The Sims 4
My analytical framework consists of three key concepts: Simulation, Modification, and Paratext. The concept of simulation is important when we consider the Sims franchise. Besides the obvious example of virtual reality, it is not prominent to see a videogame simulate reality. Obvious examples include Cities Skylines and Truck Simulator; however, the Sims attempts to simulate life itself. The Sims franchise follows an important principle explored throughout virtual reality – planning a process to monitor the factors that eventually lead to results – manufacturing a system that gives a visual environment to all the players involved (Mujber & Szecsi 2004, p1836).
The idea of learning how the game operates – by extent the simulation of life – eventually leads to players learning to code the game (Wark, 2006, p. 128). As spoken about in my previous blogs, Simulate the World Pitch on oryemajok.com. Players become developers due to modification. As I mentioned before, the accessibility to create and apply modifications in the Sims 4 is encouraged. Games cannot truly decentralise without modification (Smith 2009, p.25). Therefore, the decentralised network encourages the players to become the main source of innovation.
As stated in my beta video, the concept paratext became essential to my analytical framework. providing a productive framework for game scholars has been successfully utilised in several subsequent studies (Fiadotau 2015, p.85). The access players have to custom content and mods (modification) indefinitely improves the gaming experience. Entire online communities are built on this fact, I have noticed comments on Reddit where players prefer to download a mod for free, rather than pay for an expansion pack from the Sims 4. As stated, “There is nothing new about paratext attempting to frame or shape the players’ experience of a game” (Fiadotau 2015, p.87), furthermore, thus providing a “more direct insight into their authors’ and communities’ tastes, beliefs, and values” (Fiadotau 2015, p.88).
Raessens, J 2005, ‘Computer games as participatory media culture’, J. Raessens & J. Goldstein (Eds.), Handbook of computer game studies, pp. 373-388.
Fiadotau, M 2015, ‘Paratext and meaning making in indie games’, Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 85-97.
Mujber, ST Szecsi, T & Hashmi, MSJ 2004, ‘Virtual reality applications in manufacturing process simulation’, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, vol. 155-156, pp. 1834–1838.
Wark, M 2006, ‘Digital Allegories (on The Sims)’, Grey Room Inc. & Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pp.126-138.