The Sims is a game in the genre of life simulation. In this game, you can create a character and enter a digital world which is a fully simulated version of reality including even the smallest details. You have the opportunity to have different body shapes or have various facial features. After entering this self-created world, you can have any occupation and do several social activities. In other words, you are the designer of your artificial world on several levels, with the ability to manipulate elements such as time and place to provide your needs including hunger, hygiene, social, etc. The extensions of this genre of the game have direct effects on day to day life.
[07:00 AM] It’s time to wake up. [07:17 AM] Taking a shower, fast forward. [07:35 AM] Having breakfast. [07:58 AM] Going to work.
Each individual faces various ups and downs during their existence which defines the narrative of their life. Of course, in reality, we can't choose our facial features or emotional traits. Furthermore, we are unable to control the outcomes of our daily decisions, considering the free will of other human beings is unavoidable. This is different in the Sims. In addition to these, manipulating time is another feature in The sims which is farfetched from reality; a contrast-line between reality and its simulation, hidden behind all the decorative features of the gameplay. The idea of being the designer of your artificial world and experiencing it is such a top-seller idea for younger players that it covers all of the potentially destructive effects.
Double fast forward. [04:30 PM] Back from work, ‘which needs of mine are red? Ah… Social!’
The destructive effects emerge when the joy derived from the artificial, designed world exceeds the joy gained from reality. In such a situation, the player begins to prefer resolving the needs of artificial characters instead of resolving personal needs in reality. This matter does not exclusively apply to The Sims or gaming sector in general. Social media also reflects the same destructive impacts. The social satisfaction harvested from social media exceeds the satisfaction of face-to-face communication. As a result, users prefer to waste more time using their phones for socialising rather than socialising in person.
Clicking on the phone icon in the corner. ‘Who do I want to chat with?’,
The opportunity of artificial empowerment has to be defined in a way that outlines the main purpose of it. Having the opportunity of being a creator of your life can be an inspiring platform for enhancing designing skills. During the forced online lifestyle which we are all facing at the time, the gaming industry is a highly valued sector for people to experience a simulated version of real life. Young users however need to be able to distinguish the hidden contrast-line between artificial life and reality. If the user is aware of these contrast lines before playing the game, the risk of the possible destructive effects can be reduced.
Fast forward. [05:00 PM] ‘All needs are green again. What a relief’.
All and all, we are living within a generation full of technological developments in different fields. As an individual member of the gigantic groups of technology users, the idea of dissolving in this artificial world is always present. I think it would be wise to understand these simulated realities from a broader perspective; look beyond the borders of the screen, and try to see the potential effects that these virtual realities have on our actual realities. Imagine yourself as a human being without any experience of reality, having lived your whole life in a simulation. Would you choose to leave that simulation? Or would you rather...