It's a beautiful day over at the VideoGamer.com office. The sun is shining, the birds are singing. All of this can only mean one thing: I'm ill. Yes, nature is laughing at me, wiping its hideous diseases on my face and mocking me triumphantly. Here I am, in the height of HD weather, bedridden.
What's even more pleasant is how ill I really am. Having exhausted my body's natural supply of unnecessary fluids, the last three days I've been awoken by an ever-so-pleasant fountain of slime streaming out of my face. Hoo boy, that's delightful, let me tell you. "Ho ho," my pathogen chimes. "Mucus and phlegm are so passé. How about we make her face eject vital, life-giving liquid morning, noon and night? Haha, maybe next we can make her eyes shoot PISS!"
This is my introduction to The Sims 3 on console, anyway. My Emily avatar seems to be suffering from some kind of debilitating stomach flu and spends most of her time passed out in one of the six beds I've inserted around the perimeter of my Sim office. In fact the house I constructed is at least 70 per cent beds, with a number of small pools built into various parts of the floor.
While you've always been encouraged to try and gain a basic income, the Sims connoisseur has more of a tendency to go off the beaten path and attempt to fudge the system.
This is exactly what I have always adored about The Sims.
And here's why: it represents one of the best aspects of gaming – the ability to push a game to its creative limit just to see what will happen. On PC the The Sims has been consistent in how it's offered different aspects to experiment with, from the pet angle of Sims Unleashed to the urban-lite angle of Hot Date to the semi-supernatural angle of Livin' Large. A tidal wave of Sim expansions has gushed from the EA assembly line over the last decade, but its interpretation as a non-PC title has left something to be desired.
Sims 3 for console is the first time the franchise has been presented as a near-match to its PC counterpart. Unlike 2005's Sims 2 offering, which had an almost third person adventure flavour, this game is a dead ringer for its computer-based sibling - and that's a success in its own right. Translating a PC title to an entirely new system with an entirely different set of controls is difficult. And while descriptions of controls are the lowest form of games journalism it's important just to mention how seamless they are.
You govern Sims within a household by selecting them with the right analogue stick while moving the camera about with the left. Righty controls a vertical beam of light. Push that over the object you want to select and you'll get a list of objects you'll be able to interact with. This in particular is one of the more well thought out aspects of the game: it doesn't ask for exactness. Instead it asks you which relevant objects you want to interact with. Do you want the chair? Do you want the table? Do you want to direct Emily to take out the rubbish? The controls aren't necessarily as instantly intuitive as they are with a standard mouse but there's a flow to the system of selecting and directing Sims, one that exists because you're allowed to be sloppy with your controls.