The Sims games have traditionally received two types of add-ons: "stuff" packs that give fans new items like decor and apparel, and full expansions that add brand new gameplay elements. The Sims 3: Generations is an awkward middle child, granting you more than just hairstyles and new chairs but none of the inventiveness found in previous expansions like World Adventures and Ambitions. This addition is a pleasant extension of what The Sims 3 already does--not a game changer--and series addicts will undoubtedly enjoy how well Generations captures the essence of life's individual milestones. Children get tree houses and playground equipment; teens learn to drive and go to prom; adults have midlife crises; and grumpy oldsters shoo away annoying kids with their canes. These enhancements are subtly integrated into the main game, but they don't have the overall impact of previous expansions. And that's this expansion's real problem: lack of impact. It's nice to have new playthings, but at almost the cost of a whole new game, even the most dedicated devotees can probably do without these toys.
6320426Toddlers are like cats: you can leave them alone for hours without supervision. In fact, they enjoy it.None
As you can guess from its title, Generations deepens and broadens your sims' various stages of life by adding mechanics suited to their age. It begins in childhood, with one of the expansion's most charming and surreal additions: the imaginary friend. This semicreepy stuffed wonder morphs from plush toy into a combination of best friend and personal assistant. Watching your child's purple Martian mutant saunter about with an exaggerated bounce is as charming and silly a sight as any in the series, and you only see him when you are directly controlling your child. Want a snack? Send your pal to grab you one. Want help with making the beds and cleaning the toilet? Ask your invisible friend to help with your chores. Heck, you can even turn him into a controllable sim if you mess around at the chemistry table often enough. You make potions here, one of which will make your virtual Pinocchio a real boy. Well, almost, anyway. You can craft other potions at the table too, such as mood enhancers and the like, though potions aren't exactly new; the Makin' Magic expansion for the original game included a similar mechanic.
As you move through the years, you also unlock new features. Children don't just get living plushies: They can play on seesaws and in tree houses or use any of the other playground equipment added to the Buy mode. They can also pull pranks, at home or elsewhere. Your cackling kid may sneak up to his parents' laptop and set it up to scare the next sim that uses it or plant a whoopee cushion on the sofa. The sim that falls victim to the prank is disgusted by the sound, and temporarily suffers from a negative moodlet. If your kid prefers milder forms of fun, you can always dress him or her up as a dinosaur using the new costume chest. Here, as in other ways, Generations encapsulates an important truth of youth: Children dressed as fairy princesses and astronauts are adorable. Teens are more known for angst than adorableness, so perhaps you'd like to prank the school and release frogs from the science lab; it's a pity you only read of the results in in-game text rather than witness the hysterical results. Your teens can also go to prom, but this is an option sadly underutilized. Perhaps your prom was a slow-dancing delight, or perhaps it was a public display of romantic awkwardness. Either way, you can't relive those moments in The Sims 3: Generations. Your teen and his or her date simply disappear into the building, and you get periodic updates in the corner of your screen.
Even big kids get to enjoy some of the new backyard toys.