For a long time, it seemed like all EA made were Sims games and sports games. So it was surprising to see all three Sims titles confined to one corner of the showroom – but it made it easier for me to cover them all in one fell swoop. First up was My Sims because I got it confused with My Sims Kingdom. My Sims is already out on Wii but the upcoming PC release introduces new community features (like shared Gardens where you can hang out) and six new character NPCs that sort of (but not really) tie into My Sims Kingdom. My Sims on PC looked to be more user-friendly for the builders among you than it was on Wii (or maybe I say that because I'm a klutz with the Wii Remote) and I noticed that the terrain now has different elevations. Terraced garden, here I come.After extricating myself from My Sims, I immediately tumbled into My Sims Kingdom. This is essentially the same as My Sims on the Wii – only there's a plot and tons of RPG elements tossed in. It almost reminded me of Little King's Story or My Life as a King – one of those cutesy RPGs with a twist. In this case, it's the building gameplay. The whole story is that you're customizable character graduates from lowly pig farmer to King's Builder and are given a wand to go around the kingdom, building stuff and making things happen by talking to people. The kingdom is broken up into different islands, each with its own theme. We got to see the home base island where the king's castle needed some bridge-building and later a space island where we got to build a rocket ship. Unicorns, fishing, and princess fill out the fantasy storyline and if you're a kid, or a girl, or can swallow your testosterone long enough to play the game, it'll probably charm you senseless for at least a couple of hours. I hit a wall with My Sims Kingdom when I was told they weren't ready to unveil Drama Island yet (damn!), so I moved on to SimCity Creator and had a tough choice to make: DS or Wii version? I opted for the DS demo and got a nice look at the Challenge Mode where you've got to play through the Ages to win. The guy running the demo took me from the Stone Age where people are incapable of using possessive pronouns through Ancient China with its awesome pagodas into Industrial Revolution Europe where we had to figure out where to put the oh-so-cancerous coal mines for the sake of electricity. The graphics were typical SimCity dull, but the promise of a "Future Age" after completing Challenge Mode had me wondering if there'd be teleporters and rockets and stuff… I would have stuck around to see, but Challenge Mode would easily take the rest of the afternoon to complete, so I got up to dash to for another game before the demo hall closed when the guy running the Wii version called, "Wait, what about me?" I'm a bleeding heart, despite my foul mouth, so I turned to the guy and said, "You've got three minutes." He jumped right in: "Curvy roads. Godzillas. Natural disasters." That got my attention. I'm the jerk who kills my pregnant sims, after all. "Show me."
The roads were curvy, all right. And the graphics were head and shoulder over any SimCity game I've ever seen, even on PC. And sure enough, there were Godzilla-type monsters and natural disasters you could inflict on your city with the flick of the Wii Remote of the press of a button. "Awesome." And before I realized it, they were closing down the hall and having last call at the bar. So at the very least, these games all hold true with a basic Sims property: they're like black holes for time. Here's what My Sims Kingdom looks like:
And this is SimCity Creator: