The Sims 4: StrangerVille Has an Early ‘80s Amblin Movie Type of Vibe
It’s hard to believe that nearly two decades have passed since The Sims first babbled their way onto PCs across the globe. I jumped off the wagon way back, after The Sims 2, but these games still hold a special place in my heart. And from time to time I check back in, looking for a reason to give them another go. Though the life simulation series hasn’t lured me back in, yet, the latest entry, The Sims 4 StrangerVille has me at least giving it some thought.
Developed by Maxis, The Sims games made their debut in February 2000 and became a video game phenomenon. The series was initially developed for the PC but has been adapted to every major platform (consoles, handhelds, and smartphones) and is one of the best-selling video games series of all time.
The beauty of the series is its simple premise. You play god, governing over the lives of simulated people. Think of the gameplay as one-part dollhouse and one-part Tamagotchi. You design a character, select a career and even the layout of their home. After that you watch your Sim thrive – or suffer if you’re that kind of person. These games aren’t about meeting defined objectives or reaching end-points. Half the fun comes from watching your Sims’ lives play out like a mad-science experiment.
But many see the series’ signature sandbox gameplay as a detriment. I found that after the novelty of controlling my Sims’ destinies wore off, the gameplay lost its lustre. The Sims 4: StrangerVille (which arrives next week) is all about adding some narrative thrust to the gameplay. It should be noted that StrangerVille is a game pack (like Vampires), which means it’s not a full expansion pack (like Get Famous). This game pack throws players into a weird desert town and asks them to unravel its mysteries. Take a look:
I find The Sims 4 StrangerVille’s premise intriguing, but the real hook is the personality of its quirky little town. The trailer creates a real Eerie, Indiana type of vibe. And if you aren’t an ‘80s baby, then the comparison would be The X-files and Stranger Things. And does it ever look gnarly when that Sim in the trailer gets stricken by whatever plagues the town. It’s reminiscent of that gruesome dance-murder in Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria.
My favourite part of playing The Sims series was never written into each game’s code. It was always coming up with elaborate backstories for my Sims. As a writer and a storyteller, they scratched a particular itch. But after a while, I wanted to lose myself in a virtual world and enjoy its story without doing the heavy lifting. Judging by the trailer, The Sims 4 StrangerVille offers the best of both worlds. I don’t know if it’s enough to make me dive back in, but I’ll keep a closer eye on where this series goes next.
Here is the official synopsis for The Sims 4 StrangerVille:
Start your investigation and solve the mystery of a desert town that holds a deep, dark secret in The Sims™ 4 StrangerVille. In this ominous town, Sims are acting strange for unknown reasons. Is there a conspiracy? Will this seemingly odd force possess your Sim? Uncover the story of the secret lab where Sims will encounter strange plants and interact with peculiar devices. Can you solve the mystery?
The Sims 4 StrangerVille will be available on Feb 26, 2019, on Mac and Windows PC.