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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Simulation    Expansion For: The Sims
Min OS X: Not Supported    CPU: G3 @ 233 MHz    RAM: 64 MB    8x CD-ROM    Graphics: 800x600 @ 16-bit

The Sims: Livin' Large
January 19, 2001 | Josh Jansen

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Throughout the history of computing, Maxis has been the progenitor of many of the greatest simulation games ever to be played on the Macintosh or the PC. Some of the most revolutionary and long-lived games have come from the halls of Maxis. The Sims, of course, is no exception to that general rule.

As far as expansion packs go, they must offer a wide range of new features and options in order to be justified in their creation and sale.

The Livin' Large expansion pack offers numerous improvements to the standard game itself, including options to alter the personality and traits of a character while playing the game. In addition to that, the walls, windows, doors, floors, everything with the exception of the roof, now has more options (including the kitchen sinks). The home design engine has not changed at all if you are looking for new ways to manipulate the dirt and such of the world, you are more or less out of luck.

The add-ons are of two different types: Gothic and retro 1950s. While I am not entirely sure where the retro thing came from (there aren't a lot of kids pretending to be greasers or wearing poodle skirts that I've noticed), it seems to me that the Gothic contingent is derived from that part of young adult society itself. I'm not complaining, of course. It just seemed odd to me that they passed over the Victorian/ world-traveler/ status-seeker era quite totally this time. It would have been nice to see more relics of times long past and skins that look like they came from 1830s England.

There are also new jobs and whatnot to keep your Sims occupied five new jobs with 10 levels each, to be exact. The new job types are as follows: Musician (start as a subway musician), Slacker (start as a caddy), Paranormal (start as a psychic phone person), Journalist (start as a typesetter) and Hacker (start as a beta tester).

It is interesting of course, especially finding out how low you are on the journalism ladder, then taking up drinking after finding out, then living the next month in an alcoholic haze punctuated by random acts of violence and word processing after realizing why every day seems to be more and more like the game and you have no way of knowing if you are real or not and finally smoking and drinking yourself into oblivion or a hole in your backyard hiding from the person you can almost see when looking up into the sky and jumping up and down and yelling at him in a nonsensical way with such phrases as "De hab-o labo te!" and "Beeno bannidea!" and you swear you can almost see the glint of the monitor and maybe the case of the hard drive but your neighbors just say "that's the alcohol talking" and leave a fruitcake to rot on your kitchen counter only it doesn't rot ever and if you do get back up to go to work again you eventually find that the cake has been moved to a portion of the house that suddenly appeared and is now holding every indestructible fruitcake you have ever seen in your life and then you go to the armoir and have the urge to spin around in a jump and you do and your clothes change into what you tend to wear to bed and you go to bed and sleep it off and wake up and take a shower and make breakfast and wait for a car to take you to work so you can save up enough money to buy that chemistry set you wanted and finding out that you don't really have such a cash supply and then making gnomes at a rate of 10 an hour and finally they are all surrounding you and laughing and staring with their wooden eyes and slackjaw grins and you set fire to your home but a young Latino in an oxygen tank and fireman's regalia but wearing jeans comes to the aid of your alarm and you start drinking again and eventually forget the whole "I don't really exist" thing and you go on to watch your HDTV in living room on the couch you don't remember buying but are as pleased as punch it is there ...

As far as skins go, the online resources for this game will probably give more than this thing could possibly offer, ditto for the walls, roofs, floors and modified objects. The real bonus in this package appears to be the new options associated with the package, such as the antique lamp and the Concoctonation Station.


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