EA has announced action-puzzler MySims Agents for the Wii and DS.
EA has signed a top Hollywood agency to help turn game IP into blockbuster movies and television series.
Electronic Arts has whipped the wrappers off a PC version of its popular town-builder MySims.
Fantasy city management.
It's like Tetris all over again - I'm dreaming about blocks. Although this time they're falling into place to create elaborate pieces of furniture.
I spent forty-five minutes this morning making a freezer out of clownfish, gingerbread men and eighty-six types of building block - a gift for the girl dressed as a bee who runs my local ice-cream shop. I decided to take part in an impromptu dance-off with the town DJ on the way to deliver it, but unfortunately my player character looks a bit like a child molester at the moment thanks to an accident with the ‘randomise' button in the character creator, and the sight of him dancing disturbed me so that I had to detour to the nearest mirror and mess with his features and clothing until he looked less sinister. Then I was distracted by the mayor, who was splashing around in the town fountain, which drew my attention to a tiny imperfection in a neighbouring building, so I ended up rebuilding the whole structure.
It's easy to get distracted in MySims.
I think the most befuddling thing about Animal Crossing was how incredibly simple it seemed. Watching people trying to describe it in reviews was always amusing; it's nearly impossible to explain how a game in which all there is to actually do is fish and run errands could possibly be anything other than boring and pointless, and even harder to pinpoint that something that makes it so much more than the sum of its parts. After all, it's a game in which you do nothing much for a few hours a day, over the course of months and years. It makes absolutely no sense.
It's only when you play something like this that you realise how complicated Animal Crossing actually is. MySims could be called a simplified version; it's got the town, the flowers and fishing, the item collecting, clothing customisation and mad inhabitants, but no mortgage, no time sensitivity and, sadly, no Magic Something. Playing it made me appreciate Wild World's depth all the more. I think its secret was that altogether, there actually was an absolute ton of things to do and see; it's just at any given moment in time, only a tiny portion of them were possible.
But I'm in danger of selling MySims DS short here. This is not a cynical, cold-hearted copy. MySims is its own game, and it gives the whole 'portable town' idea a good-hearted go. Having designed your little cartoon Sim, whose appearance can be completely changed at any time, you arrive in a dilapidated resort town. The challenge is to revitalise it, persuade the local businesses to reopen and bring more and more tourists to its various attractions - all by chatting with the locals, and playing various mini-games. The removal of the mysterious complexity that made Animal Crossing so addictive is more than likely a conscious decision to make the game accessible for a (much) younger audience. That said, though, some of the similarities made me raise an eyebrow - the music, for instance, and the menu design, or the very familiar silhouettes in the rivers and seawater.