Oversimulated Suburbia is the title of a story in the New York Times Magazine about the online version of the Sims, which releases next month:
You install the Sims on your computer and you begin the game, and what do you see? A subdivision. There’s a little ranch home over here, a colonial over there, a larger McMansion up the hill. And the object of the game? Suburban conquest in its rawest form. You’ve got to get the kids scrubbed and fed by the time the school bus comes around in the morning. You have to select the right coffee table to go with your love seat. You have to remember to turn off the TV if you want to take a nap, because the noise will keep you up. There’s no winning and losing in the Sims. No points, no end. In the game, as in life, you just keep doing the dishes until you die.
It’s all about time management. You want to throw a dinner party for your friends, and you’d also like to do some gardening, but you’ve got to take out the garbage and pick up the paper from the front yard, and you notice your bladder is alarmingly full and you won’t be at your best unless you head to the bathroom to relieve yourself. This is the epic heroism of everyday life! The most mundane tasks — the ones that actually bore the hell out of you in reality — come at you in the computer game with relentless insistence, and if you are going to be a happy Sim, master of your tract home, lord of your lawn, sultan of your suburb, you have to get organized. You have to impose order on chaos. You have to stay cool and go with the flow. In this way you can achieve split-level greatness.
I’d love to create an online game on the lines of the Sims for SMEs. They can create virtual enterprises (or even mirrors of their own companies), try out ideas, learn management, launch new products, and meet and interact with other SMEs.