Why do students love The Sims?

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A new expansion pack for The Sims 4, called Discover University, will come out on Nov. 15,  and it has a lot that a college student can relate to. Players can choose to have their virtual character, called a Sim, live in a dorm, live off-campus, study life away, attend sporting events or go to parties. 

This expansion pack lets players enroll in the classes they want to take, which also comes with grades that can be affected by how often a Sim attends class or studies. 

This expansion pack explores the decisions college students make on a daily basis, presenting a fairly realistic version of the actions and consequences that college students face. 

It’s no secret that being a college student is difficult. Students are expected to go to school full time, hold a part-time job, maintain a social life, study, study some more, attend classes regularly, keep up with hours upon hours of homework and still somehow get a good night’s sleep. 

With such a jam-packed schedule, it’s hard to make sure everything is done correctly. People need room to make mistakes, which is why I believe that The Sims is such a popular game among college students. 

The Sims is a single-player game developed by Maxis and published by the company Electronic Arts. It is a life simulator, in which a player makes his or her own virtual character which he or she can customize, both physically and mentally. 

Players can choose their Sims’ body types, different traits, names and even facial structure. They must keep up with the Sims’ hygiene, hunger and social life in order to keep their Sims happy and healthy.

In addition to maintaining the Sims’ wellness, the players also can have their Sims make decisions about daily life or careers. Sims can go to college, start a family, commit crimes or completely neglect their health. Based on the decisions a player has the Sim make, the Sim faces different consequences. 

Like players’ Sims, college students also face consequences for their actions. For example, if I were to go on a party-going spree, I might find myself falling behind in my schoolwork, becoming exhausted or even developing an addiction to alcohol. 

So, this is where a Sim can come in handy. 

Players who feel compelled to make such decisions in their own lives can first have their Sims make those irresponsible decisions in their own lives instead. 

A player could have his or her Sim attend party after party and then watch how that affects the Sim rather than such player performing the actions himself or herself in the real world. 

The players themselves do not have to face the consequences that the Sims face, and they get that “second chance” to make better decisions, which could be why the game is so appealing to college students.

Some may disagree and say that the Sims’ lives are always going to be accurate representations of the consequences people could really face, which is true. Obviously the players’ and a Sims’ lives are not the exact same. 

But because players can customize the Sim to be almost exactly like themselves, physically and mentally, the players can get a pretty good idea of what could happen.

Besides the Discover University expansion pack, The Sims have several other packs that range anywhere from paranormal to medieval. There’s a pack that lets players make their Sims vampires or ghosts; one that lets players make their Sims knights or wizards. There’s even a pack that lets players’ Sims care for many different pets. 

Obviously, there are limitations on what people can do in reality. People are not vampires or wizards, so expansion packs like these are just for entertainment. 

People don’t always get second chances in the real world. It’s difficult to know exactly what to do, especially for a college students, who are at a time in their lives when the decisions they make could have permanent outcomes, positive or negative. 

Making room for mistakes is important, but unfortunately people don’t always get that. 

The Sims allows players to live through their decisions using characters who are not real and get a general idea of what might happen as a result of those decisions.

Everyone who plays The Sims does so for different reasons. Some may indulge in activities that they can’t indulge themselves. Some may want to live lives that they cannot live in reality. 

Ultimately, the entire reason people choose to play is about actions versus consequences. Getting others to make decisions and watching those decisions play out allows people that second chance they rarely get in real life.  

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