In my first play journal blog entry for my Games & Learning class, I provided an overview of getting started with The Sims 4. In this blog, I would like to discuss the next step after building your character, which is building your living space. The game gave me the option of living in several different communities, and then provides the option of which lot you want to build on, so I picked the suburban community and the largest lot available. My character loves gardening and needs space for that and a large swimming pool!

I was a little leery of getting started on building my home because I feared that the game would crash on me and would be really slow and unresponsive. This was not the case at all. When I was in build mode, the game operated very smoothly and each tool easily responded to what I wanted it to do. I have been playing The Sims 4 on my laptop computer and one drawback to this is I feel the game would be best played and enjoyed on a desktop PC with a large monitor. A larger screen size would definitely help when in build mode.

The second thing I was worried about was that there would be so many different options for designs that I would be overwhelmed. I expected The Sims 4 to be way ahead of the first Sims game I played back in 2000 in regards to housing styles, windows, doors, furniture, etc. Surprisingly and disappointingly, this was not the case. I feel like The Sims 4 should have many more options to choose from. This is where my affinity space project comes in handy. The Sims Resource is my chosen affinity space this semester, and luckily it holds a massive database of any kind of downloadable item one could ever want for this game. I realized that I couldn’t really build the home I dreamed of with the items that comes with The Sims 4, but the free items on The Sims Resource would allow me to build exactly what I wanted. However, for this blog, I am going to only play with what is provided in the game.

Like the original Sims game, I should caution that it is much easier to play the game itself with a smaller home than it is playing with a giant mansion. Yes, it is fun to have a very large fancy home on The Sims 4, but you may quickly find out that it’s more difficult to manage things. This is especially true if your computer runs slow, crashes during game play, if you are using a laptop or smaller monitor, or if you have a large family on your game and you need to take care of your kids, clean the house, etc. If you have a very large home, you might find that it’s hard to get your player quickly from the back of your home to the front if there’s ever a time when that happens, such as if your doorbell rings, there’s a fire in your kitchen, or someone is calling.

During my time building my home, I realized that one could get lost playing this game in “build mode” for hours upon hours. This was what happened to me with the original Sims game. I would spend a long time in the build mode and would find myself building something and then tearing it down or “remodeling” what I had built. My homes were always under construction and I did more building than I did actually “living”. I will even create a new character to move into an adjacent lot just so I can build their home. One could argue that with a few tweaks in the code, The Sims could be changed into a general contractor simulator. That could be pretty interesting.

In my next play journal, I will discuss my character living in her newly build home and will summarize the living mode in the game.