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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Simulation    Expansion For: The Sims
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 233 MHz    RAM: 192 MB    Hard Disk: 600 MB    8x CD-ROM

The Sims: Vacation
September 18, 2002 | Michael Phillips

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Aside from places to sleep, Resort Island has PLENTY of fun activities to delight vacationing Sims. For example, Sims can sit around a campfire, singing songs, telling stories & toasting fluffy marshmallows. Watch out for hecklers while telling a story, my Sim kept getting booed by the same little brat. Another interesting vacation activity is fishing. When fishing, Sims casually cast their lines from a wooden dock, hoping to reel in a fish worthy of a spot over the mantle back home, all while chatting it up with fellow fishersims. Of course, fish arenít the only thing inhabiting those ponds. My Sim has managed to wrangle an innocent little turtle and the classic old shoe. Though I have yet to do so, it is even possible to reel in more valuable treasures that are worth showing friends back home. The Sims: Vacation sports an inventory system, allowing Sims to actually bring home vacation souvenirs.

Volleyball is another way for Sims to spend their hard-earned vacation time. In volleyball, teams of 4 battle it out in front of the net for points and bragging rights. My favorite part about a game of volleyball is when some big adult Sim spikes the ball at some poor little girl Sim. Talk about REALLY wanting to win, eh? Sims should also enjoy jumping on the old half-pipe and doing a little snowboarding. While snowboarding, Sims fly through air performing various Xtreme stunts and tricks. If said Sim is really skilled, other Sims will gather around and cheer him or her (Iím an equal opportunity reviewer) on. As a player, I really enjoy watching Sims snowboard, seeing them fall flat on their faces can be quite hilarious. Other activities include, water baloon fights, picnicking and the ability to build snowmen. There are many more, but part of the fun in any Sims game is being surprised.

The Sims: Vacation also introduces players to Carnival Games. At several resort locations, there are areas full of carnival style games. All of the classic carnival games are present, throwing darts at balloons, shooting a water cannon into a clownís mouth until his head bursts, whack-a-nerd (not to be confused with whack-a-mole), catapulting a rubber chicken into a bucket and the ever belittling test-of-strength. Aside from being fun for Sims on holiday, these games help earn tickets. So, what does one do with these tickets? Just like at a real carnival, game tickets may be redeemed for prizes. With enough tickets and a bit of luck, Sims can take home a stuffed penguin, quartz skull or a few other surprises. Thanks to the inventory system, these prizes may be taken home and given away as gifts or stored in a curio cabinet as a reminder of the best vacation EVER. Adding to the carnival atmosphere, costumed figures, such as the Yeti and Archer, dance about entertaining Sims young and old with their loopy antics.

Of course, vacationing isnít all fun & games. Sometimes, things go awry and the fun turns sour. Pickpockets sometimes prowl Resort Island, leaving vacationing Sims with a heavy heart and lighter wallet. Parents of bratty children can be smacked with hefty fines if their little tikes get too out of hand. Itís even possible to pickup a wicked case of Montezumaís Revenge, thatíll ruin ANYONEíS good time.

If You Build It, They Will Come
For those creative types who would love to design their own resort paradise, The Sims: Vacation offers a nifty resort editor. Players are be able to construct bars, restaurants and hotels, then add attractions such as swimming pools, half-pipes for those snowboarding Xtreme Sims, fishing holes, camping tents and more. Players should be busy with this Sims add-on for hours on end.

Pack Your Bags, Kids!
All in all, The Sims: Vacation is one heck of an expansion pack. Any previous Sims fans should simply go out and buy Vacation right now. With its focus on group activities, spiff-o-rific carnival games, genuine vacation souvenirs and endless surprises, gamers will have plenty to do and see.

Now, I leave with a little trivia. Yet again, itís not Simpsons trivia. I love the Simpsons, but we all need to expand our trivia horizons. So, there is a quote from a Bill Murray film hidden somewhere in this review. The first person to identify the quote and film wins their very own copy of The Sims: Vacation. (Note: We have a winner! The correct answer is "A Vacation From My Problems" from "What About Bob?")

The Sims: Vacation
Publisher: Aspyr Media
Developer: Maxis
Mac Version: Westlake Interactive
Buy The Sims: Vacation now at


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