Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's $29.99!
Shalom! Asalaam alaikum! Buenos dias! My name is Crispie Crouton and I was born in the Fairaday Islands, a mysterious chain of volcanic islands that stem from the liquor store around the corner and end, rather abruptly, in the backyard of a little old woman named Mrs. Toosday. I have been described as an all-around wonderful guy, but my natural modesty prevents me from making too much of such statements.
I'm a Sim and I was absolutely flabbergasted when I was asked to be the first in my neighborhood to give an honest review of The Sims: House Party, the latest expansion to The Sims. But seeing as I was recently elected president of my local neighborhood association, I saw it as my duty to step up to the plate and give you all the skinny on this endeavor from Maxis and Electronic Arts which is a lot of flash, a little short on substance and a bit hefty on price.
I've been living in Simsville for about a year now and, phew, what a year it's been! I've moved twice and had a house built for me, I was able to parlay my occupation as a Treasure Hunter into a career as a movie Superstar and I gave up a rather nasty grits habit I'd developed while making my climb to the top. I can't begin to tell you how many cocktail parties I've thrown and basic schmoozing sessions I've forced myself through to land leading roles. And with all the moving and rebuilding I've had going on around me…well, let's just say I've done more than my share of redecorating.
Being a high paid and popular entertainer in the bustling metropolis that is Simsville, my house is my showpiece and I am always eager for new and different furnishings for my palatial estate. I was a bit disappointed with the items available for sale. Although there are nearly 100 new items to place in your homes, much of the furniture is theme-based with Western, Techno-Industrial and Beach/Tropical being the themes du jour. Not much in the way of tasteful furnishings - unless inflatable plastic sofas figure heavily into your definition of taste.
The themed furniture suites seem oddly incomplete. For example, I was kicking around the idea of outfitting my west wing pool house along a tropical theme. I found the perfect little bamboo shower and a means of putting together a quaint bamboo vanity and sink, which went very nicely with the woven reed carpet and wallpaper I had selected. But then I realized there was no bamboo toilet to complete the ensemble. I eventually gave up on my redecorative quest but discovered a similar problem with the Western motif, which incorporates a sink/vanity but no matching shower or bath and a bar and stove but no icebox or other appliances.
And I don't need to tell you how gauche a bamboo house looks with a standard shingled roof. But seeing as there are no new roofs available, there really isn't much of a choice. It's as if the items were selected for inclusion by someone afflicted with ADD or narcolepsy or a combination of the two with a little amnesia thrown in for good measure.
Of course, the main focus of House Party is on partying and, after a cursory redecoration of my first floor interior, I quickly set about the business of throwing my first mega monster bash.
I hired the best (and only) caterer in Simsville to serve from my new buffet table and punch bowl. I bought the DJ Booth, which offers more choices in music styles that sadly are not available on the other pre-existing musical appliances. Now I can play Beach, Techno, Disco, Country Dance and Rap music (and you can't fully appreciate rap until you hear it the way it was meant to be heard - in SimTalk!). I bought the Dance Floor, which allows us Sims to dance differently to different types of music. I even bought flashing disco lights and dance cages in case someone wanted to get down with their bad selves. After purchasing a few more doodads I set out the birthday cake, cranked up the music, pulled out the new costume trunk, put on my best discowear and watched the guests pile on in. And boy, did they pile in - even Sims I'd never seen before.
I was greeting guests…I remember that distinctly, and then someone suggested I try "blowing a few bubbles." Others were doing it and, well, I bought the "water pipe" so I guess I had to use it. Anyway, things started to get a little fuzzy after that. I remember dancing the merengue with the Futhermucker twins and something about sitting around a campfire singing Rum-Ra-Nah and then the cake dancers showed up...I recall arguing with a mime and then Drew Carey crashed the party and things got very weird after that.
Well, the next morning was quite an ordeal and if it weren't for the godsend of espresso, I might have been late to the set and watched my career come tumbling down. Thank goodness that caterer is big on cleaning up or my swinging bachelor pad would have been left looking like it was eligible for FEMA aid by the time I got home from work.
But upon sober reflection, after the bubbles had cleared my central nervous system, I realized that it was the intense one-on-one brown-nosing evening suppers which had precipitated my rise to super stardom. While throwing huge parties is a great way to meet new people, it's not conducive to forming great friendships. I've always considered myself something of a social butterfly, but even I balk at playing host to five or more guests. It's nearly impossible to keep up with all of that mingling and as hard as I try someone always ends up wandering off in a lonely funk.
I am a big star and make whopping fat loads of cash. I can afford to throw down on these expensive and unwieldy party items like the Turntablitz DJ Booth for 7129 Simoleans, the "Bounce My Booty" Dance Floor for 1250 Simoleans, and the Super Schlooper Bubble Blower for 710 Simloeans. And it's nothing to me to hand over 350 Simoleans to a caterer to help with the refreshments. But who else has the means to throw these wicked parties?
Many of these new items are large and need more space than your average Sim's modest homes allow. Of course you can always add an addition to your house to accommodate the wares but that costs, too.
House Party does add at least three new neighborhoods to your existing Sims communities and I'm all for making our town as cosmopolitan as possible. The expansion also boasts a patch to correct faults with previous Sims installations. But the patch offers no remedy for the buggy Livin' Large robots which still get caught in changing-hat mode and continue to haunt doorways until someone shuts them off. And how many honest Sims have lost their jobs due to a robot blocking a doorway? Too many.
And at times, Sims still refuse to acknowledge certain items or greet certain visitors. High fences and decorative wall pieces still obscure your view of the action, and the game still has a tendency to chug on lots that have very large buildings and many furnishings.
All in all, there are a few wonderful new items added to enhance the lives of us Sims, but they're novelties rather than staples and they won't exponentially increase your Sim's appreciation for their environment or your appreciation for the game - and for $29, it should. If the content of Livin' Large and House Party were combined, the price would seem far less steep. If you're a faithful Sim fanatic who has run out and bought each release in new condition, this expansion tips the scale to over $100 just for software - no guidebook of any note, no mug, no tee shirt, no decoder ring. But then again, as long as you folks stay hooked on this unique title, we Sims will never lack for tacky furnishings and disco will never die.