Ponderance

(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Sims TV

Monday, January 17, 2005
Sick of reality tv? Then how are you going to feel about virtual reality TV? It seems that the Sims might be coming to a TV near you in the near future! Reuters has the details:
Electronic Arts, the world's biggest video game publisher, is considering an interactive TV show that would let viewers control the actions of the characters as in its popular game "The Sims." "One idea could be that you're controlling a family, telling them when to go to the kitchen and when to go to the bedroom, and with this mechanism you have gamers all over the world 'playing the show'," said Jan Bolz, vice president of marketing and sales for EA Europe. The proposed show, which might involve viewers voting on possible actions, is still in the early stages, but EA confirmed it is in talks with several TV production companies. Bolz declined to disclose any additional details.
Terra Nova has some interesting thoughts on the idea:
Now the first response to this must be: Genius.

I mean, this is surely a break-through. Game devs have taken a long time to wake up to the fact that eBayers are prepared to pay for someone else to play the game for them through to a certain point (ie up to the point where the Sword of Ultimate Vanquishing is available), and then they'll take it from there. Now EA are working on a way for people to pay to watch others to play the whole game for them. It takes a peculiar kind of intelligence to take an interactive medium and turn it into a passive and/or pseudo-interactive medium: "If you want your Sim to go to the bathroom, press 'ok' on your remote control, now."
While Grand Text Auto has some amusing notions of alternative "concepts being thrown around…":
* The Sims go to an island off the coast of Florida for a huge techno rave party, even though this has nothing to do with anything in the original game.
* The Sims encounter zombies and aliens in shows packed with gunplay, even though this has nothing to do with anything in the original game.
* The Sims will have to cope in near-future, post-earthquake Los Angeles. Alyssa Milano will make a special appearance in the first episode, sporting a bleach blonde mini-elf haircut.
Personally, I think it would work. It would have to be better than half the reality tv being produced now, and the novelty of a global interactive television game would probably at least make a successful first season out of the idea. Of course, I wonder what time slot it would be aimed at? What happens when bored viewers, trying to hot things up, start giving their Sims murderous impulses? Can you woohoo in primetime? And if the game was based on Sims 2 architecture, what would happen if the tv series got unintentionally modded? Could be fascinating!

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