I felt disturbed and a little sad after watching the new Sims’ trailer, “You Rule,” for the first time. The music is lovely and dreamy, but aside from that, the trailer is aesthetically and emotionally ugly. It centers around cruelty: teens shoving others into awkward, embarrassing, and compromising positions.
What’s worse is that the trailer uses actors–real people–not Sims.
It gives that message that kids want to express hostility towards adults and peers, and that playing the Sims is a way to do so.
A few hours before this trailer was released, my Simming friend aroseinbloom added a new page to her Sim blog called “Sims Connect.” On this page, she highlights the collaboration and inspiration found in the community of Sim-story readers and writers.
I posted on her forum thread that her line “Sims connect” would make an effective ad campaign for EA. “It would be a great campaign,” she wrote back, “the faces behind the Sims. Our connections to the Sims, to each other.”
Pause for a moment and play that trailer in your mind. Use the same music, for it’s beautiful and sweet, but instead, watch a Sim brighten another Sim’s day. Then pan back and look at the smiling person behind the computer. Follow the Sim whose day was just brightened into another game, where that Sim jokes with a group in the park. Pan back to the chuckling Simmer. Follow one of the Sims from the park into another game where that Sim flirts with his love interest, and pan back to the smiling person behind that game.
aroseinbloom came up with something brilliant when she came up with that idea.
When I play the Sims, the happiest moments come about when I let go of control, when I am simply open to allowing my Sims to express who they are. In those moments, I connect to them as they spontaneously offer a rose to a lover, hug a child, twirl under the sun, paint on their easels, play their violins, explore their world through their microscopes, and connect with each other over a meal or a game of chess.
When I write their stories, and when I read the stories written by others, I connect with the Sims and other Simmers.
In the new ad, EA got it right when they wrote, “You create,” but they jumped on the wrong bus when they wrote, “You control. You rule.”
The loud voices in the forums, the voices of those with animated signature files who wield LOLs and Likes as weapons and alter others’ quotes, who complain about whatever it is they complain loudly about, they may find the new ad humorous and appealing.
But it misses those of us who play for connection, not control. We’ve got our own thing going on, and it’s an expression of life, not an expression of hostility.