In my Digital Artifact Pitch, I outlined my plan for this semester’s Digital Artifact. To re-hash, I am creating lookalike avatars of my volunteering peers using The Sims 4 interface. I am then posting about this process on an Instagram page, @you.but.make.it.a.sim. I am looking at this process and analysing it through the analytical framework outlined below.
Looking at The Sims 4 through a Psychoanalytic lens involves considering how players might use the game in process of self-actualisation. The appeal of The Sims being its familiarity – the absence of spectacular or fantastical storylines, opens us up to the question; Why do we find it enjoyable to replicate real-life virtually? What is enticing about it? How might our gameplay reveal subconscious ideas about self-perception?
The political-economic lens opens up a discussion around the meaning of gameplay on the sims considering its ‘real-’life’ genre. What does game-ification of real-life say about our dissatisfaction with the current state of the world politically & economically? How might games make our day-to-day lives more enjoyable or enriched?
“Few could have imagined a thriving audience for virtual domesticity. Will Wright, however, did. In the year 2000, the PC-gaming auteur delivered The Sims unto the world, and several million people deemed it good. Here was a game as menial and repetitive as life itself, and its utter dearth of the fantastic perversely served as its hook.”Signifying Play: The Sims and the Sociology of Interior Design
The last leg of the analytical framework that I’m engaging in while looking at The Sims is an analysis of it through genre & narrative. This is particularly relevant to The Sims as a game that stands out for its ‘real-life’ genre and self-invented narrative form. Looking through research on the topic leads me to ask – how does the ‘real-life’ genre inform our reality/understanding of ourselves and our world?
“Real life as a genre is problematized (in The Sims), the tensions and conflicts of contemporary real-world conceptualizations appear to be represented in the game. What is interesting then, given this, are the ways in which players negotiate the gameplay.”A 2010 article titled ‘The Sims: Real Life as Genre’ by Diane Nutt & Diane Railton