Sunday, September 11, 2016

Soundtrack September: The Sims

Game: The Sims (2000)
Platform: Windows, Mac
Composer: Jerry Martin

Before the turn of the millennium, the sim genre had yet to include the sub-category of “life simulators.” That’s why, when Maxis released The Sims in 2000, a lot of skeptics had trouble seeing the entertainment potential in micromanaging a bunch of harebrained human Tamagotchi.

I was never a big fan of the whole babysitting aspect of the game. Unless the player steps in to manage their Sims’ time, these gibberish-talking idiots will spend 20 straight hours watching TV, skip work to go swimming or pee their pants because they can’t be bothered to call a plumber to fix the toilet.

What I did like about the game was the freedom to design your Sims’ house and furnish it with swank interior items and a fancy-ass yard. These menu-driven parts of the game are where the soundtrack shines.

While building your home, you hear relaxing piano noodling, somehow appropriate for getting the creative architectural juices flowing. While shopping for furniture, you hear “shopping music” (and boy, does it ever sound like shopping music – hokey pizzicato strings, clarinet solos and harp glissandos, all performed by a real orchestra that sounds like it was brought forth in a time machine from 1953).

The biggest shame is that, of all my friends who played The Sims, the vast majority of them played with the sound turned off, and had no idea what I was raving about when I talked about how good the music was.

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