Friday, December 16, 2011

Sex and the Sims

The Sims Medieval for iOS happened to be free one day so I installed it on my iPod Touch.  The Sims franchise could be described as a series of digital dollhouses inhabited by "Sims," people whom you have to take care of and whose lives you can direct.  If you are wondering if I have suddenly become gender-confused, you should know that I only got the game because the Medieval version has swords and mostly because it was free.

First a word about the game.  The Sims Medieval is a departure from the tradition of the series and includes both rpg elements and sandbox gameplay.  Neither are done very well.  The quests and leveling system are some of the most boring things I have ever experienced in a game.  The Sims Medieval is actually worth less than the $0 I paid for it because someone would have to pay me to play it for very long.  Even the freestyle sandbox gameplay that is the core of the Sims franchise is very dull because it is extremely restrictive.  You can neither build a house for your Sim nor burn it down.  No fun at all.

The limitations on the actual life of your Sim are not simply boring but actually disturbing in regards to Sim sexuality.  In my game, I had my Sim marry the only Sim woman who would give him the time of day.  With some embarrassment, I directed my Sim to engage in conjugal relations with his spouse.  I figured that it was ok because they were married and it would be interesting to raise a baby Sim.  However the oddest thing happened, or rather didn't happen.  My Sim's wife never became pregnant.  I then noticed that there were no children in the entire game world and it did not appear as though any were likely to show up.  A childless world would be a good setting for a creepy dystopian novel but the game world is presented as a cheery vibrant place whose residents are entirely nonchalant about the coming demographic collapse.  It would appear that sex in the Sims Medieval (at least the iOS version) is inherently sterile.  The procreative is not merely separated from the unitive by the sinful act of contraception but is entirely and intrinsically foreign to the sexuality of the Sims.  While the game designers probably thought that this was of little consequence, it is actually rather disturbing.


  1. No children??? That is more than a little bizarre. Especially in a medieval setting.

  2. Very bizarre! If it were set in modern Europe on the other hand, it would not be so weird.

  3. Is Sims for population control? This is disturbing. Thank goodness I've never played a Sims game.

  4. Teresa: I think it has more to do with laziness on the part of the developers. I've never played the PC versions but I know that you can raise a family in those.