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Relationships in The Sims 2

Boy Meets Girl

The Sims

Just as with real life, if you want to find out how things turn out for multiple generations of your sims you must first somehow get them together. In the The Sims 2 the adventure of romance among the sims follows the development of this all-important part of human existence through each stage, from love's first kiss to sharing their lives in their twilight years.

This is not romance novel or a rescue-the-princess console game; there are no preprogrammed marriages in this game. It's up to you to guide your sims through their tumultuous teen-aged years and on into adulthood.

The Sims

Experience counts. As with everything in real life, sims learn to do things by practicing them. Their later success in boy-girl relationships depends a lot on their early experiences, both good and bad.

With facial expressions and subtleties in their body language, the new sims provide a lot more cues about how they are feeling in each situation. You should find that this makes game play much more entertaining, and it might make it easier to decide what to have them do.

The Sims

The life of a sim has never been easy, and in The Sims 2 it doesn't seem to be any easier. They suffer from rejection, but now they also learn from the experience.

Until the game is released we won't be able to tell you how well earlier childhood experiences play into the later stages of life. Does success in childhood lead to the confidence that one needs to keep trying, even in the face of rejection? Does an over-abundance of praise as a child weaken the character's ability to deal with failure and keep moving on?

Only time -- and game play -- will tell how successful the programmers are in the daunting task of representing human behavior in animated characters.

The Sims

Another key aspect of male-female relationships that we can't explore by looking at screen shots is how well the characters' moods are represented in the new game.

Is the couple in this screen shot arguing, as lovers are wont to do? Are they having a marital dispute, perhaps about money? Is this a faithful wife rejecting the advances of an boorish neighbor? Will the new sims, like their predecessors, have the morals of an alley cat, or will they be more human in their behavior? Will the player be the only character in the game with any moral sense at all?

We eagerly anticipate the release of the game this summer so that we can learn the answers to these questions. We do know at this point that a huge team of folks at Maxis have been investing a tremendous amount of skull sweat in working out the psychology of the characters in The Sims 2, and how this applies to their representation of all-important adventure of Boy Meets Girl.