In the world of Sim fandom, the stuff pack has always been a bit of a contentious offering. Nothing seems to drive gamers apart faster than the question of whether it is ethical to encourage players to spend more money on a game they have already purchased. On the one hand, righteous outraged types curse EA and their money-making behemoth for sucking players in and stealing their money. On the other side, rabid fans gobble up anything that’s dangled in front of them, and still squeal for more.
Who’s right? Who’s wrong? There was certainly an uproar on the Sims 3 forums when players realised in addition to all of the packaged offerings that would appear on the shelves, EA also had plans for a Sims 3 online shop, where players could purchase sets (or individual items), clothes, hair and the like for simpoints, which players would buy with – you guessed it – real money.
I guess I can understand both sides. Like most other players, a great deal of the appeal with Sims titles comes with the (ahem) dollhouse aspect of the game. And it is cool when suddenly new items become available, whether they be a fancy looking door or window, or a crazy looking steampunk outfit. Then again - if you’ve already paid for the core game, then why shouldn’t you expect these things to be included?
You could go round and round with the argument, but at the end of the day, no-one ever said EA was a not-for-profit organisation. In any case: on with the review.
This first stuff pack lets players glitz up their homes a little, with some sleek, modern furniture that wouldn’t look out of place in a fancy New York loft (or what I imagine a New York loft would look like). There’s a lot of glass, a lot of Swedish-looking furniture, and even a very awesome corner bathtub. I wasn’t particularly jazzed by the mens’ clothes (which looked a little more Thriller-era Michael Jackson than High-End Loft), but there are a couple of nice new haircuts for women, and some good-looking gear for them.
There’s lots of artwork, including plant boxes, a framed electric guitar, and some very chic lighting additions, as well as a new type of window, door, and fence.
The highlight of the pack, however, has to be the 10th Anniversary ‘gifts’ that also come in the stuff pack: three favourites from previous Sims titles. Yes, the vibromatic bed is finally back, as is the large (now stockable) aquarium, and an awesome electric guitar. Make sure you also check out the Sims 3 website for other 10th Anniversary items that you can download for free.
In receiving High-End Loft Stuff in the post, I was surprised to find I wasn’t as excited by it as I was with previous Sims 2 stuff packs. Interestingly, this had nothing to do with the actual content of the stuff pack, but was - I suspect – a by-product of having already bought some custom objects from the online store.
Though it doesn’t look like the stuff pack items will ever appear in the store, there are definitely some advantages to the online model. For starters, there is something quite satisfying about being able to purchase items singly, if just one thing strikes your fancy. You don’t feel as if you’ve ‘wasted’ money on items that you don’t care for. I suspect the online store model will prove to be the winner in the ‘stuff arena’, and potentially this may cause problems for EA with stuff packs they release in the future. Then again, why not do both? Registering your copy of High-End Loft Stuff will gain you some extra simpoints, which you can then use to get even more stuff!