Virtual living is easier ... and ultimately more fun
It's fun to play The Sims Social - just ask the 22 million of us hooked on it worldwide. But why exactly has it become Facebook's most addictive game? Because it's better than real life, that's why...
1. There's no need to earn a living
In the magical land of The Sims Social, absolutely no one goes to work. But in the virtual realm that's not a problem. Only poor souls living in the "real" world worry about rising unemployment. All a Sim needs to get by are friends, neighbours and the occasional cold snack. Sims don't worry about ways to save money . Just a few seconds of weeding or mopping and silver coins rain from the sky.
2. You can build the house of your dreams
Who says you can't have bookshelves in the bathroom? And why shouldn't your kitchen resemble a games room? When it comes to interior design, The Sims Social gives you free rein. A telescope on the doorstep; arcade machines galore; a four-poster bed for every room and hot tubs on every front lawn. Sims are incredibly shallow and the key to their happiness is lavish furnishings aplenty.
3. No one ever feels lonely
Anyone who was bullied at school can appreciate the importance of friends. Luckily, on The Sims Social there isn't the tiniest threat of loneliness. As long as your Facebook friends play too - and you've added them as a "neighbour" - you get round-the-clock company and you'll never be short of someone to hug. Even if you're friendless, the computer-controlled Bella is always reliable back-up.
4. Romance is easy
If successful dating is measured by notches on the bedpost, the Sims could even give Hugh Hefner a run for his money. Believe it or not, our Sims "woohoo" on average 680,000 times per day. But the frequency of bedroom activity is not merely down to luck. It's difficult not to score in a world where everyone's good looking and where perfect strangers share dirty jokes.
5. There's no crime and punishment
Imagine a lawless society with no deterrent for bad behaviour. Now stop thinking of Britain. The legal and social boundaries, by which most of uslive our lives, simply don't exist in The Sims Social. Take, for example, trespassing. In the Sims universe, it's actively encouraged. That's why players spend most of their time enjoying their neighbours' facilities.
6. Everyone can play guitar
Have you ever dreamt of shredding an axe like Jimi Hendrix? Wish you could turn phrases like Oscar Wilde, or paint like Pablo Picasso? It's all possible in The Sims Social. With the right personality traits, any Sim can master a skill, and then go on to earn mega-bucks. That's if they spend enough hours at the easel, guitar or typewriter. Yes, incredibly, our Sims still use typewriters.
7. You can choose your personality
Unless you're Santa Claus, or everything you touch turns to cake, it's impossible to be liked by all. Playing The Sims Social, you can encourage hatred by assigning your Sim the traits of a pantomime villain. You can also make them an ogre, a socialite or slob - but according to Sims developer EA , the most desirable attribute is good kisser. Looking at the list, I think I could've told you that.
8. Magic exists for real
We've all felt cheated by magicians without special powers. But a Sim can fix their broken TV by doing little more than staring and waving at it. And with gardens full of polka-dot toadstools, you know the magic doesn't end there. Sims can also craft potions that keep them awake and enjoying themselves whatever. Everyone's been to a party where a potion like that could prove useful.
9. You can buy just about anything
As we said earlier, Sims are outrageously shallow. Their desires are so materialistic, in fact, that everything they achieve is just progress towards affording more stuff. Of course, no home is complete without a huge stone fountain on the lawn, or the obligatory hot tub if you're that way inclined. If you're low on silver coins, you can even hand over your hard-earned cash, trading real life currency for virtual goods.
10. Neighbours are actually helpful
People may say it's who you know that helps you get by. But if you're playing The Sims Social it's how many you know that really dictates whether you go places. Trudging through quests, adventures and challenges, you won't get far without neighbours. But beware, if you keep harassing your friends for a gift, you'll eventually alienate the real world altogether. And human interaction is more important. Isn't it?