Monday, December 31, 2007


Well, it's been a long time since my last video game addiction. I was into the Sims for a couple of months about three years ago, and I'd spend so much time feeding my little guy and sending him to the bathroom and getting him a job that I ran a risk in real life of starving to death and/or wetting my pants. Playing the Sims had all of the appeal of playing with my doll house when I was 7. I got to build a house and add onto it and buy furniture. I named all of my Sims after NPR personalities, so I got to be the hand of God that caused Nina Totenberg and Corey Flintoff to fall in love and start a family (until Nina started her little fling with Carl Kasell). Anyway, eventually, I realized that I was hungry and I had to pee, so I let the Sims gather virtual dust inside of my computer, and Nina and Corey and Carl returned to their original roles in my life as voices on the radio.

The Sims was one of those games that was designed to appeal to women, because the male video game market was already tapped, but women weren't playing. It worked (at least for me), because the Sims was all about relationships, and the slow building of a life. You begin with a little bit of money and a simple house, and you have to work from the ground up, gradually adding rooms, upgrading your stove and getting promoted at your job. You flirt slowly with the Sim next door, talking about sports and birds until eventually your thoughts turn to love, and then you get to work on living happily ever after by expanding the house and having babies. In the Sims world, though, I was always more into the house addition than the new family members, because the babies just meant more mouths to feed and trips to the bathroom.

So, it's no coincidence that my new video game addiction is also made for women and families. The Nintendo Wii, is actually about the relationships of the real people holding the controllers, though. You get to jump around and be silly with your friends and family, flailing wildly and ducking and weaving as your virtual selves box it out on the screen. You can team up and play tennis together, feeling like a well-oiled machine with your friend (or like a machine that has a couple of missing cogs as the case may be). You also get to slowly build up your skill points, which feels a little like being a Sim and finding your way in the world. And, of course, I can spend twenty minutes creating a "Mii" who looks just like me (sort of, almost, a little bit), which appeals to the doll house lover in me.

I'm just glad that I don't have to feed the Mii or take her to the bathroom, and, just to be safe, I'm not going to let her flirt with any other Miis. I don't know how effective Mii birth control is, but I do know a thing or two about abstinence, damn it.

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