Culture

Computer Games

Culture | The top 5 selling PC and Console games from Gameweek.com for the week ending Aug. 5

Issue: "Star makers, heartbreakers," Sept. 2, 2000
1
DIABLO II
$52Blizzard Entertainment
PC (CD Win 95/98/2K)
OBJECT
Battle enemies and finish quests to unfold more of the story.

GIST
Players become one of five different characters in this large, moodily lit, and complex role-playing game.

CAUTION
Deserves its "Mature" rating due to violence, gore, and occult images.

2
WORLD SERIES BASEBALL 2K1 $50
Sega of America
Dreamcast
OBJECT
Manage a sports team and win games.

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GIST
Arcade-style baseball simulation with enough realism to recognize occasionally the faces of players.

NOTE
The computer-controlled fielding makes the game easier to play, but frustrating for those who prefer to make their own mistakes.

3
NCAA FOOTBALL 2001 $41
Electronic Arts
Playstation
OBJECT
Manage a sports team and win games.

GIST
While similar in many respects to the 2000 version, EA's annual installment of college football incorporates some changes and improvements.

NOTE
Some players may not feel that there are enough changes to warrant upgrading from the 2000 version.

4
TONY HAWKS PRO SKATER $35
Activision
Playstation
OBJECT
Pull stunts to score points in order to win.

GIST
Flip, spin, and grind your way to the World Championship with over 100 available skating moves.

CAUTION
Mild "adult" language. Minor amounts of blood spatter when players "crash and burn."

5
THE SIMS $44
Maxis
PC (CD Win95/98)
OBJECT
Live an alternate life.

GIST
Take control of the life of a "Sim." Develop his (or her) career and social life, or turn him into a deadbeat misfit.

CAUTION
In the game, happiness comes from possessions and popularity. No moral distinctions exist between faithfulness and adultery, or between homosexuality and heterosexuality.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
A simulation often puts gamers in the cockpit of a plane or in the driver's seat of a car. The Sims by Maxis places players effectively in the mind of a person. They may individualize this person's appearance and create a personality, using a variety of character traits. When players have finished setting up a family, they then buy or build a house, move in, and proceed to live. At first glance, gamers will realize that the house is bare, so furnishings and appliances need to be bought. Then their "Sims" will get hungry and need to be fed. They will feel tired and need to sleep. When they wake, the bills will need to be paid and the fish fed. The garbage will need taking out and the plumbing will need fixing. Meanwhile the plants in the garden are dying for lack of water. Phew! This is fun? The Sims attempts to recreate the minutia of life, and while the concept may seem crazy, many people do enjoy it. A stream of petty details drives the game forward. While this sometimes creates frustration, the constant attention to detail makes the game one that some find continually interesting, others pointless. This game is a simulation of life, and as players will tend to identify with the created character, parents should be aware that the game indirectly makes several profound statements about the life that it emulates. First, the game has taken the mundane elements of life and made them its central theme. That these elements are depicted as the primary focus effectively creates a life with meaninglessness at its center. Second, while characters have several motivations, they primarily focus on attaining pleasure. Developments are judged solely according to the degree to which they please your character. Although this is "just a game," these significant messages become a powerful commentary on the hollowness of a life devoid of meaning.

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