announcement that Fox is going to make a feature film – presumably live action – based on The Sims video game is just the latest example of what the real purpose of optioning properties is (ABC picking up the Cavemen sitcom
is another example): it’s all about name recognition. Rod Humble, head
of the Sims Studio and the guy managing the property for Electronic
Arts says: "’The SIMS has
done an interactive version of an old story, which is what it’s like to
have infinite power and how do you deal with it… Given that that’s an
old story, you can imagine how easily that would translate to
traditional story telling,"
but the truth is that nobody
involved gives a shit about the story aspect. It’s all about doing a
Google search and seeing the hits, or looking at the sales figures of
the games, or seeing what a poll of certain desirable demographics
turns up.

I mean, seriously, have you ever played The Sims
and said “The process of furnishing this house would make a kick ass
movie!”? Of course not – the game is non-narrative and the basic
conceit is just LIVING, albeit with pixilated private parts. Any
narrative aspect – in this case, having supreme Godlike power – is
being imposed from above, and could just as easily be made into a movie
without the rights to The Sims. But then it wouldn’t have the instant recognition The Sims gives it.

The original Pirates of the Caribbean
proved to me that the worst concepts can become pretty good movies, so
I’m not writing off The Sims in any way. And if the characters in the
movie all talk in Simlish, I’ll put the fucking thing on my top ten of
the year just for the hell of it. But let’s not accept Humble’s
bullshit: this decision came from a calculator, not a word processor.