January 16, 2005

Show Me The Sims

by Nick Montfort · , 2:51 pm

Thanks to teh Dashslot Games, I learned that EA is looking into starting a Sims TV show.

One of the ideas is an interactive show that would “let viewers control the actions of the characters,” but of course, they have backup plans in case the interactive TV thing doesn’t work out. Here are a few of the concepts being thrown around…

5 Responses to “Show Me The Sims

  1. seb Says:

    As Mr. Incredible put it: “They keep finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity…”

  2. Ponderance Says:
    Sims TV
    Personally, I think it would work. It would have to be better than half the reality tv being produced now, and the novelty of a global interactive television game would probably at least make a successful first season out of the idea. Of course,

  3. Marie-Laure Says:

    I don’t know if it’s lack of imagination on my part, or just one more example of the hyping by the media of the word interactive, but I just can’t imagine what an interactive TV version of The Sims would be like. And the Reuters article mentioned by Nick certainly does nothing to clear up the mystery. It seems to me that the possibilities would be:
    1. Create a soap opera based on The Sims—this would not be difficult, since The Sims is already the game version of a soap opera. But this certainly would not be interactive.
    2. Allow the users to vote on events—something like Survivor. This would necessitate filming a huge number of episodes and showing only a few—certainly not a good way to feed the money-hungry machine of the TV industry. And in terms of interactivity, this would be worse than picking what Andrew calls the lowest fruits on the tree—it would amount to picking rotten fruits on the ground (the leftovers from the interactive movies of the early 90’s, where users “voted” by using a pistol grip on their seat, and which turned to be a very passing fad.)
    3. Allow the user to control a character in a multi-user environment—but how would this differ from The Sims On-line, which, I understand, has not matched the success of the regular version, nor of on-line fantastic worlds like EverQuest. It would be just a game delivered through the TV channel—and since different people would play for different time periods, how could this be fitted into the scheduling ?
    4. Have a non-interactive TV show, and after each episode let players download an interactive game version which would allow them to continue the episode individually, by controlling a character. This would require two channels—TV and the players PC. Again, this would offer no new form of interactivity.

    Any other possibility ?

  4. josh g. Says:

    Idea number two would be possible if the filming was done live or during the week prior to airing. Which would be harder, but not impossible.

  5. scott Says:

    I like the idea of an American sitcom featuring live actors, none of whom actually speak English, but who emote in obvious physical ways and gibberish, and who change: age, change social positions, get better houses and dogs, etc, inbetween episodes. Forget interactivity — except for feeding. Let the characters die if the audience doesn’t feed them. Sometimes I’d like to starve the Friends, if only to free them from their endless syndication. I want to see a sitcom that doesn’t use banal dialogue, that doesn’t use dialogue at all. The Sims has Beckettian potential, in the way it strips the American experience of all pretensions, and of human language.

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