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News: July - September 2008

IGN's guide to Apartment Life
Monday 29th September 2008 | 9:16 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

IGN have posted a pretty detailed guide to The Sims 2 Apartment Life.

It's been a long journey since 2004, when The Sims 2 was first released! Four years of expansion packs, four years of seeing your little Sims grow from leading mediocre, drab lives to lives full of dating, vacations, four-legged friends, and vampires!

The guide goes through game changes, witches, apartment living and apartment building.

IGN also have guides for every other expansion pack and the base game, which are linked to from the introduction page of the Apartment Life guide.
 > The Sims 2 Apartment Life guide at IGN

Katy Perry's Simlish Music Video
Sunday 28th September 2008 | 6:13 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

EA have released a music video of "hot newcomer" Katy Perry's latest single, Hot N Cold, created using The Sims 2, and with the vocals re-recorded in Simlish. I've embedded the video below:

Poll Results and the Poll for October
Saturday 20th September 2008 | 6:01 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

It's that time of the month again: new poll time! The question this time is this: Have you bought Apartment Life yet? A very simple poll where you shouldn't need to think about it before voting. So vote! Now! To the right*!

Last month, I asked you lot this: Does it annoy you that to shut the open windows in Apartment Life you'll need to swap them for another in build mode? And I can tell you, with 71% of you, it does!
 > Full results

*Pages in main site only - not RSS feed

The Sims 3: New screenshots
Friday 19th September 2008 | 11:59 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

Three new screenshots of The Sims 3 have been released. See protesting, rocking and hand shaking by clicking below.
 > The Sims 3 screenshots

MTV Multiplayer get a first look at The Sims 3
Tuesday 16th September 2008 | 10:23 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

MTV's Multiplayer Blog (it covers all games, not just multiplayer ones, despite the name) has got a first look at The Sims 3:

Anyway, during a demo at a PR office in New York City, associate producer Lyndsay Pearson, ran down a few saucy, new details about the game that makes staying inside seem worthwhile:

 > ‘Sims 3′ Details: Sex In The Science Lab, Stealing Candy From Babies at MTV Multiplayer 

New blog posts on TheSims3.com
Sunday 14th September 2008 | 3:17 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

Head of The Sims studio Rod Humble and associate producer Lyndsay Pearson have both posted new blogs on TheSims3.com. Rod talks about the create-a-sim and how it captures his attention:

As we develop The Sims 3, I have to say that playing with the new Create A Sim completely captures my attention!  You can hit the random button and create Sims with unique personalities, as well as incredibly varied appearances. It’s hypnotic sitting there generating little beings with unique physical and mental traits.  I just generated a Sim who is a computer wiz, has commitment issues, is easily impressed and can't stand art. He likes Latin Music and his Favourite food is Key Lime Pie. All of those mental traits have an impact in the game world.

Lyndsay discusses Wishes:

We’ve looked back on our experience with Wants from The Sims 2, and think that you’ll find the Wish gameplay feels really different and better than Wants. You’re now free to pick or ignore your Sims’ wishes without fear of some sort of mental breakdown. Instead you really get to focus on telling the story and making decisions; your Sim just makes suggestions along the way. If you promise that you’ll help your Sim get married, then decide to throw that wish away, your Sim will be a little sad (who wouldn’t be!) but otherwise it’s really all up to you.

 > Community Blog at TheSims3.com

VentureBeat has a Q&A with Ben Bell
Friday 12th September 2008 | 11:47 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

VentureBeat has had a Q&A with The Sims 3 executive producer Ben Bell.

VB: What role has direct player feedback had in crafting The Sims 3?

BB: We’re all fans of The Sims, and a lot of our team worked on The Sims and The Sims 2, so player feedback is built into our team. We also spend a lot of time interacting with members of The Sims community around the world. I don’t think the game would be what it is without The Sims community. They make the content that keeps the game alive, and we are going to amplify that activity with The Sims 3.

 > Q&A with Ben Bell at VentureBeat

Yet more Stuff for your game
Friday 12th September 2008 | 10:05 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

Yet another stuff pack has been announced: The Sims 2 Mansion & Garden Stuff.

Design impressive estates and meticulous gardens for your Sims with three all-new architectural styles. Infuse your Sims' mansion with the intricate beauty of new Moroccan designs, add a touch of retro-modern style with stately and new Art Deco elements, or build in the imposing new Second Empire style. With a host of new architectural and landscaping items to choose from, your Sims mansions will look more stunning than ever!

  > Information and screenshots at The Sims 2 UK
 > Less information and screenshots at TheSims2.com (bottom left of page)

GameDaily gets a first look at The Sims 3
Thursday 11th September 2008 | 10:43 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

Ben Bell, the executive producer of The Sims 3 has given GameDaily an exclusive demo of the game.

"We have members of our design and graphics staff that have really grown up with the franchise, so this is very personal to us," said Bell. "Everybody on the team is a fan of the game. And there's a whole bunch of stuff that we've always wanted to do with the game that we were never allowed to explore due to time or technology."

The preview confirms the name of the one and only neighbourhood in the game - Pleasant Valley. The valley that contains the town of Pleasantview from The Sims 2, perhaps?

GameDaily had some screenshots that were not already on this website, so I've added them to the screenshots page.
 > The Sims 3 First Look at GameDaily
 > The Sims 3 screenshots

IGN reviews Apartment Life
Tuesday 9th September 2008 | 9:57 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

It's now IGN's turn to publish a review of The Sims 2 Apartment Life, and they've given it a "Good" 7.7 out of 10.

It's odd recommending an expansion pack like this with The Sims 3 coming out early next year. Yet if you're looking for more content to tide you over until the next game, Apartment Life certainly works as a solid expansion. It doesn't completely reinvent the style of gameplay you're used to, but it does make enough interesting tweaks and additions to warrant a look. And if this does turn out to be the last bit of official content released, it's not a bad way to go out for such a venerable franchise.

The Metascore remains at 74.
 > The Sims 2 Apartment Life review at IGN
 > The Sims 2 Apartment Life at Metacritic

Find out how to build your own apartment building
Saturday 6th September 2008 | 10:10 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

The Sims 2 Apartment Life game team have created a basic tutorial explaining how to construct apartment buildings. As well as showing you what must be featured in an apartment building and the cheat needed to turn your lot into one, the tutorial also gives help on adding cornices. It's not had much time spent on making it look nice or checking for spelling errors, but Maxoid_Hydra explains that's because they wanted to get the tutorial available quickly.
 > Apartment Building Tutorial at TheSims2.com Forum

1UP reviews Apartment Life
Monday 1st September 2008 | 5:36 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

The second English review of The Sims 2 Apartment Life has been posted online, this time from 1UP, who gave it a "good" B+.

It strikes the perfect balance of adding new material without taking away from the overall game, and it doesn't feel like a completely different path but rather a cool new take on some of the basic mechanics. It's a must-have for Sims 2 zealots, especially for those who skipped out on the last crop of expansions. Give it a go -- Apartment Life succeeds at facilitating a great new life for your Sims without straying too far from the old block.

Including foreign language reviews, this means the Metascore (an aggregate score out of 100 from Metacritic) is currently 74, "mixed or average reviews".
 > The Sims 2 Apartment Life review at 1UP
 > The Sims 2 Apartment Life at Metacritic

See Behind the Scenes of The Sims 3
Sunday 31st August 2008 | 10:44 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

A still from the videoA new video has been posted on TheSims3.com, giving us a look behind the scenes of the game. The offices are shown, we get to see a bit of how the game is developed, some of the game's user interface is seen for the first time, and the team discuss the game.
 > Videos at TheSims3.com

Meet the Landlord
Sunday 31st August 2008 | 8:50 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

The comic stripThe Sims 2 UK have posted another The Sims 2 Apartment Life comic strip: Meet the Landlord. The landlord of an apartment building, John, throws a party to try and help his favourite tenant find romance. I find it hard to believe this could actually happen in the game, as I'm pretty sure the landlord can only be an NPC (and probably wouldn't do anything like this), but oh well. Once again, all the screenshots from the strip have been added to the appropriate page on this website.
 > Meet the Landlord at The Sims 2 UK
 > The Sims 2 Apartment Life screenshots

GameSpot preview The Sims 3
Friday 29th August 2008 | 12:49 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

Now it's GameSpot's turn to preview The Sims 3 (see next post down for GameSpy's preview).

The Sims started off as an experimental game concept that designer Will Wright reportedly had to fight for. After it was released in 2000, it became a smash hit that went on to occupy top spots on computer game bestseller lists for years to come, along with a good number of expansion packs and its in-depth sequel, The Sims 2. Now the team is getting ready for an impressive round three with a new sequel that will offer much more in the way of customization options, social options, character behavior, and in-depth careers. We got an up-close look of the game and have much to report.

 > The Sims 3 Preview at GameSpot

GameSpy preview The Sims 3
Sunday 24th August 2008 | 3:30 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

GameSpy enjoyed a demo of The Sims 3 at the Leipzig Games Convention and have posted a preview of the game.

Two big changes separate the new game from its very successful (and elegantly designed) prequel. For one, the Sims themselves are much more dynamic, defined with a series of traits that make them more compelling and (at times) even more creepily human. More on that later. The biggest change is the seamless world.

They also videoed part of executive producer Ben Bell's talk, which I've embedded below:

 > href="http://uk.pc.gamespy.com/pc/the-sims-3/902155p1.html" target="_blank"> The Sims 3 preview at GameSpy

Meet the Socialites
Sunday 24th August 2008 | 1:53 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

The comic stripThe fifth The Sims 2 Apartment Life comic strip has been posted on TheSims2.com: Meet the Socialites. This strip shows Kristina going off in her helicopter to buy a new apartment, where her father gets the butler to watch her, and she finds a secret room to escape to. As usual, all the screenshots from the strip have been added to the screenshots page.
 > The comic strip at TheSims2.com
 > The Sims 2 Apartment Life screenshots

First Apartment Life review released
Saturday 23rd August 2008 | 10:05 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

GameZone has published the first review of new expansion pack The Sims 2 Apartment Life, and have given it an OK 7.2 out of 10.

This is more entertaining than Free Time and the apartment roommate element spices it up a touch.

 > The Sims 2 Apartment Life review at GameZone

Get a walkthrough of your future Apartment Life
Saturday 23rd August 2008 | 4:40 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

A still from the walkthrough videoA walkthrough video of The Sims 2 Apartment Life has been posted on TheSims2.com. Lead designer Lakshmi Jayapalan moves a family into an apartment, gets a roommate, visits a neighbour, and takes a taxi to a new park.
 > The Sims 2 Apartment Life videos at TheSims2.com

Poll Results and the Poll for September
Saturday 23rd August 2008 | 3:03 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

It was confirmed during the recent The Sims 2 Apartment Life chat that the open windows shown in screenshots can only be closed by replacing them with closed versions in build mode. It didn't surprise me, but it was still pretty annoying. This month, I want to know whether you feel the same way. It makes them sound like a waste of time to me, especially if you have Seasons as well. Vote now to the right.

Last month, I asked whether you think you'll ever buy anything from the new The Sims 2 Store. Well, the results are in, and it looks EA's new way of making money from us isn't very popular - not one person said they've already purchased something, or definitely will at some point. See the full results and comment by clicking below.
 > Poll Results

IGN sets their eyes on The Sims 3
Thursday 21st August 2008 | 10:37 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

IGN have posted an eyes-on preview of The Sims 3.

Although we've heard a bit about the Sims 3 in the past, I had the opportunity to sit in on a demonstration here in Leipzig at this year's German Games Convention. Although our time to check out the Sims was limited, especially considering the scope of the game as a whole, I was still able to get a grasp on what Maxis is doing for the next full installment of its greatly-loved franchise.

 > The Sims 3 Preview at IGN

The Sims 3 coming 20th February 2009
Wednesday 20th August 2008 | 12:39 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

EA has announced at the Leipzig Games Convention that The Sims 3 will launch worldwide on 20th February 2009, six months from today. (Unless you believe the US version of TheSims3.com, which thinks it has already been released on 20th February 2008.) A collector's edition will also be released on the same date which will, according to the news post on the UK EA website and the press release, include the following:

- The Sims 3 Game for PC
- The Sims Plumbob USB Drive with matching Green Carabiner
- Exclusive In-Game Italian-Style Sports Car
- Tips and hints guide
- The Sims 3 Plumbob Stickers

  > News post at EA UK
 > Press release at Business Wire

TheSims3.com re-launches with new design, screenshots and a developer blog
Tuesday 19th August 2008 | 6:55 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

TheSims3.com homepageThe official website for The Sims 3, TheSims3.com (oddly enough), has re-launched with a new design and new sections. One of the new features is a developer blog, with the first post executive producer Ben Bell.

Hello from The Sims 3 team,   This is the first installment of a regular blog in which you’ll hear from developers about what we’re creating, how we’re building it, and other random stories about life.

There are also more pages about the game and some new screenshots which I've also posted on this website.
 > TheSims3.com
 > Developer Blog
 > New Screenshots

IGN previews Apartment Life
Monday 18th August 2008 | 11:00 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

IGN have posted a preview of the latest expansion pack for The Sims 2, Apartment Life.

The big new supernatural element in Apartment Life is witchcraft. (Previous expansion introduced vampires, robots, zombies, and more.) By becoming a witch you gain access to spells both good and bad, and if you use one type more than another you become a good or bad witch, which can unlock new types of spells. You also get to wear a nifty pointy hat that looks stylish.

 > The Sims 2 Apartment Life preview at IGN

Apartment Life chat transcripts released
Saturday 9th August 2008 | 6:20 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

The transcripts for the two The Sims 2 Apartment Life chats on Thursday have been made available on TheSims2.com.

onmymind04 (Aug 7, 2008 6:08:16 PM)
Is this the last expansion pack for the Sims 2?

MaxoidShannon (Aug 7, 2008 6:08:16 PM)
Currently, there are no plans for any future Expansion Packs. We will be adding content once a month to The Sims 2 Store.

 > First chat transcript
 > Second chat transcript

EA announces Apartment Life soundtrack
Thursday 7th August 2008 | 7:40 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

EA have announced the soundtrack for The Sims 2 Apartment Life, according to WorthPlaying and gamezine.co.uk. The soundtrack includes songs from lots of artists I’ve never heard of, such as Bob Schneider and Janelle Monae. See the full list on either of the source websites linked below:
 > WorthPlaying
 > gamezine.co.uk

Apartment Life chat on Thursday (well, actually two)
Tuesday 5th August 2008 | 1:21 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

Two chats on the subject of the latest expansion pack The Sims 2 Apartment Life have been announced on TheSims2.com, presumably with some people involved with its production.

Both chats are on Thursday. I'm assuming they're running two to better allow us in the UK to participate, as one of them is early enough for that. The first chat runs between 10 and 10:45 am PDT, which I think is between 6 and 6:45 pm BST, and the second runs between 4 and 4:45 pm PDT, which I think is between midnight and 12:45 am BST on Friday.

At around one of those times you'll want to click below if you want to participate, where there should be a link to the chat auditorium.
 > Chat page at TheSims2.com

Meet the Gearheads at The Sims 2 UK
Sunday 3rd August 2008 | 1:18 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

The comic stripA new The Sims 2 Apartment Life comic strip, Meet the Gearheads, has been posted on The Sims 2 UK, the official UK website. It had not been posted on TheSims2.com yet at the time of writing. The strip tells the story of Biff and Jane's first date. As usual, I've added the best (actually, that's all of them this time) screenshots from the strip to the Apartment Life screenshots page.
 > Meet the Gearheads at The Sims 2 UK
 > The Sims 2 Apartment Life screenshots

Poll results and the poll for August
Saturday 26th July 2008 | 3:19 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

It's that time of the month again - new poll time! The Sims 2 Store launched this month, and I want to know whether you'll ever buy anything from it. Vote to the right of any page.

A poll has started, so one must have ended, too. Last month, I asked whether you're going to buy The Sims 2 IKEA Home Stuff. Click below to see the results, and the one comment.
 > Poll Results

Apartment Life trailer released
Friday 25th July 2008 | 4:49 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

The Sims 2 Apartment Life trailer has been made available on TheSims2.com.
 > Apartment Life videos at TheSims2.com

Apartment Life "Comic" Strips: Meet the Bohemians, Jocks
Sunday 20th July 2008 | 10:28 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

The Sims 2 Apartment Life Comic StripTwo more The Sims 2 Apartment Life comic strips have been posted on TheSims2.com: Meet the Bohemians and Meet the Jocks. As before, I've added the best screenshots from both to the screenshots page here.
 > Comic strip at TheSims2.com (Meet the Bohemians, click through to Meet the Jocks)
 > Apartment Life Screenshots

GameSpy interview Rod Humble about The Sims 3
Friday 18th July 2008 | 11:42 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

GameSpy's Dave 'Fargo' Kosak has interviewed Rod Humble about The Sims 3.

Fargo: So for all the fans out there who've invested a lot of time in Sims 2, what would you say the big selling points are with Sims 3? What's going to make people hungry to upgrade?

Humble: We've brought in a lot of Sims 2 players to play Sims 3 as we've been developing it -- 'cuz we're not going to mess this one up! [Laughs] -- so we're pretty confident we're delivering what our customers want. We're definitely Sims players as well, and the first thing we did was take away things that annoyed us.

  > Interview at GameSpy

The Sims 3: New screenshots, first video
Tuesday 15th July 2008 | 7:41 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

EA have released the first video of The Sims 3, as well as a few new screenshots.
 > New screenshots
 > New video at TheSims3.com (select your country, then click "Play Video")

The Sims 2 IKEA Home Stuff trailer
Thursday 3rd July 2008 | 10:13 pm BST (GMT/UTC + 1)

EA have released the trailer for the latest The Sims 2 stuff pack, IKEA Home Stuff.
 > See it now at TheSims2.com

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