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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Simulation    Expansion For: The Sims 2
Min OS X: 10.3    CPU: G5 @ 1200 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 2000 MB    Graphics: 32 MB VRAM

The Sims 2: Nightlife
July 7, 2006 | Dustin Smith

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Every family has its special traditions such as going to Grandma's house for the holidays, filling up on pie, and then eating more two hours later so that getting out of your chair becomes a chore. Or perhaps one Friday a month you would get together to play games with your family only to end the night in a frump because you barely had any properties and to top it all off you had to be the thimble. Thanks to the team at Maxis, the gaming world has the tradition of a new Sims expansion getting delivered every six months or so. The newest entry on the Mac into this celebrated series is The Sims 2: Nightlife, in which your Sims can now go downtown to impress their dates with flashy cars and even flashier dance moves (that is if they have dates). The focus of this expansion is obviously social interaction, and Maxis accomplishes this with flair by giving our Sims chemistry, which gives us an indication of which Sims our little guy—or little lady—will hit it off with the best. Fortunately, Maxis didn't stop there, throwing in a slew of new items, animations, sounds, and a few extra goodies to keep us coming back, at least for a little while.

How does it happen? Two people, never having met before, end up feeling like they've known each other for years. Almost like love at first sight. Fortunately, Maxis has captured this aspect of life and inserted into the game by giving Sims chemistry. This chemistry takes the form of lightning bolts that appear with the other Sim's picture in the relationship panel. The more lightning bolts the more chemistry and attraction both Sims have toward each other. The new useful "scope the room" command lets you quickly find Sims yours has chemistry with so it does not turn into a trial and error session finding your Sim's next hookup. While talking with Sims that have chemistry with yours, lightning bolts will appear in the speech options as well, giving you a strong indication of what to say to your potential date. This makes finding and building relationships with someone easier, thus making it quicker to gain family friends which leads to quicker promotions leading to more money, and by now you get my point. I really did enjoy that feature a lot but it does pose the question: "Is making friends now too easy?"

Talking to other Sims is also quite enjoyable because you can get to know them better as some of the lightning bolt options are on some questions such as "What's your job?" "How much money do you have?" and the old classic, "What's your sign?" It's a shame more pickup lines are not included in the Sims' vocabulary. But you can ask, "What turns you on/off?" which is another nice feature in Nightlife that helps round out your Sims. When creating your Sim you can now select certain features that allow your Sim to be more selective about who they are attracted to; features such as hair color, fitness level, perfume, glasses, face make-up, and more. If you get tired of being turned-off by brunettes just stick your head into the ReNuYuSenso Orb and give your Sim new turn-ons and turn-offs. If you have a current character you can have them drink their one-time ReNuYu Porta-Chug to reset their turn-ons and turn-offs.

If your Sim is really hitting it off with someone, be brave and ask him or her on a date. If they agree it'll start a mini-game that will pop up a meter in the upper-right corner rating your date from lousy to dream date. Play your cards right and she'll be putty in your hands, although you'd really have to try to screw your date up to make it lousy. Near the bottom of the meter is a tab you can click that will show you what your date is wanting at that moment, much like your own aspiration meter. This way you just do what she wants and it will be a dream date in no time. Watch your hygiene though; my first date ended miserably because I didn't have my Sim shower before he went downtown so by the time I asked her on a date my guy was permeating green gases from his clothes. It definitely made me laugh. If you are needing to get to know people fast you can call groups together and either go "Just For Fun," which will let you relax with friends, or "For an Outing" which will behave just like a date, only with a lot more people. If you have a couple Sims that don't get along it can make the group's mood plummet quite quickly, but if it does go well it's a great way to make a lot of fast friends. Friends fast. Whatever.


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