I Am A Sims Addict

Do you know the feeling of being in a Best Buy and wandering over to the aisles of computer games, scanning for the game that is beloved of pre-teen girls? The one that is essentially a computerized dollhouse?  I do.  I know that feeling very well.  I also know what it's like to wait until I'm alone in the aisle until I pick up the box and contemplate buying it, or it's plethora of "expansion" packs that allow you to get different styles of furniture for your computer dolls.  I also know what it's like to ask for a gift receipt so the cute slouchy guy at the counter won't know I am buying this game for me so I can design pretty men with good hairstyles and furniture that I cannot afford.

True, these days you don't have to step outside of your house to buy The Sims.  You can buy them from and download them directly to your computer.  And I recently did.  And after one day I returned it.  I had to, because in one day I lost track of all time and desire to create a real life so that I could watch the computer boys I'd made make out with each other and dance at clubs and get married and disappear under the covers with each other until hearts flutter up in the air.  I spent hours designing characters.

I made the muscle bound, the skinny, the hirsute, the fey... every type of gay you might be able to make?  I made them all.  I had a strong tendency toward big lipped twinks with a penchant for base and eyeliner, but I tried to shake it up as much as I could.  Variety is the spice, as they say.  Yes, I had all kinds...as long as they weren't fat.  Because I mean, this is fantasy land right, and I have struggled enough with my own weight to saddle my little digital progeny with these troubles.  The last thing I want is for Taylor O'Reilly to stay at home ordering pizza because his ass is too big and the other Sims don't want to flirt with him.  I populated my imaginary world with as many different kinds of hot as you can imagine.  Vampires?  Oh yes, there were vampires.  There were even perfect nuclear families.  Of course, every time I tried to create the perfect faithful 1950's family with a sea green couch and a 12 inch screen television the husband would undoubtedly end up making out with their male housekeeper and before you knew it he had moved into a bachelor pad and he and Tad were starting anew.  All of my Sims cheated.  Which is odd.  In my actually life, I am completely faithful.  Never cheated once.  But in the computer world I was constantly throwing my computer peeps toward temptation, dragging them out on secret rendezvous at the lake to "fish" until a cute boy wandered by.  I made a little Peyton Place for myself, a virtual cartoon paradise of boys kissing and dancing and drinking and getting married, and they all had the most amazing things!  There were retro gays, scene gays, lumbergays... and in order to make all these kinds of gays, I had to buy and download a lot of different accessories.  Mostly?  I bought hair.

The Sims need more good male hairstyles.  I could never get enough of good hair for my digital children and after all, there are so many pompadours and ducktails, and floppy shoulder length cuts that you can use. At one point I would buy an entire expansion pack for just one good hair swoop.

I'd say I was immersed in the Sims for at least two or three years during which I would stay up into the wee hours building houses and decorating them, and creating people (I almost never got to the actual interaction part of the game as I spent so much time designing).  Eventually I realized that, while I would put Dirk on the treadmill at a frenetic pace so he could keep his washboard abs, I was not doing this for myself.  And while I would send my boys out on dates, I wasn't going on them myself.  And I wasn't developing my own life skills.  It was all being poured into the computer.

Eventually something had to give, and it was me.  I got brave enough to purge all of the characters and their homes and neighborhoods.  I sent them all to the ethosphere.  Death was short, and not so sweet.  Of course, if I wanted, my accessories were in a folder for easy retrieval, but the lives I'd made?  Gone with the wind.

When Sims 4 came out, I fell off the wagon for some time, deliciously, and recklessly off the wagon.  I waved the wagon goodbye as I lay in the dirt, rolling around with my 99 cent saddle shoes and $5 Medieval fashion sets.  Luckily, I changed computers a few months later and I allowed that transition to send me back to a life outdoors and with the occasional real life man.  But I always feel a bit like I'm on a precipice with that fucking game.  A couple of days ago I realized I still had the Sims 3 on my Mac, and I spent at least an hour creating a Victorian fashion loving, brooding vampire and his Himbo, tank top wearing boyfriend.  Please know. I am not proud of this.  Eventually I had to exit the game without saving my changes or I knew I could easily go back to the land of complete indoors living.  But it IS FUN!  You feel like you are accomplishing things!  It's dolls for adults! And I could make my Sims get to live the life I'd fantasized about, full of record deals and debauchery, and pets!!! If I could only play it in moderation.  But, in truth, I don't know that I can.  Or, at least, my personal history has shown me that this would be... difficult. And so, the most I allow myself is the occasional browse through Amazon.com at the newest expansion sets.  Real life is too important to let it languish in favor of computerized dreams so temptingly easy to achieve.

Joe HartmanSIMS