Flights of The Electribird

Through Games, Events and Multimedia

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When there’s Sims, Something Always Slips

Sorry about the lack of updates, but even I have a life to deal with. Sad, isn’t it?

The last thing Electronic Arts is known for is to keep a secret, especially when it comes to their best-selling game series, The Sims. If an employee doesn’t slip the information in the most subtle way possible, the stores that plan to sell the merchandise slips the information instead, which seems to have been the case this time. Stores are sometimes told in advance about upcoming products, so the chance of the information being true is higher than you think. The only issue is that the information is almost guaranteed to change eventually with time. The change could be anything from a cancellation to a name-change. Let’s hope it’s just the second one this time, shall we?

According to this rumour, EA’s planning to release an expansion pack called The Sims 3 Hobby and Profession. People are still speculating over what kind of remake it is on some websites and forums, but the name makes it pretty clear to me that it’s a remake of The Sims 2 Free Time and it wouldn’t surprise me if they squeezed in something from The Sims 2 Open for Business into the mix. The store itself confirmed the information to be accurate, but I’m personally waiting for EA to announce it officially before celebrating. Nothing guarantees a release more than that, even if the product ends up getting cancelled anyway in the end.


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Why Didn’t EA Think of this Before?

Electronic Arts has gotten a lot of complaints from fans of the games The Sims and The Sims 2 due to bugs and errors in both the base game and its expansion and stuff packs over the years. After all of the interviews I’ve read and watched for years on the Internet and in bonus discs, I’ve learned that the people who work on The Sims franchise don’t seem to have much time for anything else. I remember that one of the employees (a developer, I think) was using a huge thermos mug filled with tea or coffee to stay awake for work! It’s no wonder that there can be so many errors and bugs in the game if the people who work on it are too tired of exhaustion to notice them before deadline! That’s why I thought it was a great idea when I read about the event EA’s been hosting – The Sims 3 Creator’s Camp.

EA has held events like this before, but from what I can tell from the media, the Creator’s Camp seems much more grander than anything they’ve done before. Most of the major fansites (like GameSpot, who posted the video above) has been invited to attend and test out a nearly finished version of The Sims 3, which they could later on write about on their websites. Not only is this an excellent way for EA’s employees to cut some slack, this is also a great way for The Sims 3 to get some major publicity as well as a better quality as soon as the game’s ready for release. Game developers can sometimes miss out on things when they have to play the same game over and over again for months in search of flaws and fans all over the world, who’re so obsessed with The Sims’ franchise that they forget about their patience, can read about what the visitors have seen on the fansites and stay patient. More time to spare and less work for EA-employees and free game testers and major publicity for EA and The Sims 3. That’s a whole lot of flies in 1 whack!

After reading about delays for the game’s release, I going to assume that the fansite-people found plenty of stuff that needed to be fixed, but that’s just speculation from my side. But if I’m right, I don’t mind waiting another few months for The Sims 3. I’d rather spend my money on a perfect game than a buggy one that requires several patches to work properly.

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Laptops + Gaming = Slap in the Face

As most people should know by now, laptops are not really suited for games, even if the stores and manufacturers beg to differ. Sure, a laptop can handle some games, but a good gaming laptop from today will probably not be able to handle the games of 3-5 years from now. The glorious day, when laptops become easier for the consumers to upgrade, is the day I’ll make out with a guy who looks exactly like Tobey Maguire, because that would be a blessed day indeed!

Why I’m mentioning this, is because my desktop computer’s ready for its retirement after 7 years of good use. Because of this, I haven’t been able to play games with my poor darling, so little Tiny’s all I’ve got. Unfortunately, Tiny’s a laptop and is therefore not suited for games that require plenty of graphic memory, like The Sims 2. Sure, The Sims 2 doesn’t demand much alone, but if you install every single expansion and stuff pack for it along with it, you get a really massive game that requires more than the required performance requirements say on the box. It’s a miracle that I can run the game at all, I tell you. It’s using up around 50-100% of the CPU!

After some searching, I think I’ve found a solution to this problem. As every laptop-owner should know, every laptop has a PCPMCIA-slot (or ExpressCard-slot) on its side. PCMCIA-cards and ExpressCards are used to add hardware that the laptop may not have built into it, like soundcards or modems. Even graphic cards can be created to use this slot, but those cards have not been manufactured for years and it seems like they won’t be manufactured again any time soon. But a company called Magma has a different solution to the problem, even though it may not be the best solution for a person who takes the laptop everywhere. It’s an external expansion box with PCI Express-slots, which you can connect to the computer via the ExpressCard-slot. Inside the expansion box, you can install any card that fits into a PCI Express-slot and then use it with the laptop! Unfortunately, this expansion box doesn’t seem to exist in Swedish stores, which makes it harder for me to order it and try it out. Oh well, with time comes new technology. Who knows, someone might try to make a graphic card that fits into the ExpressCard-slot someday. In the meantime, I’ll have to run my games with what I’ve got. They won’t run the way I want them to, but they work – well, most of the time…