The Sims: Real Life as Genre

Publication Type  Journal Article
Year of Publication  2003
Authors  Nutt, D.; Railton, D.
Journal Title  Information, Communication and Society
Volume  6
Pagination  577-592
Key Words  Genre; narrative; family; relationships; computer games; The Sims

This article examines one of the most popular computer games The Sims to consider whether the shared understanding of the game's "rules' can be understood through the concept of genre. The main argument is that the genre being used is "real life'. The game's creators are assuming the players share with them, and with each other, an understanding of real life, which can be transposed into the game world. The article explores this notion of a real-life narrative that is shared, by considering the ways in which family and other relationships are both conceptualized and played out in the game. Whilst real life as genre is problematized here, the tensions and conflicts of contemporary real-world conceptualizations of family and other relationships do appear to be represented in the game. What is interesting then, given this, are the ways in which players negotiate the gameplay. The article concludes by suggesting that players are active agents negotiating both the game' s version of real life, and their own real-world experiences.


Introduction to special edition of 'Information, Communication and Society' on digital games.



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