July - last edited July
I don't want to sound like some old timer or something and rant. But I do want to share my experience and juxtapose that with current events. So, if you don't mind, bare with me.
I've played computer games since I was a little boy in the mid-1980s - I was born in the year 1980, so it makes this easy for reference. That was definitely a pioneer kind of period for games as personal computers became more accessible, but not nearly as accessible as the 90s with the boom of the internet. Even though games of that period may not be much to look at with their primitive graphics compared to today, they did have aspects in them that allowed your imagination to make the game bigger than it was. Sometimes, I find myself missing that joy with those simple games having played current games with far more complexity in them. I guess it's difficult to "downgrade" my mind.
Having played games on my parents' computers for a time, they finally got me a computer for Christmas when I was about 12. It was meant for both my sister and I, but I took to it so much - having already been interested - that they bought her her own and I took off with the original. That following summer, with my lawn-mowing money, I bought my first game, SimCity 2000. I kept going bankrupt with my towns and the towns' people kept throwing me out. I couldn't get the budget right enough to make money while expanding my city. One of my friends was visiting and I asked how to make money. He showed me a crude - in hindsight - trick to have tons of money: Build only residential and industry, as much as you can, with basic utilities, and put it on the Cheetah speed setting to leave overnight (and don't forget to turn off disasters!). I had tons of cash and built to my heart's content. But it immediately made sense to me to build basic aspects first and let some time pass and build some more until I can support other aspects of my city, and it worked. And I built and I built. I actually still have those cities on 3 1/4 in floppy. I just wonder if that floppy will be unusable in time from its decay.
I had been playing various games to that point, but this one really tapped into my creativity and let my imagination wander. I loved this game and wanted more games like it. Thankfully, Will Wright made more. I played SimEarth, SimIsle, SimAnt, SimFarm, and even though it was a different developer, SimTower. I bought the add-ons for SimCity and loved the Urban Renewal Kit allowing me to modify my buildings - I always wanted to put that tenement building in *batteries not included in my cities. But I've played many more types of games in all of this, and I don't think it's really productive to say them all, except that I found that the gaming industry was really involved and loving creating interesting games. It was before corporations were growing their portfolios with small gaming companies they've purchased and rebranded as their own. Maxis and EA eventually joined.
Will Wright seemed to have his influence as he needed it and went on to make SimCity 3000 and then the The Sims. I bought them both. I bought SimCity 4 later on, too. There was a lot of creative energy with those games, and even plenty of humor. The Sims Online, however, seemed like an experiment not really taking off since everyone was only interested in building a casino in the game. I think he still had his hand in The Sims 2 as well, but I think that became more of EA than Will Wright with the concept of stuff packs along with expansion packs. To me, I think Will Wright's presence was faintest with Spore when I saw what he wanted to make verses what was really made. The game was interesting, still, but it did not have that component of evolution like he wanted it where your creations learned and adapted. When SimCity Societies came out, which Will Wright was long out of that, I enjoyed the game, but it wasn't the same and I continued playing SimCity 4. SimCity (5) definitely had it's interesting experimentation, but the franchise has lost to Indie developers with what seems like no interest in future developments. What's telling of that is the total abandonment of additional content for SimCity (5).
I have played all content of The Sims, most of the content of The Sims 2, and I think I've played all of the content of The Sims 3. It was funny to me to see each time a new Sims came out, people would lament about the lack of things to do without realizing they've been so used to so much content by the time a new game came out. It was almost always predictable. I think this franchise has seen a lot of really cool innovations and each "epoch" has seen its value come out. I think it's enough evidence to say that it's very difficult to make such a large and involved game like The Sims to being bug free as each "epoch" had its quirks that never ironed out. I think, though, as a whole, things were generally O.K. and stable.
I used to be involved in the public scene during The Sims 2 and created buildings and shared them. I still largely have all of my content from these games, but I am not 100% sure if I have The Sims ( 1 ) content. Life's been busy, I guess, and the need for involvement dropped. I guess I'm coming out of hiding to say something very important.
I think I'll be honest that I was not really impressed with The Sims 4 at first. It seemed to lack even further from initial basic Sim games. I did not really play it that much and my attention went elsewhere with other games, from other companies. Eventually, I heard about an expansion pack, and I think I learned about it some time after it came out. I eventually bought it some time after knowing about it. It was okay. I'm having a hard time remembering where it was getting interesting and I wanted to play more, but I do have all content now. It is a beautiful game aesthetically. I think there are definitely interesting traits to it and have enjoyed some of the nuances of the game, even though some aspects could have been deepened. I won't go into great details since that is not the point I'm trying to make.
I do think this latest expansion has its merits, and I greatly encourage the developers and managers to dive into this some and broaden its scope. But I think more communication really should be there about the current issues with it. I've seen where EA is cutting the cord on something that didn't deserve it. Motor City Online is a big example of other plans. With problems of the game bubbling up and lack of interaction of the developers, it was a matter of time to know that EA had no interest in this game and pulled the plug despite the potential of the game that could've made it bigger than it was. I'm not saying that's happening here. I'm saying, I think EA's odd behind-the-scenes behavior can really stick out like a sore thumb. I don't want to rant or point fingers or anything unproductive. I just want to say that in all of the years I've been playing, which being almost 40 years old and not really slacking too greatly of my playtime in the midst of my career, I am greatly concerned about EA's habits and how I personally have not thought of EA as a primary company for my games. I have stuck with The Sims because of its heritage, but not much else. I've played SimCity (5), but have not touched it in quite a while, while I play Indie versions of that great city simulator. I even wonder where The Sims franchise is really going. Will it move to a 5 or stop? Will it do something completely different? Or will Indie productions take over? I don't know. I don't know, as a person approaching 40, how involved with games as I've been will continue to be as if to say there may be a narrow age band of where games lay and the depth that they will go before something else comes along to force a paradigm. Nothing is meant to last, but given time you have to wonder where things are really going.
My real point is: I think this expansion pack was rushed. It clearly is another cool new thing that developers are thinking about to try something different. But, it doesn't help anything to be silent about the problems, offer no quick patches or suggestions, and your latest patch or blog updates make it sound like nothing is wrong on any front. I feel there is pressure internally to keep comments at bay until something else happens. I don't know. It's a guess based on my experience as a player. You really have to realize that you've created a virus in the game to decay itself to the point of being unplayable. I think that's a very serious oversight that no company should make or that no company should be glossing over and pretending it's nothing. I mean, I've not been involved publicly with a game like this in a long time and here I am having to post something. Possibly my only post in this new forum. I don't think the negative cliche about EA is really helpful and I really don't appreciate those folks that use that trope just to express a rant for rant's sake. However, there is a small truth there that as a person very long term with EA (and Maxis back in its day) has to say that I don't think things are okay over there and I really wanted to encourage you all over there to think about this silence and what it really means. I really think you should say something even if it's just "I'm sorry" if there is nothing else to say for whatever reason. Lastly, realize that we're all under pressure because of the pandemic and everything around it. We all have our stressors and it's important to be kind in a time where kindness is not the norm.