I've been gaming for a long time.
I'd rather not go into it, for fear people would start sending me cans of Ensure and/or prune juice, but let's just say I remember a time when we didn't have to blow into cartridges to get the game to work. For you few that understood that reference, you understand that I've been blessed with witnessing gaming evolve from a few pixels to the glorious moments we have available today. It's been a great trip, but what interests me more at this moment than graphics, sound, and game-play is how gaming as a community has changed. Yes, it has obviously grown over the years, becoming one of the most popular pastimes accepted worldwide (in only 40 years, which is a heck of an accomplishment), but with growth comes change. This is what we shall discuss; the change that "The Sims" had upon the world's gaming community.
Gaming wasn't always as accepted as it is today. Home gaming used to be only available to those that could own a computer, and computers were so expensive and difficult to use that only a few of us had one. These few children and teens lucky enough to have one would be made fun of by their peers, mostly out of jealousy, for "wasting time" on video games instead of other activities like sports. I claim the negative look on gaming back then was mostly due to jealously, because I remember each of these kids who made fun of gaming were the very same kids pumping quarters in the closest arcade cabinet available. Then something wonderful happened.
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was born, and guess what? Most could afford one.
This brought gaming back into the homes since the time of Atari, except this time it wasn't lame. Gaming captured the hearts and minds of an entire generation of children that almost all grew into gaming adults. Still, the people weren't united in their mutual love of gaming, as there was a split. While the origin of this split was based upon the old-world outlook of gaming being a waste of time for dorks, the split was formed of people with more physical properties rather than political.
The gaming community, at that time, was almost entirely made up of males.
Females largely still held that gaming was a complete waste of time and something only dorks that didn't play sports did. Sure, there was your occasional gamer female, but they were by far a rare find. While the gaming community today is still largely dominated by a male presence, females are more abundant now than ever, and at every age demographic. A few months back I asked myself what was the largest factor that caused this change?
With no doubt do I firmly believe it was the game series, "The Sims", that brought most females into accepting gaming and therefore being gamers themselves.
This was a huge accomplishment, and one that should be openly praised and studied, but it's just not discussed. It's by no means denied, as I personally have yet to have a single person disagree with my above statement, but it's just not talked about by almost any gaming writer, developer, or producer. Why is that? What is so taboo about discussing this wonderful contribution?
Well...because it's what the gameplay, and thereby the appeal, "The Sims" has that attracted females and created this effect. Now, this might offend some of you, and I do apologize ahead of time if I do, but here's the truth...
The Sims is really just playing "house" with dolls.
We can't openly describe it as such, because it might alienate the male demographic. I say "might", when it would certainly alienate a large number of them. It's really about money, and keeping a product as commercially available to as wide an audience as possible.
So, a product that has contributed one of the most impressive changes to the gaming community world-wide CAN NOT be openly discussed at it's face value for why or how it gave this change and openly praised for, because of the fear of a loss in revenue even though it's one of the most lucrative series ever created. Gotta love corporate politics.
Maybe one day we'll grow up past that, but until then I'll be playing with my dolls.