Sims Life Stories to laptop-dance next month

Electronic Arts releasing narrative-driven, "laptop-friendly" spin-off of its seminal PC life simulation in February, with two sequels to follow.

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There are two types of PC gamers: those who play the Sims, and those who do not. Today, Electronics Arts announced it was going after the latter group with the Sims Life Stories, a new spin-off of the Will Wright-created franchise, which has sold more than 70 million units. The game will ship in the US on February 6 and in Europe on February 2. It is rated T for Teen in the US and 12+ in the UK.

According to EA, The Sims Life Stories will address one of the primarily criticisms of the Sims games--namely, that they have no story. In addition to the standard nonlinear gameplay, which sees user-created sims go about their virtual daily lives, the Sims Life Stories will feature a 12-chapter story mode. The "comic" plot will follow two precreated characters, Riley Harlow and Vincent Moore, as they engage in a series of romantic entanglements.

In addition to sporting a narrative, the Sims Life Stories is being touted by EA as being "laptop-friendly"--that is, usable on the portable PCs lugged around by most students. Presumably, this means that the game will not require the sort of graphics cards that the Sims 2 and most other modern games require. The product announcement also emphasized the game would be easy to "pick up and play," a not-so-subtle appeal to the casual gamer.

According to EA, The Sims Life Stories will be the first in "an all-new product line" called the Sims Stories Line. It will be followed this summer by the Sims Pet Stories, which will have players caring for their own animal menagerie. A third installment, the Sims Castaway Stories, is due in Winter 2008. It will borrow a page from the hit television shows Lost and Survivor by having players help their Sims eke out an existence on a desert isle.

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