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Sims the New Dolls?

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the i-love-my-dollies dept.

275

philgross writes "According to the New York Times, lots of girls and younger teens are abandoning their dolls for the Sims. Says one professor, "We leave most of the social work in our society to women and The Sims lets young girls, in particular, work out their desires and conflicts about those relationships." Says another, "Children generally want to create characters, but with girls we see them wanting to create a friend." Meanwhile, says Will Wright, boys will "do the same stupid thing over and over again and be happy," (and I wince looking at my vast collection of first-person shooters). The article does quote one 10-year-old boy who plays with Sims, and has learned valuable life lessons. "I learned don't leave your baby crying or people will come take your baby away."" And I learned that if you lock Sims in your upstairs torture chamber, with no tiles to sit, they eventually cry themselves to death.

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It's a little sad (5, Insightful)

deanj (519759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281070)

It's a little sad that kids would have to learn something like that from a game, rather than having parents that think enough of their children to explain stuff like that to them. Better yet, they should lead by example.

Re:It's a little sad (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281083)

Better yet, they should lead by example.

That's backwards. If they lead by example then they DON'T leave the baby crying and the child never finds out what would have happened. The Sims showed the kid what would have happened if the his parents' example wasn't followed.

Re:It's a little sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281347)

Not really. If the parents lead by example, the child learns that the baby must not be left crying. (This, of course, is assuming the child is old enough to observe such things.) The parents can also tell the child: "See, if your baby sister is left crying ", etc. Of course, the youngest child in the family won't learn any parenting tips this way, but he/she will probably learn by the time it is needed, from observing what older siblings do as parents.
Of course, in these modern times, where everyone lives apart, it won't work; but the good old joint family system had its advantages.

Re:It's a little sad (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281431)

But it probably is backwards. I strongly suspect the emphasis should not be on the "don't leave your baby crying" part (because that's more or less common sense, even for a 10-year old -- you cry when something's bad) but the "or people will come take your baby away" part. And that you WOULDN'T learn through good example.

Re:It's a little sad (2, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281534)

I strongly suspect the emphasis should not be on the "don't leave your baby crying" part (because that's more or less common sense, even for a 10-year old -- you cry when something's bad)

In reality, the issue is moot. Have you ever actually *tried* to ignore a crying baby? Our brains are hard-wired to respond to those particular patterns in those particular frequencies. In practice, bad parents abandon their babies or shake them hard enough to injure or kill them, rather than simply leave them crying.

Re:It's a little sad (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281594)

But it probably is backwards. I strongly suspect the emphasis should not be on the "don't leave your baby crying" part (because that's more or less common sense, even for a 10-year old -- you cry when something's bad) but the "or people will come take your baby away" part. And that you WOULDN'T learn through good example.

If you learn the "don't leave your baby crying" part, why would you need to learn the "or people will come take your baby away" part ? Especially when, by the time you are physically capable of having babies, you are likely able to deduce that part for yourself without anyone having to tell it to you.

Re:It's a little sad (0, Troll)

kermitthefrog917 (903403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281097)

Wouldn't the habit of learning from games be a bit dangerous? I could see that "learn not to leave your baby alone" turn into "you can get your money back if you kill the hooker after you are done with her"... yes both are technically true, and are perhaps equally useful in life, but is it a good idea to have kids start a habit such as applying video game experiences in a real world setting?

Re:It's a little sad (3, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281129)

It's up to the person "learning" to tell the difference between "right" and "wrong"

If the parents did a good job, s/he would know that killing is "wrong" even if a video game says it's OK.

The parents should be and are a bigger influance on their children than video games. Although some parents wish that weren't true.

Re:It's a little sad (4, Insightful)

sugar and acid (88555) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281107)

Actually children learn a lot of things through play. Dolls are a classic example, where the child will use various dolls (and stuffed toys etc.) and play act them interacting in a social manner. The parents can give good examples and explain important aspect of being a well adjusted social indivdual, but then these lessons are acted out during play and are thus reinforced (unfortunatly the same will be true of bad parenting to). The sims just happens to be a more interactive version of this type of play, where the social interaction is already built into the program.

Re:It's a little sad (4, Insightful)

Shazow (263582) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281189)

Dolls are a classic example, where the child will use various dolls (and stuffed toys etc.) and play act them interacting in a social manner.

Perhaps it has something to do with visualization. I also recall when I was younger, I used to play out all sorts of social sequences and situations with action figures, lego characters, etc. Now that I'm older, I still play out similar situations but they all happen in my head.

Maybe it's just that when we're younger, we have more trouble visualizing things in our mind so we need the help of dolls (or Sims). Later on, when our brains are more developed (and we gathered more experience), we can handle running such simulations in our heads.

Too bad none of my psych classes covered this.

- shazow

Re:It's a little sad (1)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281503)

Maybe visualization only develops a posteriori---in other words, your brain simply learns to imitate its surroundings, internally.

I really really want to see Sims-like games for linux. It's one of the few reasons I keep windows around...

Re:It's a little sad (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281615)

Maybe it's just that when we're younger, we have more trouble visualizing things in our mind so we need the help of dolls (or Sims). Later on, when our brains are more developed (and we gathered more experience), we can handle running such simulations in our heads.

Isn't the very popularity of Sims proof against this ?-)

Anyway, I (a 27-year old man) still play with dolls / action figures / whatever whenever no one else is around, so I think that it's more of a desire to appear grownup rather than any real difference in brains that stops adults from playing. Or maybe I'm just childish, after all, I still like those chocolate eastern eggs with toys inside :).

Re:It's a little sad (2, Interesting)

Shazow (263582) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281675)

Isn't the very popularity of Sims proof against this ?-)

You're right, clearly that isn't the _only_ reason someone would play with action figures or The Sims. Hell, it might not even be the main reason. But I think it's an interesting hypothesis to consider. On average, certainly the "desire" to simulate situations with action figures has dies down with age.
Anyway, I (a 27-year old man) still play with dolls / action figures / whatever whenever no one else is around, so I think that it's more of a desire to appear grownup rather than any real difference in brains that stops adults from playing.

Whenever I find myself pulling out my old action-figures from my childhood (every few years) it's more about experiencing the nostalgia than doing something semi "productive". I really have no "desire" to sit around and play with my barbie^Waction figure, except as an excuse to procrastinate doing work. ;-)

Perhaps another observation: as we age, we are more interested in seeing others play out scenarios, as a method of aggregating experiences to our repository of life lessons. This desire also seems to deteriorate as we reach an elderly age (about which I am not qualified to speak about as a personal experience).

- shazow

Re:It's a little sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281697)

Maybe people should stop creating trends for others through personal ancedote. I don't play with dolls and have no particular inclination to do so. When I was a child I usually just disassembled my "action figures" and attempted to recombine their pieces into new "action figures" with varying degrees of success. That of course and act out violence between them, since most of them were junk inspired by various cartoons in which they fought with each other. That was never as much fun as digging large holes, putting them in tunnels branching from the holes, and then flooding the holes with the garden hose. Or finding ways to turn them into projectiles using various childrens' construction toys.

Does that make you childish or make mean that I am seeking to escape childhood? No. You liked dolls, and I liked breaking things. You still like dolls, but I suppose I've lost whatever motivation I had as a child to break things. I have no intellectual aversion to the idea of projecting dolls or building tunnels in the earth and flooding the dolls inside of them, but it just doesn't interest me anymore. The people that would call you childish are probably insecure about their masculinity or don't appreciate that everyone has different hobbies.

Re:It's a little sad (0, Flamebait)

tryggvi (956119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281194)

IMHO I think games replacing dolls will take away creativity and imagination from the children. This is a step in making kids behave like robots and always do what major corporations want them to do.

Re:It's a little sad (2, Interesting)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281325)

I don't know. The Sims, especially Sims 2, can throw some pretty inventive situations at the child. They get taught about death and relationships in what is, for a game, a damn accurate representation of reality.

Sims 2 even includes things like buying groceries. If you don't go buy groceries, or order them online, you don't eat. There's a lot of depth in the complete social interaction model of The Sims you won't get with dolls, or playing Mummies and Daddies "Then you go to work, then you come home and kiss me, and then I give you your tea".

Re:It's a little sad (2, Informative)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281644)

IMHO I think games replacing dolls will take away creativity and imagination from the children. This is a step in making kids behave like robots and always do what major corporations want them to do


Here [wired.com] is an article containing lots of similar pessimistic quotations by various people, proclaiming that the downfall of youth had arrived in the form of (Novels/Movies/Telephones/Rock&Roll/Waltzing/Comic Books). I think children are a little more resilient and creative than people give them credit for.

Re:It's a little sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281212)

Dolls and The Sims mean children are playing with games instead of real people. Which do you think is better to learn life leasons from?

Re:It's a little sad (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281359)

This is a great game for them then. This will really equate the notion that Romance = whore.
I believe Will Wright may be getting a kick back from myspace. The girls pick up The Sims at 10, so by the time they're 14-15 they're reading to pose in their underwear on the site and drive up membership.

For those who don't know the "Romance" aspiration consists mainly of an adult who wants to "woohoo" as many people as they can get their hands on. As soon as they're done with one, they move on to the next.

Re:It's a little sad (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281642)

This is a great game for them then. This will really equate the notion that Romance = whore.

Not a whore, a slut. A whore is someone who has sex with people for money; and someone who pays for these services is a whoremonger. Someone who sleeps around for the pleasure of it is a slut. Please get your deragatory terminology right.

For those who don't know the "Romance" aspiration consists mainly of an adult who wants to "woohoo" as many people as they can get their hands on. As soon as they're done with one, they move on to the next.

To be fair, isn't this the plot of many romance stories, classical and modern, from the Bold & Beautifull to Casanovas memoirs ?

Re:It's a little sad (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281699)

That depends highly on your definition of Romance. I don't think you'd find very many women who would find it "romantic" for someone to be working their way through every man and woman in the town.

While Casanova might be classified "Romance" by some publisher, that doesn't make it romance. While he may have engaged in romance with each individual woman, his over-all behaviour was not romantic.

and if you're going to correct someone, check your source first:
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=whore [reference.com]
  "A person considered sexually promiscuous." I'd certainly catagorize them as sexually promiscuous.

Re:It's a little sad (2, Interesting)

denoir (960304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281376)

The big question is if the simulation has a certain ethical framework that the player is rewarded for following, will it positively reinforce a child's social development? If it will, one might also ask what effects games that reward anti-social behaviour have on children.

It's a little sad-Daddie's little dungeon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281116)

"It's a little sad that kids would have to learn something like that from a game, rather than having parents that think enough of their children to explain stuff like that to them."

Medievel dad: Son. Whipping your pheasents occasionally is OK. It builds character. Throw a few into the dungeon to teach the occasional lesson. Now go and make me proud.

Re:It's a little sad (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281128)

parents that think enough of their children to explain stuff like that to them


Yeah, OK, people should never try to do anything that their parents haven't explained to them, right?


Personally, I'm a great fan of computer modelling. Too bad that current games are so unrealistic, I hope we will have more realistic games in the future. If the evolution of CPU power doesn't slow down too much, one can expect a lot, both from better physics and better AI in future games.


I think the trend for more and more graphics power seems to be peaking out, there just isn't enough to justify upgrading graphics cards right now, so I hope to see more emphasis on better modelling in the near future.

Re:It's a little sad (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281224)

You need the AGEIA PhysX [wikipedia.org] then.

Re:It's a little sad (4, Interesting)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281151)

I think the opposite. To have something explained to a child is fine, but surely it is much better for the child's development if he/she can discover these things for himself/herself, using (and developing) his/her own intellect.

From what I've seen in life, kids who have over-protective pearents telling them exactly how they should live their life, grow up to be very dull people.

Re:It's a little sad (1)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281340)

From what I've seen in life, kids who have over-protective pearents telling them exactly how they should live their life, grow up to be very dull people.

While this is true, they usually do live successful lives. Just because someone is dull is not such a bad thing. The only downside I have seen is if something bad happens in there life they don't know how to deal with it because everything should go as they planed.

Re:It's a little sad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281563)


While this is true, they usually do live successful lives. Just because someone is dull is not such a bad thing. The only downside I have seen is if something bad happens in there life they don't know how to deal with it because everything should go as they planed.


It all comes down to perspective then, doesn't it?
For me, being dull would be ever so much more horrible than being unsuccessful..
I'd rather die having lived a crazy, full life, than knowing that I made lots of money and got married and had kids and lived in suburbia mowing my lawn. Woo!

Re:It's a little sad (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281161)

Children do not learn social skills from explanation. They learn from . . .games.

Witness kittens playing. Games are the imperical mode of trying out behaviors in a noncritical manner, like, with a real baby.

And where do they find behaviors to try out?

Better yet, they should lead by example.

Ok, ya got me there. Monkey see. Monkey do. Don't like it when your kids do things you'd rather they didn't do? Well, don't do it yourself for starters. Kids learn adult behavior by observing adult behavior and trying it out.

Kids are supposed to engage in adult behavior. They're designed for it. It's how they learn to do it. Most parents are dumbasses when it comes to this issue; and we've created a dumbass society with regards to the maturation process as a result.

Ever notice that when most parents say "Act your age" they really mean, at heart, stop acting more mature than I'm comfortable with, i.e. act younger than your age. (The dumbass parents, of course, think they're telling their kids to act older than their age. That's because most parents are dumbasses)

If you don't want your kids trying to sneak into the liquor cabinet, don't have one. They do it because they wish to grow up and see grown ups drinking liquor and defining it as grownup behavior.

If you don't want to get rid of the liquor cabinet, at least give the poor kids a game that allows them to drink, but also necessitates they are responsible for the consequences.

That way they'll learn.

It's all about games.

KFG

Re:It's a little sad (2, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281659)

Ever notice that when most parents say "Act your age" they really mean, at heart, stop acting more mature than I'm comfortable with, i.e. act younger than your age. (The dumbass parents, of course, think they're telling their kids to act older than their age. That's because most parents are dumbasses


While I agree with most of your post, I think you are wrong here: usually when parents say "act your age", they mean "grow up and take responsibility for your actions". They really are asking the child to behave more like an adult (e.g. do homework without being hounded about it, etc).

Re:It's a little sad (1)

deesine (722173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281206)

"And I learned that if you lock Sims in your upstairs torture chamber, with no tiles to sit, they eventually cry themselves to death."

That one made me laugh, and then wince a little. No parent really likes to see this. Well, unless you're someone like Ted Bundy that is. Then you might encourgage them too see how many dead Sims will fit in a closet.

Re:It's a little sad (2, Insightful)

cooley (261024) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281294)

It's a little sad that kids would have to learn something like that from a game, rather than having parents that think enough of their children to explain stuff like that to them. Better yet, they should lead by example.

How many ten-year-old boys are sat down and taught how to take care of a baby? The implication that this kid's parents aren't present for his emotional upbringing because they haven't given him "Parenting 101" at ten years old is a little over the top. Perhaps he just doesn't have any younger siblings, for pete's sake. He's ten.

Yes, Sims may be replacing dolls right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281074)

but we all know [slashdot.org] what the best toy for XMAS 2006 will be.

OMG!!! RMS PONIES!!!

Re:Yes, Sims may be replacing dolls right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281176)

Last week called.
It said it would mod you ontopic and relevant.

This is this week however...

hey (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281075)

fp

I think I helped start this (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281077)

Right before the first Christmas after the Sims came out, I was having my haircut and discussing the holiday. My hairstylist said she still need another gift for her pre-teen daughter, and I suggested The Sims. Well, she loved it, and apparently she loved it too much, as the next time I visited for a haircut, I learned grounding now involved loss of The Sims.

Natural Selection (5, Funny)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281078)

The article does quote one 10-year-old boy who plays with Sims, and has learned valuable life lessons. "I learned don't leave your baby crying or people will come take your baby away."

So what you're trying to say, young man, is that The Sims helped your family line from becoming a victim of natural selection?

Re:Natural Selection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281247)

And I learned that if you lock Sims in your upstairs torture chamber, with no tiles to sit, they eventually cry themselves to death.

So, what does this tell us about CmdrTaco?

Re:Natural Selection (1)

cooley (261024) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281334)

So what you're trying to say, young man, is that The Sims helped your family line from becoming a victim of natural selection?

How many ten year olds do you know capable of caring for a family? When I was ten, I could barely take care of my Transformers.

Re:Natural Selection (4, Funny)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281391)

When I was ten, I could barely take care of my Transformers.

Well, they are more than meets the eye.

Re:Natural Selection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281516)

Using that logic, any time you apply anything that you didn't discover by yourself, you're thwarting natural selection!

Re:Natural Selection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281614)

Apparently you don't understand natural selection. The fact that he was able to learn means that he has a trait that was selected for.

Re:Natural Selection (1)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281655)

So what you're trying to say, young man, is that The Sims helped your family line from becoming a victim of natural selection?
No, no. Exposure to The Sims caused an adaptive mutation which was then selected.

The Sims taught me... (4, Funny)

John Courtland (585609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281079)

that taking a piss takes about an hour. Seriously, the timescale on that action is ridiculous.

Re:The Sims taught me... (0)

slashflood (697891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281133)

Maybe prostatitis or kidney stones?

Re:The Sims taught me... (2, Funny)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281208)

They normalized the timescale between both sexes.

The extent of my Sims playing... (4, Interesting)

5n3ak3rp1mp (305814) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281333)

I tried this game. Once upon a time.

It took so long to get ready in the morning (shower, piss, etc) that I'd routinely miss my ride to work and then lose my job. And then, when I wanted my character to learn, I'd have him read. And I'd sit there... watching him... reading. Then I stepped out of the matrix and said, why am I watching an avatar read when I could read actual stuff myself?? And so I did...

Re:The Sims taught me... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281672)

Aah just wait 'til you hit 40. Then it won't seem so ridiculous anymore. That's another life lesson you can learn from the sims.

It's not that the sims aren't realistic, it's just that they're all really really old.

The year 2000 called... (1)

happycat64 (558599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281080)

The year 2000 called - it said your study is 6 years late, prof.

Virtual Torture (1)

the_mushroom_king (708305) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281081)

The Sims "aka Virtual Torture Set" teach kids about social issues? WTF, are we short on Abugarade sytle interragators or what?

Makes sense (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281115)

I used to work at Maxis back when SimCity 2000 was first released and I remember seeing this new game they were working on called "Doll House" and it was aimed at girls. Over the years it slowly morphed into The Sims.

Purple Moon, John Romero, and sexist games (5, Interesting)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281416)

I worked on the original team that developed The Sims, and yes it was called "Dollhouse", but no it wasn't "aimed at girls". The name "Dollhouse" wasn't used because that turned off boys, but it wasn't designed to appeal to one sex or the other. The point was that it did not have any particular gender "color" or "aim". Of course there were some great women working on the design and implementation, and that came through, but not in a way that you could describe as "aiming at girls". The secret is not to aim at girls, but not to unconsciously aim only at boys, the way most other video games do.

The Sims is a gender neutral game. It only seems like a girl game to some naive observers who haven't actually played it themselves, because of the contrast with all the other games which are extremely gender specific, aimed at boys, designed by boys, and written by boys. That's one of the biggest problems with the game industry: they are so insulated from reality that they can't see the obvious problem of how fucking dominated the industry is by clueless straight white boys who think everybody else is just like them.

Thanks a lot to the all-hat, no-cattle assholes from Texas who think "John Romero is About to Make You His Bitch" is a brilliant marketing slogan, but never get around to designing any good game play, because they're too busy talking about what great designers they are who understand their audience, and have the audacity to hire their trophy girl-friends to work as booth bunnies.

Before going to Maxis to work on The Sims, I worked at Interval Research, where Brenda Laurel was developing her "Games for Girls" project, which spun off into Purple Moon. I didn't subscribe to her theory of making games "aimed at girls" that were "pink" and "girlish" so boys don't like them and girls do. It seemed like a cop-out that pandered to the built in prejudices and problems of society, instead of trying to transcend them. I don't think there's anything fundamental about the color pink that's genetically hard-wired into girl's brains, and I don't think it's respectful to girls or boys to treat them or colorize them differently than each other. Should "Photoshop for Girls" only allow you to select bright shades of pink, but not blue? Seriously, pink is just a metaphore, and it goes a lot deeper than the color, but I don't think it's a such good idea to artificially limit the appeal of a game to one sex or another.

That's just my opinion -- but it's best to let the market decide. Purple Moon got steamrolled over and bought out by Barbie, who owns the color pink and has an enormous marketing machine behind her (behind every successful doll is a giant corporation run by clueless straight white males). The other problem they had was that they were trying to do a CDROM game in the age of the internet. So it's hard to draw any definite conclusions about the effect of the color pink from Purple Moon's experience. But the market decided to make The Sims the most successful game of all time, and it definitely wasn't "aimed at girls" the way Purple Moon's products were, or "aimed at boys" the way all the other games are.

-Don

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281438)

Good post, I really agree with your point of view on gender neutrality, and when pandering to stereotypes it is just perpetuating society's problems. Very well said! Thanks for the great post.

Re:Purple Moon, John Romero, and sexist games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281513)

and yes it was called "Dollhouse", but no it wasn't "aimed at girls".

No one in their right mind would ever consider naming a supposedly gender-neutral video game "Dollhouse." I think that they ever considered the name demonstrates what they at least originally thought their target audience might be.

Re:Purple Moon, John Romero, and sexist games (5, Interesting)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281586)

You're entitled to your own opinion about Will Wright's sanity, but I was there at the time and participated in the endless discussions about what to name the game, over three years. At first, it was called "Project X", because it was started before "Project Y" (which was SimCopter), but everybody has a "Project X" and we weren't going for an adult rating, so that name had to go. "Dollhouse" was the most obvious working title, but we knew it wasn't going to ship with that name. It was also called "Tactical Domestic Simulator (TDS)", but of course you could never ship a product with that title either. But that didn't mean it was originally designed to be a game about about nuclear warfare. For a while it was called "Jefferson" for "the persuit of happyness", but everybody thought that it was based on "The Jefferson's" sitcom instead of the president who was into freedom. Along the same theme, I suggested "We the People" (an omage to little computer people), but that was a dumb name. Will proposed some weird Japanese inspired name, something like "Happy Fun House", but that didn't stick.

As obvious as "The Sims" sounds for the title of a Maxis game, that name didn't come around until the last minute. And then there was the other name that Will Wright and Jim Mackraz came up with early on which was totally perfect and extremely hillarious, but thanks to whatever they were smoking, they completely forgot what it was and can't remember the lost name to this day. Since nobody could remember the lost name, we went with The Sims. I always liked the German translation of that name: "Die Sims".

-Don

Re:Purple Moon, John Romero, and sexist games (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281612)

So, to sum up for the AC:

"Dollhouse" is to "The Sims" as "Dolphin" is to "Gamecube."

Thank God they didn't go with "Tactical Domestic Simulator." No one would have played it.

Purple Moon, John Romero, and sexist games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281702)

"Thank God they didn't go with "Tactical Domestic Simulator." No one would have played it."

Calling it marriage wouldn't have worked either.

Re:Purple Moon, John Romero, and sexist games (3, Interesting)

heresyoftruth (705115) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281691)

As a woman who games, I have to agree with your assessment. I am completely insulted by games that are genderized to any extreme. Whether it be towards males or females. Anything that obviously is reaching for a gender stereotype ends up being less than satisfactory in my experience. Nowadays I play the oddball games that don't fit the formulas out there. Katamari Damaci, Pikman, The Sims, Insaniquarium, etc. The game I am really really waiting for with anticipation this year is Spore.

Why don't I play the more violent FPS? You could say it's because I am female, or you could listen to me say I have done that, and it all seems a rehash of the same freaking game with different skins, and slight variations. I am a female minority in my circle of friends, but I am not the only one that feels this way about games. I actually got interested in The Sims because of my male friends spending so much time on it.

They're not dolls! (4, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281118)

They're action figures!!!

They're hollow!!! (0, Offtopic)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281666)

And another little known and totally supressed fact: Sims are hollow!!! That saves a lot of chocolate, which makes the product much cheaper to produce, and downloading Sims from the internet is much faster because you don't have to wait for all the guts and fillings.

But hollow Sims are not as evil as Chocolate Easter Bunnies and Chocolate Santa Clauses, which are really just a big Christian conspiracy to trick and mislead kids, and crush their hopes and dreams, by leading them on to think they're getting solid chocolate, but then disappointing them by giving them a thin waxy shell full of empty nothingness, instead of the promised chocolate core. That's actually a great lesson about the harsh cruelty of life, which teaches kids to expect more lies and disappointments later in life, but to associate broken promises and hollow chocolate and obviously fictitious fairy tales with Jesus's birth and crucifiction just strikes me as sick and demented. Why are Christians so surprized when their children lose their faith, after parents lie to kids about important things like chocolate?

-Don

Where are the parents? (0)

Philomathie (937829) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281125)

Since when have we needed a game to teach our kids that locking someone in a room with no windows or doors, and leaving them to die is a BAD thing! There is something seriously wrong with society if this is the case...

Re:Where are the parents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281283)

That was a joke added by the submitter. Although I can hardly see what anyone can learn from the sim beside cheating because its so damn boring ans slow paced.

Kids these days... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281355)

...are just too used to spammers. Sometimes leaving people to die in a sealed room doesn't go far enough.

Re:Kids these days... (1)

mianne (965568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281399)

That would never work. It would only result in that person surreptitiously ordering the Sims Ci@1i$ expansion pack for you.

Re:Kids these days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281479)

...don't realize that the condoning of torturing someone because they caused you inconvenience may not be appropriate behavior.

Duh (0, Redundant)

mqduck (232646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281159)

Sims are the new dolls? As soon as I read that, I said "well, duh" and started to tag it as such, when I suddenly realized "oh, wait... I hadn't actually thought of that before." It's just so obvious I naturally assumed I had.

This is an outrage (3, Funny)

defile (1059) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281162)

The article does quote one 10-year-old boy who plays with Sims, and has learned valuable life lessons. "I learned don't leave your baby crying or people will come take your baby away."

Subjecting one's offspring to unspeakable torture is every American's GOD GIVEN RIGHT.

Re:This is an outrage (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281210)

Subjecting one's offspring to unspeakable torture is every American's GOD GIVEN RIGHT.

For those of us who know offspring who have been subjected to same, this isn't very funny. Shame on you.

Re:This is an outrage (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281313)

You're not Republican, are you?

--
BMO

Yes, I know, it's a troll. But my karma is bigger than yours. Nyeah.

Re:This is an outrage (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281246)

A friend of mine came up with this 'wonderful' (NOT!!) experiment you can do if you suddenly have twins. One of them you pamper and give it everything it wants, and the other one you neglect, shout at, well, basically, you treat him/her like Harry Potter was treated by his aunt and uncle. It would be interesting to see the results.

KIDS (AND PARENTS), DO NOT try this at home! Not with real kids, anyway! I will not take any responsibility for the results!

Re:This is an outrage (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281330)

"Prince and the Pauper" might interest you, then. An oldish film, also a book if I remember right.

Re:This is an outrage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281502)

Twain. KEEEEELL. Twain. KEEEEEEL. *twitch*

Sims NOTHING like playing with dolls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281223)

Playing with dolls is fun.

A better quote from the article: (5, Interesting)

mblase (200735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281269)

Among psychologists and education experts, it is widely accepted that playing with dolls is a safe and perhaps even essential part of self-discovery and growing up for many children, especially girls. Now, some of those experts are catching on to how quickly video games are moving into the territory formerly dominated by a slim blonde named Barbie.
Anyone who has preschool-age children and a few baby dolls in the house will notice that, eventually, the kids (both boys and girls) will pick up the dolls and start role-playing out the very same relationship they perceive between their parent(s) and themselves. If you rock them and tell them stories, they'll rock their dolls and tell them stories. If you yell at them and put them in time out, their dolls will experience similar punishments. And psychologists have long used doll play to determine whether small children have been sexually molested by family members by watching to see if they do the same thing, without any encouragement, to the dolls.

As kids get older, though, their doll play moves on from simply reenacting life and becomes more imaginative. The dolls will begin to live out the kind of fantasy life the child thinks s/he will have as an adult, or wishes s/he will have. They'll give the dolls the kind of lives they learned about in books or tv shows or movies.

You have to be a bit older still to realize that dolls and/or Sims can be treated in ways you'd never treat real people, but it's still reenactment, even if you're just reenacting "Silence of the Lambs" torture cells or action movies where the villain catches on fire and falls off the roof. Anyone who reaches that point has generally concluded that Barbie is just plastic, Sims are just software code, and there's nothing anthropomorphic about them in his/her mind anymore.

Sims are noteworthy, though, because they react in ways Barbie won't and will actually teach some social behaviors, like babies who aren't cared for will be taken away from you. In the past, this sort of educational value was limited to "If I torture my Barbies, my friends won't play with me anymore" or "If I rip Barbie's arm off, it doesn't go back on." Not that those aren't valuable lessons, mind you, they're just much more limited.

Sims should never be used as a replacement for real socialization, of course, and if a child is losing friends in favor of Sims that's videogame addiction and a problem to be a addressed. (If the child never had friends to begin with, I reserve judgment.) But as "the new Barbie", I don't think there's any problems to be found.

Re:A better quote from the article: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281413)

This is definately one of the most interesting things I've ever read on Slashdot. Thanks :)

Ignorant question -off-line SIMS to play with wife (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281297)

Hi!

Excuse ignorance - I just do not play many games.

Is there any SIMS version that can be played without Internet connection
(local LAN OK) with my wife ?

She knows next to nothing about computer games and I am looking for a game
she could enjoy so she would be more understanding about my
occasional games .. :)

Re:Ignorant question -off-line SIMS to play with w (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281523)

The only online version of The Sims is The Sims Online. The rest are completely offline, aside from The Sims 2 which allows you to download content from within the game and from on it's website(among plenty of others. If the wife gets really addicted to it, you'll probably see money wasted at The Sims Resource.)

An Important Lesson (5, Funny)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281312)

And I learned that if you lock Sims in your upstairs torture chamber, with no tiles to sit, they eventually cry themselves to death.

Memo to Myself: If I ever need a babysitter, do not call CmdrTaco.

Re:An Important Lesson (4, Funny)

Carthag (643047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281486)

I had enormous fun building a 7-bed one room house inhabited by 8 men & a huge bigscreen TV. It's amazing & hilarious how often they get in fights when their lives are so completely horrible.

Re:An Important Lesson (5, Funny)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281670)

I had enormous fun building a 7-bed one room house inhabited by 8 men & a huge bigscreen TV. It's amazing & hilarious how often they get in fights when their lives are so completely horrible.


Too bad you didn't have a copy of the Sims handy at the time... you could have found out the same things without going to all that expense!

Simply, No (2, Insightful)

quantax (12175) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281358)

I think the major difference between a doll and any video game where its primarily a character simulation is that the doll is an object through which the child has nearly unlimited freedom of expression where as the video game is an exploration of a character that reacts a set way in a virtual environment. I consider this to be more of a virtual pet rather than a doll. This will show them interactions & their effects, but they do not explore the interactions on their own, they happen regardless since thats how the system works.

Action figures or dolls, I know I put mine in all sorts of roles, ranging from simply good-guy vs bad guy to space exploration, you name it. With friends, you'd extend to roles further to each other, involve more characters, and so on. My roommate was even more into it than I ever was and he'd have his entire toy collection, involved in vast, decently complex plots for a child. The fun was in the fact that you could do anything with the objects at hand and project roles upon them regardless of their origin (Cobra Commander could just be Cobra Commander or he could also be the member of the crowd that gets saved by Voltron, who is actually a robot-alien from a distant planet sent to stop Strawberry-Shortcake from... its limited by your imagination).

Dolls are about role exploration and archetype analysis by children. We read them stories (or they watch TV) which sets up these various character archetypes in their consciousness, which they use the dolls to act out. It is both a learning experience but also a reaffirmation of their character beliefs. The Sims cannot provide this, imo, simply since it is about a very static (compared to what you can do with your dolls) character that has set reactions to all stimuli in the game. Its not like your sim is going to take some new initiative, or as if you can really act out a complex story idea, since the game is too sandboxish & opened-ended for that to happen. One does not so much control as heavily influence their sim. On the other hand, if the child is fascinated by things like antfarms and such, perhaps they may enjoy it. But regardless, I do not see simulations replacing dolls; no, I see emergent game systems with easily creatable content as a place where dolls may get replaced. A game where you can define the world and the objects in it (think Spore meets Gmod meets the user definable gameplay-engine-system we've never seen). The closest we've seen to this is Spore, but while its amazing, its pretty obvious that this is not something that would even meet 1% of those requirements for a child.

You are one of few. (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281708)

There are many, many parents with many, many children who have almost no imagination. This lets those crippled minds have their play, even if it limits those whose imagination is a vast expanse. You can have a highly successful, happy, functional life entirely without the aid of an imagination. I think it might actually be beneficial; I think a lot of people that I know think I'm wierd because I bring up strange ideas "out of nowhere." If I didn't think quite so creatively, I'd probably fit in better.

The same comments can be applied to video games versus pen-and-paper RPGs, or even for books versus radio shows, or radio shows versus TV.

Which do you think people want more? Are there more dreamers looking for an outlet, or more who hunger for the dreams of others?

Learn By Doing (3, Insightful)

martyb (196687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281361)

It's the scientific method applied to life - in a game environment so it encourages exploration while having fun. It encourages trial and error. I often learn best from what goes wrong - not just from what succeeds. This reminds me of a couple quotations which have helped me greatly through the years:

Life is a harsh teacher - it gives the test first and the lesson later.
and:
Tell me and I'll forget;
Show me and I may remember;
Involve me and I will understand.

(I wish I had attribution for these... does anyone know who wrote them?)

The other thing I see is that the game is safe. The player can try things *objectively* without the risk of an *emotional* reaction that a parent might produce. "What the *&#@(% were you THINKING?" I am NOT suggesting parents abdicate their responsibilities to a game! For example: hitting my little brother got a swift reaction from my parents. I learned that I didn't want to get punished, so I stopped doing it. Playing it out in a game, I would get to see the emotional, long-term damage that it would cause -- I would better understand why it was a bad idea.

Re:Learn By Doing (1)

Zaphod2016 (971897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281426)

For example: hitting my little brother got a swift reaction from my parents. I learned that I didn't want to get punished, so I stopped doing it. Playing it out in a game, I would get to see the emotional, long-term damage that it would cause -- I would better understand why it was a bad idea.

This certainly got me thinking- and I have come to agree with you. As a kid, I had a terrible habit of getting in trouble, simply to see what would happen (the classic "trouble child" syndrome). Perhaps if I had the Sims to torture, instead of real people, I might not have been punched in the mouth so often- and yet- might have still learned why its better to not be a total jerk.

Re:Learn By Doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281580)

Second quote is usually attributed to Confuscious.

Re:Learn By Doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281597)

Tell me and I'll forget;
        Show me and I may remember;
        Involve me and I will understand.

(I wish I had attribution for these... does anyone know who wrote them?)

- Confucius?

And OpenTTD ... (1)

birdowner (635361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281386)

Made me forget about buying model trains. Who wants to dunk lots of money into buying parts when you can just construct a 500 train network in your computer?

Vik

Forget dolls, what about ponies? (2, Funny)

Benzido (959767) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281412)

So if Sims are the new dolls, what are the new ponies?

Barbie Horse Adventures, it should be pointed out, doesn't have any ponies.

Re:Forget dolls, what about ponies? (1)

Benzido (959767) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281423)

Barbie Horse Adventures, it should be pointed out, doesn't have any ponies.

Dammit, just now I got to the end and discovered that there is an UNLOCKABLE pony!

Re:Forget dolls, what about ponies? (1)

ByteGuerrilla (918383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281478)

'Take your pony to the next watering station.' ...
'Brush her hair' ..... okayyy...
'Your pony died because it wasn't pretty enough' ..... *screams with distress*

See Alice announcement (1)

jbgreer (4245) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281445)

EA recently agreed to fund the development of the next major version of Alice, a programming environment produced by a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

http://www.alice.org/simsAnnouncement.html [alice.org]

Included in this agreement is the use of Sims characters within Alice. Developers create worlds and place objects and characters within these settings; the actions and reactions of the characters and objects are based on methods. This new funding will allow users to choose Sims characters and use Sims animations.

Alice has been shown to be effective in allowing students to tell stories. AIR, some recent doctoral work in this area indicates that while game playing appeals primarily to male students, storytelling appeals to both female and male students and increases student retention (one of the goals of the study).

jbgreer

The elephant in the room (2, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281544)

... boys will "do the same stupid thing over and over again and be happy," (and I wince looking at my vast collection of first-person shooters).

Everyone seems to be leaving that comment alone. Personally I've never really understood the appeal of first-person shooters, because they all do seem to be the same thing. You run around killing things with different forms of projectile weapons. However, I know I'm definitely in the minority on this one, at least in Slashdot.

If you enjoy first-person shooters, do you think of the games as actually very different from each other, or is there something enjoyable about the repetition of them? Or is it something completely different that makes them so appealing?

File this one under: "Clueless person looking for insight," rather than "FPS hater baits Slashdotters."

Re:The elephant in the room (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281601)

When I first saw your comment title, I strangely thought of that exact quote- not because of the FPS shooter, but because of how amazingly sexist it is. You don't have to scroll up very far to see posts about how games that are '"aimed at girls" that were "pink" and "girlish" ' are inherently sexist. Yet nobody's commented on this statement.

The thing that bothers me is that both of these ideas are true, if you prefaced it with "a large percentage", or possibly even "a majority". But rarely does anyone bother...

Re:The elephant in the room (4, Interesting)

philgross (23409) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281643)

I'm the submitter. I actually have a vast collection of all different kinds of games, and recently had about a week of my life sucked away by Oblivion, which is an interesting hybrid of Sims-like life-simulation in a fully realized world, and standard FPS-like dungeon-crawler, and before that my biggest time suckers were the 4X games Civ4 and GalCiv2.


But, to address your question, I do have an awful lot of FPSs also. I would say that as with most genres, as you get deeper into them and play more of them, the differences and subtleties become obvious, and they (at least the good ones) don't feel that similar. Playing Unreal Tournament with friends on a LAN is totally different than playing DOOM III alone in a dark room which is totally different from the adventure story that is Half-Life 2. No One Lives Forever 2 feels utterly different from F.E.A.R., despite being from the same studio; the former is bright and hilarious, the other is a visceral and scary combination of a John Woo movie and The Ring.


I had a roommate who mostly played console fighting games. He had played them all, and could play them for hours on end. Each was completely different to him, some great, some lame, while to me they all looked like a pair of cartoon characters endlessly punching and kicking each other.


I guess when you play a particular genre a lot, your brain just factors out the common stuff (shooting the groups of enemies/punching your opponent) and focuses on the distinguishing characteristics.


At the social level, though, all the FPSs are either interactive movies (first person mode) or collections of short team or individual games with good replay value (multiplayer mode). Even the 4X games like Civ4 or GalCiv2 have actors that represent entire nations/planets. I never really had an urge to play a world sim where the actors represented individual people, but maybe that's because I never tried one, or maybe just because I'm a guy.

Re:The elephant in the room (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15281677)

If you objectively look at fist person shooters, they look dull and boring. For me the fun is in the storyline I make up myself for let's say 75%. It's all about imagination.

You can practically hear them. (0, Troll)

foQ (551575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281554)

And the stampede begins as pedophiles leave myspace.com for The Sims.

Vast Collection of First-Person Shooters (2, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281566)

Lolzers, Taco.

Vast Collection?

I got to Medal of Honor, discovered online play, and haven't bought a FPS since.

See you in Brest, meat.

Neopets is better (3, Interesting)

mark99 (459508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281587)

My kids play a lot of Sims, but they play even more Neopets. It has a more complex economy, I think it is better on the whole.

The girls play dolls too, but not as much as Neopets/Sims.

I am sure it is good for them. Most everybody I know who has a good job spends a large portion of it wrestling with uncooperative software suites. Sims and Neopets do a good job of preparing you for that. And dealing with money (somewhat). And unstructured problem solving. And much more.

Just my 0.02 Euros.

Torturing Sims....and Little Computer People (3, Funny)

abbamouse (469716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281618)

Hmmmm.... I learned some of those lessons from Little Computer People on my Commodore 64. If you don't feed the LCP he gets sad and turns green. If you leave the machine on overnight to watch him starve, your mother will decide that you probably shouldn't have a pet just yet, even though it turns out that you can't kill an LCP. Seriously, my mother was so moved by the suffering of my LCP that she made me give him food and water while she watched :)

What I learned from The Sims (3, Funny)

jdbartlett (941012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15281676)

I learned that if I type "ctrl+shift+c" and "motherlode", I get loads of money for free. Only it didn't seem to work when I tried it at First National Bank.

Also, pizza costs $40

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