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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Simulation    Expansion For: The Sims
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 233 MHz    RAM: 128 MB    Hard Disk: 600 MB    8x CD-ROM

The Sims: Hot Date
July 11, 2002 | Michael Phillips

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Dating is such a tricky business. One has to get all dressed up, go someplace that’s probably uncomfortable and entertain someone they barely know in a romantic capacity. I’ve been out with members of the fairer sex before, but once that outing is classified as a “date”, I tend to feel like I’m having some sort of stroke until said “date” is safely at an end. I’m always glad to get through a date without fainting or revealing my extremely right wing views on orcs marrying humans. I’m sorry, half-orcs are just freakish, but I digress.

So, what does the previous rambling have to do with Mac gamers? How can dating and the Mac come together? Well, folks, those swingin’ kids at Aspyr Media have released another expansion pack for the insanely popular Sims series aptly named, The Sims: Hot Date. Now, Mac gamers everywhere can take their little Sims out on the town for a spot of dance & romance. No longer are the Sims confined to their nicely furnished homes, begging neighbors to come over and par-tay. With The Sims: Hot Date expansion pack, there is a whole downtown area to explore. Hot Date also boasts 40 new social interactions between Sims, new characters such as the Femme Fatale and many more purchasable items. However, some may wonder, how can this the 3rd Sims expansion add anything that’s really new and interesting? Is this just The Sims in a fancier box? Am I really going to see anything surprising in Hot Date? For those who prefer the Reader’s Digest version of things, aside from a very few minor hiccups, Hot Date is an absolute hoot and well worth the cover fee. Those who require more details, read on…

I’m So Glad I Wore My Pretty Dress
After a while, I started feeling sorry for my Sims. Aside from the drudgery of work, my Sims were virtual (sic) shut-ins; they never left the house, never met anyone outside of their neighborhood and never knew the joys of retail shopping (they only had catalogs at their disposal). Now, however, things have changed by way of The Sims: Hot Date expansion pack.

In Hot Date the Sims are finally able to leave home and head Downtown for mirth and merriment. The player simply directs their Sim to pick up the phone and call a cab. If said Sim doesn’t live alone, they can invite a fellow housemate to tag along. Upon entering a cab, time stops for any Sims remaining at home, so there’s no need to worry about them while out on the town. The Downtown area consists of 9 pre-built locations; each complete with various shops, eateries and entertainment spots. Players can also choose to build their own Downtown areas. Building Downtown attractions, such as bars & clubs is free of charge, allowing wannabe architects to construct the hottest spots in town.

No Pressure Over Cappuccino
The goal of any date is to have as much fun as possible. When on a date, players only have direct control over one Sim, the other follows along. Of course, having fun on a date isn’t always easy. First, it is important for players to discern what their Sim companion desires. In order to do so, one can ask a few leading questions of their date, such as “How are you?” or “What are you into?”. If a date is hungry, a little picture of food will appear over their head, signaling that it might be best to grab some food before getting freaky on the dance floor. Meals can make or break an evening out. Restaurants are the most common way for Sims to eat out. After asking the host or hostess to be seated, couples are lead to a cozy table and given menus.

Once food is ordered, the fun begins. While seated at a restaurant, players have a number of options for social interaction. For example, after a bit of chitchat, one could choose to pay their date a compliment. If the compliment is taken well, one could then choose to scoot over and “cuddle” with their date. What would we do without cozy bench style seats? If the attempt to cuddle doesn’t result in being shoved across the restaurant, it may be time to try for a kiss or even a full blown, flat out, lose the Juicy Fruit “make out” session. Of course, as was the case on one of my dates, a girl doesn’t always like a fellow being so forward during a meal, resulting in the dreaded shove/slap combo. Luckily, after a few minutes of witty repartee, a stop at the bar and bouquet of red roses all was right again. Each date has a mood diamond hovering over their head; the bluer the diamond, the higher the fun level.

Once the meal is finished, dating Sims can choose to do any number of fun activities. Active Sims can hit the dance floor and get their groove on or maybe shoot some pool. If quieter fare is preferred, a trip to the park may be in order. At the park, Sims can feed the fish in the koi pond or rent a remote-control boat and take it out for a spin. There is even a “love swing” for those Sims feeling a little amorous.

Sims can also go shopping at various trendy boutiques. Any item purchased may be saved for later use via a newly added inventory system, thus it’s easy to surprise a date with flowers or bring a teddy bear home for the kids.


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