Gimme a Break
On our last trip to San Diego, my boyfriend got stabbed in the foot by a stingray. I knew something was wrong by his strange gait and the look on his face as he emerged from the waves. I've never seen a man fight so hard to hold back the tears. For my part, I've never fought so bravely to hold back the laughter. I honestly didn't know a human face could twist that way.
[image1]The lifeguard was without pity and made us walk to the first-aid station, even though she had an ATV that would have made the half-mile trip in seconds. Bitch. We staggered across the beach like two extras from Apocalypse Now. Know what I learned? I learned that a man in pain with the use of only one foot is a heavy man. I also learned that a bad experience in an unfamiliar place can bring people closer together. And that if you want that closeness to stick, you should wait at least 72 hours before bringing up the incident again.
Now your Sims can also have new experiences in unfamiliar places with Sims 2 : Bon Voyage.
This sixth expansion in the Sims 2 dynasty is all about building up familial relationships. The family grows closer as they share in the strangeness of new cultures, learn new things, and step on fish. Relationships can be enhanced with a good vacation. Conversely, the family structure can virtually crumble if your Sims go on a bad trip.
None of the hassles of traveling are present in Bon Voyage. Don't worry about liquid measure allowances in your carry-on luggage or whether your shoes have metal strips in them. There will be no airport searches. Heck, there's no airport. With nothing but a phone call and a pocket full of Simoleans, Sims can travel to Asian -themed resorts, languor on the beach in tropical locales, or camp in the good old outdoors. Sims need only book a trip, call a taxi, and wait for departure. The taxi arrives, you grab your already packed luggage, hop in the cab and arrive magically at the steps of a hotel. Part of any travel experience is the actual travel, so it would have been nice to at least see one airplane or wait in one line.
Not only is travel hassle-free, but time stops back at home while you're on vacation. Work and school won't suffer, and none of your plants will die. Your Sims will never know the pleasure of auto-deleting their bloated e-mail inbox, and that's a shame. I practically gage the success of my vacations on how big my smile is when I auto-delete. I suppose one man's hassles are another's little joys, and the folks over at Electronic Arts had to make some executive decisions about what to leave in and what to take out to keep the game fun. Not a big issue, but if realism is the objective, Bon Voyage misses the boat on some points.
[image2]Other aspects are very realistic. Planning is important. The farther out you book your trip, the less it will cost. The more money you've brought to the party, the more fun you'll have. Looking like a tourist could make you a target for pickpockets - dangers lurk even in a virtual world. Comfort is also important. While tent camping is free, it will drain energy and moods will suffer. Spend those Simoleans and opt for a cabin. Apparently, Sims don't like to rough it.
Everything is expensive, but that's what cheats are for.
Take local food, for example. You won't believe what a bowl of Ramen noodles will cost you. I mean, it's not like the Asians have some kind of lock on carbs. Expenses pile up, and you want to have money left over for souvenirs, clothes, jewelry, and tours. You also have to buy any photos you want to keep for your photo album, so keep all this in mind.
As sim-expansions go, I would probably get this before I got Seasons but after I got Pets. All Seasons seems to add to the Sims experience is the potential for more bad moods when the weather turns foul. Pets adds a new dynamic to the family, and that is very much what Bon Voyage does, albeit in a different way.
Speaking of pets, you'll have to leave them at home. For some Sims, pets are family, so this seems kind of unfair. But Spot stays home if you want to travel. Stay Spot, stay.
[image3]You can also leave the kids at home, but it would be a mistake. You wouldn't believe how happy the little ones get when you travel. Sure, the teens will sulk, but the youngsters will go at it with all out abandon, even to the point of pissing off their parents. It's a fun dynamic to watch, and not that far from reality.
In the end, if everyone's needs are met, and you take care of achieving a few of each family members' vacation time objectives, you will see the benefits in mood and other attributes. The benefits will last even after the vacation is over and everyone is back home. Master 'slap-dancing' while camping and teach it to your Sim friends back at home. Set up an axe-throwing station in your backyard. Boost your ability to attract a mate when you return refreshed and rejuvenated.
Hours for you and weeks for your Sims can be spent in this virtual vacation world, and there are many surprises for you to discover. And as you become a more savvy traveler, you can try out options like building a vacation home or opening up a hotel of your own. There is no lack of creative things you can do with Bon Voyage, and fans will enjoy it. On this vacation all the lifeguards are nice, and there is not a stingray in sight.