My Sims, Myself

Days and nights in the belly of the video gaming beast

Alarmed, I set about compiling a list of what I have achieved in that time.

I have completed Doom, Doom II, Hexen, Heretic, Myst, Quake, Quake II, Stonekeep, Phantasmagoria, Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max, Gabriel Knight, Half-Life, Fallout, Syndicate 2, Fallout 2, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Megarace 2, Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn, Command & Conquer, Red Alert, Nox, Tiberian Sun, Heroes of Might & Magic III, Might & Magic VI, Magic: The Gathering, and Micro Maniacs. Many more than once."

--Andy Bodle,
The Guardian (London), April 4, 2002

To me, The Sims has always felt like W.W. Jacobs's much-anthologized story of the monkey's paw: You come upon this strange and magical thing that promises to fulfill some of your greatest wishes. But soon you realize that these wishes are illuminating aspects of your personality you'd rather not see. They can make you greedy, power-hungry, and obsessive. Eventually, you know you must get rid of this thing if you want to get anything accomplished, but you've already started an epidemic. When friends come over and see what it does for you, they'll want one, too. The process repeats itself.

Yesterday my boyfriend and I completed our favorite Nintendo Game Cube game, Super Mario Sunshine. It's the simplest of children's games, complete with smiling sunflowers and dancing mushrooms. And yet we'd devoted the last two months of our lives to playing it. When the final credits rolled across the screen, I felt a sudden sadness. I had worked so hard on this. And now it was over.

"What are we going to do now?" he asked me.

"I don't know," I replied.

I really didn't.

My first thought was reassuring: I still have The Sims Online. There's no "Game Over." It ends only when you want it to.

My second thought troubled me: It ends only when you want it to.

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