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"The game's excellent music and sound effects, detailed scenery, cleverly animated characters, and equally clever writing go a long way toward fulfilling [the game's] intriguing premise." - Andrew Seyoon Park, GameSpot Review
We didn't nominate The Sims for any of our genre awards because the game simply defies categorization. However, we weren't at all surprised to find the game at the top of all of our editors' lists as the best choice for our Game of the Year award. Despite the game's basic strategic elements, one of the reasons The Sims is such a remarkable game is because its central conflict is essentially life itself. Most any other game gives you a concrete objective: You're pitted against powerful enemy armies, arch-rivals, deadly aliens, or fantasy creatures. The Sims offers a similar challenge, but in the unlikely form of your having to manage the mundane details of an average suburban life. This witty, ambitious premise actually turned out to be a truly impressive game as well.
One of the best things about The Sims is how funny and how clever it manages to be. The game's sense of humor is evident in its every detail. The game's strategic conceit is one of the funnier things about it: Each character in The Sims comprises a number of discreet attributes. When you create a character, you must balance the traits against each other to decide how nice, outgoing, neat, active, and playful your character is. In the game, you must constantly account for the character's fluctuating statistics, which correspond with the status of the character's hunger, energy, comfort, hygiene - even bladder! And you need to act upon these status changes accordingly, by eating, resting, cleaning, and relieving as necessary. Balancing these elements proves to be surprisingly challenging, and the disastrous results of misdirecting your miniature people can be hilarious. Another one of the great things about The Sims is its remarkable variety of options for social interactions between the characters. You can choose to play the game however you want; it's totally open-ended. As in real life, there's a basic assumption that you're supposed to keep your characters happy and well nourished, but there's nothing to stop you from doing otherwise.