Thursday, May 24, 2012

How To Be A Race Car Driver (According To The Sims)

Ok, I'm fairly certain that everyone's heard of The Sims, the 2000 Maxis/evil Electronic Arts "classic."  I found this game fascinating many years ago but then it hit me like a pile of bricks that this game is awfully redundant and that I should stop and never play it again.  Barely dabbled in the Sims 2 and haven't touched Sims 3.  I'm a SimCity guy anyway but EA put the kibosh on that so let's never mention Maxis ever again after this post.

If you don't know about The Sims, you can get jobs in one of twenty career tracks (10 in original Sims, 5 in Livin' Large expansion, 5 in Unleashed expansion).  Tracks include typical stuff Business, Law Enforcement, Entertainment, Politics, Science, etc.  Each track consists of a ladder of ten jobs increasing in income with each level.  To get promoted, you have to improve your Sims' talents (charisma, body, logic, creativity, mechanical, and cooking), make family friends, and go to work in a good mood.  If you keep at it, you'll make it to the top level of your career track and become a bazillionaire, or something.

Though it sounds cool on paper, your job description hardly has anything to do with the gameplay.  A carpool shows up every day at a specific time to take your Sim to work.  You never see him again until the carpool brings him back.  So you can be something badass like a "major league athlete" or a "criminal mastermind" but you never get to see any of the action.  Only thing that differs is the job hours, the wage, the job uniform, and the car that picks you up (ranging from junker cars to limos).

Only time you see a damn car in this game.

Anyway, it's worth mentioning there's a job out there called the "Grand Prix Driver" which sounds right up our alley!  But to get to that job, you must jump through a bunch of hoops in the Xtreme Career Track.  Here are all the jobs you must accomplish before becoming the next Michael Schumacher or Mario Andretti:


1. Daredevil (§175)
You've turned a bar bet into the foundation of an extreme career.  In short, you'll try anything, the crazier, the better.  Swim under the surface of a frozen lake, leap between rooftops with a bicycle, beat a train to a crossing, juggle a chainsaw while whistling "Dixie."  Your workday is short, but intense.

Holy mackerel, Batman, you're a Joe Schmoe looking through the newspaper and they need people to do dumbass stunts (for Dumbest Stuff on Wheels, apparently)?  And you don't need any skills, training, or experience whatsoever?  Good, cause I enjoy the idea of cracking my head for chump change.  And to severely hurt yourself, you don't really need talent at all so that's good!  Might as well film your own Jackass/MTV/Spike TV show while you're at it.

2. Bungee Jump Instructor (§250)
The salary sinks - but whoever thought that you'd get paid to do this?  Body skills are critical here; nutrition and fatigue must be carefully monitored at home.  You might invest in home gym equipment as well, to keep in the best shape possible.

It's bungie-jumping, not much else to say.  At least I'm watching other people suffer besides me.

3. Whitewater Guide (§325)
You're in charge of the rafts bobbing down the river in Sim Canyon.  Hope your body skills are sufficient - to advance here, your paying riders need to have confidence in your strength.  Never know when you might have some boat repairs to do, so mechanical aptitude is a plus.

Um, whitewater rafting.  At this point in my career, I ask "WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH RACING!!!"  Nuff said...

4. Xtreme Circuit Pro (§400)
Snowboards in winter, mountain bikes in spring, kayaks in summer, and skateboards in fall - you've entered the year-round pro circuit.  Strategies for winning can be helped by developing your logic skill.  Since you're burning mega-calories, learning a few cooking tricks is a good idea, too.

Congrats, you're a Dick's Sporting Goods/Academy poster-boy now.  This job makes sense since we've seen pros like Bucky Lasek, Travis Pastrana, Ricky Carmichael, and Shaun White go race cars before (apparently, they are used to extreme danger/speed).  But HOLY COW is being a skateboarder (or any of those other things) on a professional level is insanely hard.  Takes a ton of patience to learn how to ollie/kickflip/grind a rail.  Made it that far already?  How about you go to the pros, compete in X-Games, film movies, and overall try not to kill yourself.  If being a pro skateboarder is a necessary requirement to being a race car driver, then bitch please...I'm done.  Back to video games.  Besides, you deserve a lot more money for doing this work.  Why it's at #4, I have no clue.

5. Bush Pilot (§475)
Piloting that antique plane of yours demands some serious mechanical skill if you're going to safely dive through dense cloud cover and land on dangerous terrain.  And you'd better be in great physical shape in case you can't get out the same way you got in.  Of course, the danger does yield high pay.

I'M FLYIN A PLANE, WHOOOOPIEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!  LOOK MA, NO HANDS!!!!!!  Can we go skydiving now??  Your move, Maxis.  If not, we can always DO A BARREL ROLL!!!!

6. Mountain Climber (§550)
You've become a renowned climber of unscaled peaks, and there's lots of cash to be made by filming your expeditions for television.  Mechanical and creativity skills will be important - a failure in your ascent gear or strategy could be devastating.

Stuck in this lousy career track, better drink my own piss, indeed.

7. Photojournalist (§650)
Creative skills will help you here.  Work time is divided between taking photos and writing articles at the Sim Times newspaper office.  You need to make sure you allow enough time to write without social distractions, in order to meet deadlines and collect a nice, fat fee.  Maybe you should practice charisma.  Who knows when you may be called upon to narrate your photos?

I've covered wars you kn--wait, WHAT AM I DOING AT THIS LOUSY JOB AGAIN???  At least I get to live out my lifelong dream of running around a mall in my underwear.

8. Treasure Hunter (§725)
You've moved on to salvaging wrecks off the Sim City coastline.  You need friends in the right places to secure all those permits.  Hone that creative talent to get an edge in the search.

According to the job requirements, you need 5 logic points to attain this job.  BULLS***.  You need 11 logic points for this job.  A SECRET MESSAGE ON THE BACK OF THE DECLARATION THAT TELLS ME TO GO TO SOME ARBITRARY LOCATION WRITTEN IN A BUNCH OF HIEROGLYPHICS???  BETTER GET SOME LEMON JUICE!!!

9. Grand Prix Driver (§825)
Your latest job involves laying rubber on Sim City's racetracks.  It is important that you leave home in a good mood with high spirits - you'll drive your best race that way.  Playing an Electronic Arts racing game on your home computer might sharpen your reflexes, too.

BOOGITY BOOGITY BOOGITY, WE MADE IT BOYS!!!!  WE'RE FINALLY RACE CAR DRIVERS!!!!  But no, you don't drive--err...ride to work in an F1 car, just a Dodge Viper.  The pay sucks for a professional driver.  As for my response to an "Electronic Arts racing game"...

HEY JIMMIE!!!  How'd you become such a great driver??

"Just worked hard all these years...rode bikes, went bungee jumping, rafting, skateboarding, flew planes, climbed mountains, took pictures, and and looked for buried treasure.  Any questions???"

For the record, your "extreme" career is not over!  Prepare to be whisked out of your cockpit seat to...

10. International Spy (§925)
You've become a "secret agent" on assignment for your government in Sim City.  To survive this highly lucrative business, you must keep yourself in top mental and physical condition.  Spies are also irrestible - which can cause problems with your mate.

That's right--you go from a friggin race car driver to mutha-f***in James Bond (or Ethan Hunt, if you're feeling picky).  I have no idea how that works so for all terrorist/criminal organizations out there...keep tabs on Formula 1, NASCAR, Indy Car, Le Mans, Rally, Grand Tourer drivers out there since there's your man right there.  SECRET AGENTS...

Oh, that's right.  James Bond is such a great driver because he was once a professional race car driver!  It all makes sense now!!!  007 doesn't even need a steering wheel to drive!!!


But we all know the real way to be a race car driver and that is to race dirt cars/go-karts a frickin hell of a lot, win a lot of races, build your own cars, and get a car owner to hire you.  Either that or you pay a crapton of money.  Being a "risk taker" conditions you for the danger and sharpens your reflexes.  You've already seen the fear so you're well-prepared.  Otherwise, these menial jobs are meaningless.

Go driving with a cougar (the animal type) and skip the first 8 steps.  Easy!

Just for s***s and giggles, let's take a look at some other jobs from The Sims:


(Journalism) 2. Game Reviewer (§200)
The lowliest writing job you can get, but your name is in the byline.  Game companies send you free beta builds, and you get to play them (game and company), deciding on a whim whether you'll give them good press or not.

LAWL GAMESPOT AND IGN, BUNCH OF NOOBS.  "Deciding on a whim whether to give them good press or not"?  You're saying you never play the games before reviewing them?  Or that someone pays you off instead?  No s***, Sherlock.

(Hacker) 1. Beta Tester (§200)
Put the next version of the software through its paces, and try to crash the software as often as possible.  The Company is depending on you to make sure this code arrives on the store shelves in the cleanest possible condition, provided you don't rack up too many late-night pizza bills.

Full Sail grads.

(Hacker) 6. Game Designer (§610)
Good thing you've gotten so creative as of late - turns out your ideas for games have caught the eyes and ears of the Powers That Be.  Now the pressure's on for you to develop a game script that will capture the public's interest, as well.  That also means you get to work nights, since that's when the engineers are at the office.

Aw hell naw, that ain't right.  Creativity gets you jack s*** at EA, remember?  Get back to work, programmers!!!  The working nights part is spot on, though.  And why is this track called "Hacker" anyway--wouldn't the name "Computer Science" make more sense?

(Hacker) 9. Venture Capitalist (§1300)
All those stock options paid off - now that you've gotten more liquid, you can pick and choose which struggling little startups will earn your magnanimity, as well as the prestige for your name as a backing of their work.


BTW, there is technically a Formula 1 car in The Sims the uber DLC "Sims 3: Fast Lane Stuff" for more cool cars that all you can do is stare at!  Unfortunately, it's a open cockpit single-seater so no woohoo allowed.  Why can't this be in Forza 4 instead?  I'm done here, this post sucks.

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