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Publisher: Electronic Arts
There is no doubt in our minds that SimsVille, Maxis' latest addition to its venerable Sim legacy, was one of the best games of E3 and will be an important title to follow this year. The Sims has been a resounding success. Not only did it capture gamers' attention and become a chart-topper, but it also garnered critical praise. Yet, despite the game's popularity and quality gameplay, some players wanted to explore and control a Sims neighborhood, not just one household. That's where SimsVille comes into play.
SimsVille's tagline is, "Every town has a story.... What's yours?" In essence, the game will combine the SimCity series' macromanagement and The Sims' micromanagement styles. The focus of this hybrid is your town. So, instead of designing a family, as in The Sims, or a metropolis, as in SimCity, you will be able to create your own suburban town complete with different businesses, homes, and shops. In this municipality, your goal will be to fulfill your Sims' immediate needs: a roof over their heads, food, clothing, friends, and a way to make money. Managing a town's economy - and thus, its overall rating - will be your larger, more abstract goal.
SimsVille also has a number of noteworthy details. For example, as you would select attitudes or personality traits for individual Sims in The Sims, these characteristics in SimsVille will generally apply to neighborhoods. Much as in a real town, some areas will be populated by dynamic, energetic citizens, while other areas may have lazy families with unkempt yards and floundering businesses with dirty windows. In addition, you'll be able to build businesses, restaurants, bars, and so on to attract certain types of families to your town. For instance, you might open some nice, upscale restaurants to draw in affluent families. Conversely, if your families can't find what they need in terms of work or entertainment, they'll leave for a city that has more to offer.
For those of us who loved the SimCity games' grand scale and The Sims' treatment of individual households, SimsVille combines the best of both to give a unique experience in town management.