play with my Sim. Sometimes, I redecorate her living room. Sometimes, I shop for clothes and furniture. I can play the game however I want and that is incredibly liberating.

Creating custom content (clothing, furniture, homes, etc.) is a hobby in it’s own right. There are several places online where players can browse player-created content including the Official Sims Exchange, The Sims Resource and Mod the Sims websites. The Sims Resource has their own software to help you build custom content and share it with other players. There are players who spend their time solely creating custom content, such as the five amazing castles I downloaded for my current Sim.

However you want to play, whether you want to complete the basic quests and story, live a virtual life through your Sim or spend your day building your dream home, The Sims gives you the freedom and tools to do so. It’s best to get the Sims 3 base game and wait for a sale before getting any add-ons because there are a lot of them (11 total) and it’ll cost you a pretty penny if you buy them all at the full price.

Sims 4 is the newest game. While there are some improvements from the previous game, there is not as much content available for Sims 4 since it’s only been out for 2 years. On the other hand, it has higher quality visuals and other features that set it apart from Sims 3. Research which game is best for your gameplay style before investing in either one. For the time being, I’m sticking with my old habit, Sims 3.

* Bookmans is your store to explore. We hope you will come and browse our video game selection, but if you are looking for The Sims 3 and its expansion packs or any other specific game, give us a call today. We’ll check our orange shelves for you.