So there I was, in Amsterdam at the recent Discover 3DS event, practically foaming at the mouth. The reason? On the little foldy-out map Nintendo had thrust into our palms, contained a few words that got me a little bit excited "The Sims 3". It was here. At the event. Just a few feet away! And after entering the room, which was bursting with games journalists from across Europe, I blazed a trail to the Sims stand, and practically snatched the 3DS out of the helper's hand, only to find... well... the same thing EA do whenever they have to demo a Sims game - the 3DS version of the Create a Sim.
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Don't get me wrong - I love The Sims, having played the first two iterations on the PC, with all the expansion packs. And I was rather excited at the prospect of being able to play The Sims 3 on a console - so excited in fact, I walked all the way up to Tesco in the rain on the day after it launched to buy me a copy, and paid £39.70 for the privilege. Continuing the trend of bringing The Sims 3 to console owners, EA are now going to release it for the upcoming 3DS. But all we got to play was this demo!
Anyone who's played a Sims game before knows that - with the exception of Bob Newbie, Mortimer Goth (Damn you Mortimer! - Ian) and a few other pre-made Sims - the Create-A-Sim is where you begin. Here, you get to design what your Sim will look like, choose what they'll wear, and set their various personality traits - or, if you're feeling a little more cruel, you can whack all the sliders that control the facial characteristics up to their maximum, and laugh at the monster you've created, before sending him off to romance the rest of the town's inhabitants dressed in nothing but his pants. The (mis)adventures of Tarquin McCarpet were colourful, to say the least.
Sadly, the Create-A-Sim was as far as we were allowed to get in the demo - and even then it was a stripped down version, as you couldn't even change the clothes you were wearing, so my very own virtual me was stuck in a horrid green apron for the duration of our 'play'. The only real feature we were able to make use of was the ability to take a picture of your face and, after it's been passed through the Sim-making machine, slap EA's simmed up rendition of it onto some poor unsuspecting Sim. It's not as terrifying as it sounds, as, rather than simply using your photo as the Sim's face, the game just chooses the different facial characteristics it thinks best represent your face - with somewhat mixed results. Although it worked reasonably well for me, even if I did end up with lips Angelina Jolie would have been proud of, it kind of broke for Ian, with the game not even slightly changing the pre-set Sim after several attempts at taking photos, despite him having fairly long hair, (and looking a lot more rugged - Ian) than the default Sim. Maybe it was just the light, or maybe EA are conforming to stereotypes, and putting some sort of sex-lock on the game so that men can't play it, in some crazy attempt to take over the gaming world with an army of female Sims.
As was the case in the other versions of The Sims 3, you'll be able to choose from a range of personality traits for your Sim, which range from making them clumsy, to being a computer whiz, or a natural cook, and make your Sims seem more life-like personality-wise than in previous iterations - in fact, it's scary how similar Sim Sarah is, when she's tripping over her own feet on the way to the kitchen to make dinner...
Despite the rather limited demo, we're still confident The Sims 3 on the 3DS will be a fun, portable version of The Sims 3 - and we can't wait to play more. It's also one of the launch titles for Nintendo's 3DS, so will be available from the 25th March. We're sure to have more information on The Sims 3 and the 3DS - so make sure you keep checking back!