By now, you're familiar with The Sims, a series of strategy games that lets you lead the lives of little computer people as they love, laugh, and otherwise lead their little computer lives in little computer communities. The most recent game in the series, The Sims 3, added personality traits and other features to let players make characters with even more detailed quirks and behavior. The next expansion pack will let you lead a deeper and richer life with sims of all age groups--not just ambitious young adults on the career path, but also small children and teenagers.
While other expansions have focused on adding new gameplay systems, such as global travel in World Adventures and new career paths in Ambitions, Generations takes a different tack by fleshing out the gameplay for each age group to which your sims can belong. While infants won't get a ton of new gameplay options, children and teenagers will get lots of new options and abilities. These include unique new ways to fill out their "motives," which are the personal needs that each sim must fulfill to remain healthy and sane.
Small children in The Sims generally haven't had all that much to do. While they have had some unique social options and can play with children's toys, they can't go to work or engage in some of the more "adult" pastimes in the series (like the infamous "woohoo," which is where babies come from in The Sims). However, in Generations, they'll have access to many more activities by way of unique new items that have been requested by the Sims 3 fan community, such as a costume chest and the long-awaited tree fort. The costume chest lets children change into a variety of different costumes, which then lets children play-act different fantasy scenarios. For instance, one costume is of a giant, Godzilla-like monster and lets children go on a mock rampage, smashing their blocks like imaginary city buildings. Children can climb into their tree forts to give blustery speeches to their imaginary royal subjects or toss very real water balloons at their very real older siblings.
However, the most interesting new feature in this expansion seems to be the imaginary friend; a character that your child creates after ordering a specific type of mail-order doll. After giving the doll a name, your child sim can summon an imaginary, child-sized version of the doll to be a playmate who will happily hop onto the opposite end of a seesaw and even run minor errands for you if you have a decent enough social relationship with it. Playing with your imaginary friend fills up your child sim's social motive in the same way as socializing with real people would. Even more interestingly (and more than a little weirdly), as children grow into teenagers, they can not only keep their imaginary friends around, but they can also develop a romantic interest in their make-believe buddies. So…yes. There's that.
Teens who aren't romancing their favorite childhood dolls can busy themselves with the new prank system in Generations, which lets young hooligans express their disregard for authority by way of such dastardly gags as the old doorbell dash (ringing a neighbor's doorbell and running away before anyone can answer), covering a neighbor's house in toilet paper (or TP'ing), and leaving a flaming bag of something or other on the doorstep of a neighbor you just know owns a brand-new pair of penny loafers. Pranks can contribute to your teen's social standing and will actually let you build up a reputation as a master prankster and local legend to the other kids at school. But if you get caught, your teens can be grounded, which means revoked privileges and negative "moodlets" (The Sims 3's system of minor mood-changing conditions that can either boost or detract from your character's overall well-being).
In addition to fleshing out gameplay for the younger members of your virtual household, Generations will include new events for adults intended to let players create even more memorable events to be photographed and shared via the expansion's built-in social media functionality, which will let you upload your favorite cherished moments directly to Facebook. These adult events include a rated-T-for-teen bachelor party, during which you can hire a female "dancer" to pop out of a wedding cake and spray the lucky bachelor with a bottle of "nectar" (the adult beverage of choice in The Sims, bottled from grapes in the finest vineyards of France in The Sims 3: World Adventures). At an event like this, it's also entirely possible for the best man (or the jealous fiancee) to sneak in a few incriminating photos and nail the groom with them later, which is just one example of the kind of new memorable moments that Generations will provide. The expansion will be released this May.