Catherine Gracey

Living Life, One Misadventure At A Time.

Die Sims 3

on January 14, 2013

After my recent success with Civilization IV in German, I sacrificed a few hours of my life uninstalling The Sims 3 with the hope that I could reinstall it in German. The mission was a success and, after a few more hours of my life were sacrificed putting it back on, I was ready to experiment.

The main attraction for playing The Sims in German was simple: this is a game that deals with everyday life. My sims need to find jobs, acquire new skills, and cook dinner. They need to wash their clothes, clean the toilet and, depending on their personalities, they have different wishes that they want fulfilled. Some of them want to go fishing before 6am, others want to stay inside for 48 hours. Many wishes are subtly different, so if I cannot navigate the nuances of the requests then I will fail at them.

It wasn’t until I tried playing the game in German that I realised just how wretchedly complex it is when the expansion packs are installed. My sim wants to chat with someone? That’s great, but I have 30 different options for interaction available to select from. Is this interaction going to cause my sim to slap the other one, or to passionately kiss them? Neither option is what I want when the sim in question is the father-in-law.

There are so many new language constructs that I am being exposed to in the game. It is filled with jokes, and some of the references are so obscure that my partner can’t translate them for me. Literal translations are not helpful. A particular nightclub “flies the cow”; what on earth does that mean? We’ve asked a few other Germans, and they’re also clueless. While I feel a bit better that the natives don’t understand, it doesn’t help me much.

If I hadn’t progressed so far with my current family, I would probably uninstall all of the expansion packs until I had a good grasp of the base game. There are a few more packs that I haven’t bought, and I think I will delay buying them until I can play for a few hours without asking for help. I imagine that seasons would be a simple addition, but there will probably be so many seasonal activities that it will just be a new way to overwhelm myself.

With several weeks of gameplay now behind me, I finally feel as if I am wasting time instead of quietly putrefying my brain. My sims have had some unfortunate experiences that I don’t normally subject them to, and I’ve felt obliged to make it up to them by cleaning their house while they sleep, but there is definite progress. I won’t know how much this game has helped until I am next in Germany, although I suspect it will be considerable.

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