EDIT (Dec 2014): Since the launch of the Sims 4, I have given up on Sims Freeplay. Though the Sims 4 requires me to be in front of my laptop, I can satisfactorily control the aging of some / all of my characters. In this full paid PC/Mac version of Sims 4, the gameplay is more substantial (not watered down), and the sim characters are more diverse in appearance and personality.
There is a limit to the number of gaming hours a working adult has, and I’ll rather use them in a Sims world that I am pleased with.
My Original Article (Published in March 2014):
The point of playing any Sims games is to create a world of the players’ own liking. While there are common rules / features to maintain a sense of order, there should also enough room for players to decide for themselves how exactly they want their Sims universes to operate. Sims games are appealing because they have some similarities to real life, yet enough room for varying levels of “fantasy”, so that players may successfully take breaks from their real lives, to a (better) alternate Sims reality. The mobile App, Sims Freeplay, is particularly appealing for busy players on the go.
The problem with Sims Freeplay’s “Life Dreams Update”: aging / death spins out of control for players who cannot afford “Lifestyle Points”, or do not buy LP (with real money) for other reasons.
In PC versions, sims’ aging can be easily controlled via cheats (Sims 2), or gameplay options panel (Sims 3). Even in the case of Sims 3 Base Game’s Ambrosia, or Sims 3 Generations’ “Young Again Potion” & “Age Freeze Potion”, these features are relatively easily accessible by regular gameplay, and do not require spending extra real money to attain.
By contrast, the “Platinum Orbs” (the only other thing that permanently stops aging) take too much time/effort to attain, and requires players to “sacrifice” 4 sims to death by aging, in order to “immunize” one favorite sim from demise.
If we don’t like Sims expansion packs in PC versions, we can simply uninstall them, and our game reverts to its former preferred configuration. But Sims Freeplay is a mobile app, so updates are irreversible. We don’t have the option to “uninstall” the Life Nightmare Update (oops, I mean “Life Dreams”), so the only choices that remain are:
1. Neglect our favorite sims to prevent them from dying, until a fix is available.
2. Repeatedly pay money for LP to keep our favorite sims from dying — which is not likely to happen, since unhappy customers are unlikely to continue playing and paying.
3. Give up completely on Sims Freeplay.
Fortunately, I was saved from this Update because I read reviews before taking any plunges. If this forced aging (in its current form) is ever pressed on us in a mandatory Update, I will be uninstalling the game.
Sims games are simulator god games, so players can’t possibly be satisfied if they feel they are losing control over their game.
The only way to appease the legions of furious fans (especially those who have spent money on toddlers/ pre-teens / teens, which initially had no “expiry date”) – is to release a satisfying fix in the next Update – where sims’ aging can be adequately controlled without using real money.
Otherwise EA / Firemonkeys would have killed the Sims Freeplay goose that lays the golden eggs — and have their goose cooked.
AldoHyde is a Sims 2 / 3 Machinima Director.