Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gaming: I miss free *stuff on Wendesdays

* means there used to be a different S-word there.

A long time ago, over ten years in fact, there was a very pleasant company called "Maxis".  And working there was one of the Mozarts of our time, a man named Will Wright.  He had this little idea for a game that would be like a miniature dollhouse, an architect's model, and his previous creation, SimCity, all rolled into one.

That, my friends, was The Sims.

The past two weeks I have been absorbed in playing "The Sims 3".  I just woke up one day and said to myself, "You know, I paid a crap-ton of money for this game, the expansions, and the stuff from the EA store... I should really play it more."  So I did.  And before I knew it, the day was over and I was feeling like my 11 year old daughter, not quite wanting to go to bed just yet.

The Sims, and its sequels, have changed a lot over the past decade.  Most notably was the departure of Will Wright to work on Spore, the move from Maxis to EA (Electronic Arts), and the move from quarterly releases of "Stuff Packs" on disks to a micro-transaction nightmare of content releases on the EA store.

Some simmers are not paying attention, but in these economic times, some people have noticed... we're getting charged a heck of a lot for content we used to get for free, or at the very least, much more cheaply.  For example, in The Sims 2, you would pay $19.95 for a "Stuff Pack" which was usually themed, and would include four rooms stuffed with new furniture, new clothes, and sometimes if you were lucky, a new NPC to visit, like Santa or Baby New Year.  During the days of "The Sims 2" they'd have "Free Stuff Wednesdays" which usually meant a new wallpaper for your PC desktop, but would sometimes be a game item, like a potted plant or wallpaper for your Sim home.

Well those days are long gone.

Now, you buy "Points" for getting items from the Sims 3 store.  What will $19.95 get you?  Well, you're not going to find a great sale on points at Amazon, let me tell you.  And now, it's either $10, $20, or $40 points packages.... you get 100 points for every dollar.  That's not so bad.  What's bad is that now, in order to get the same amount of items you'd get on a PERMANENT CD, you'd have to pay over $50.  If you wanted to get all the sets available on the store?  $350!  Fortunately, I only like about half the items.  However, I'm not getting sucked into their micro-transaction crapola.  I bought the "High End Loft Stuff" pack, because it came on a CD, and I'm satisfied with the amount of content I got with it.  Also, it's gadgety stuff, which I'm  into in real life, so... it's a cool pack for me.

I miss the old days.  I miss the times when they'd give us some cute little thing once a week, for FREE.  Not just because I like getting free crap, but because it was like a little thoughtful gift from a friend, every week.

Now they just seem like greedy, money-hungry bastards.  It's like I used to have this great and thoughtful friend, but now they have a substance-abuse problem and they're constantly wanting to sleep on my couch and borrow money.  I may have to go the tough-love route and kick them out until they sober up.

Which is going to be difficult since they just released the expansion to "Dragon Age".  *sigh*

1 comment:

  1. I'm a Sims 3 fan too! I go to third party sites, like Mod The Sims, to get custom content. There are so many sites with so many objects that there's no need to pay EA another time after your initial investment for the game.