Guilty pleasures – playing games the wrong way

You’ve sat through countless hours of just watching your Sims go about their day. And now it’s time for a change – it’s time to shake things up a lot. It’s time to do something that the developers never intended for you to do.

Let’s start off with one of the absolute classics. The Sims has always meant for the player to establish a family and then keep up your 9 to 5, in order to finally achieve something great – like becoming the next president or an astronaut. But what about messing a bit with the laws of good sense and start killing off people from the neighborhood, when they come over for a friendly visit, fruit basket included? When Mark from work decides to jump in the pool, you might be tempted to remove the swimming pool ladder once he’s in – The Sims’ equivalent of tossing a toaster in the somebody’s bathtub. Or you might remove the bathroom door, trapping him with nothing but soap and a cheap toilet for company – or you could remove the toilet as well!

I have certainly had my fair share of fun moments within The Sims, coming up with plots, schemes and plans for making life hell for the otherwise friendly neighborhood of Sunset Valley. At one point, I (Please don’t kill me for saying this) built a two-story house, where the top floor was all brick and cobblestone. 5 women were then placed in the room with nothing to do besides surviving. The home owner (with a name I simply can’t say on the internet) then occasionally made his way up to the attic with a bowl of food or maybe some cereal. And there wasn’t really a lot more to it. It was hilarious to have people come over, knowing that upstairs, 5 women were barely getting through the day. It was just so absurd and evil and brilliant at the same time, and I sometimes still return to The Sims, because I’ve come up with yet another horrible, but hilarious scheme.

Remove the pool ladders and they won’t be swimming much longer

At the absolute opposite end of the scale, there is an entirely different game that also ranks high among my guilty pleasures. And that’s Grand Theft Auto. Whether it’s San Andreas or Liberty City which sets the stage for it, nothing beats being an ordinary man in Rockstar’s otherwise violent and bloody series. Some of the highlights of being an ordinary citizen of GTA are for example stopping at red traffic lights, taking a walk in the park or my personal favorite – pretending to get into “accidental” street brawls, or “pretending” to “lose control” of the car and then plowing onto the curb. Once you’ve ended the lives of several completely innocent people you do – of course – call an ambulance. I really don’t know why I find stuff like this entertaining, but for some reason I always return to the controlled mayhem of being and “ordinary” citizen.

I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something so appealing about playing games the way they weren’t meant to be played. Once you’ve wandered around Liberty City or Los Santos for a couple of actual weeks, I just need to do something entirely different from just shooting up people or tending to the needs of my family in The Sims. And how do I do that? I create and internally narrate stories of my own and craft different situations within games. They might be silly, like the time I made up a story of a character in The Sims that refused to live in a confined space, and because of that had all of his furniture in the middle of his garden. Or they might be dark and gruesome, like the time I deliberately drove around for three straight days in GTA V, killing off dozens of hookers as a modern Jack the Ripper.

Because while games certainly have got a lot to offer story-wise, the best stories are often the ones we create ourselves. They might be weird, silly or downright cruel – but they sure are good.

Do you have any memories of playing games in an entirely different fashion that they were meant to? Which games? What did you do?

 

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