Just as real-life youth are growing up in a world where pollution will ruin their health, neighborhoods, oceans and planet if they don’t take drastic action, so go their virtual counterparts in The Sims. Electronic Arts will issue a new eco take on its wildly popular video game series on June 5.
The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle Expansion Pack introduces Evergreen Harbor, a neighborhood threatened by garbage and bad air quality. Players will see the consequences of their actions in real-time. If they add solar panels, build eco-friendly houses and use wind power, the virtual air turns from gray to blue. Make enough positive decisions, and players will be rewarded with a glimpse of the aurora borealis. They can even dumpster dive for upcycling material. If they ignore questions of sustainability, Evergreen Harbor gets grim indeed. A trailer shows the young Sim activists making speeches, working in a maker space using 3-D printers, raising baby chicks, building eco-housing, inventing a pollution-sucking machine and dancing in a rooftop garden.
Originally, The Sims came out in 2000, a spinoff of the SimCity game introduced in 1989. Players create virtual characters called Sims and make all the decisions about where they live, who they associate with and how they spend their time and money. The Eco Lifestyle Expansion Pack introduces new career options for Sims, such as civil designer and freelance crafter. Video game company Maxis developed The Sims franchise, and Electronic Arts publishes the games. The series is one of the top video games worldwide, selling almost 200 million copies.
The new Eco Lifestyle Expansion gives players the chance to guide their Sims via personal decisions that have wide-ranging consequences. “We’re thrilled to give players the opportunity to explore an eco-friendly way of living in The Sims and play the change they want to see,” George Pigula, producer of The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle Expansion Pack, said in a press release. “By discovering and practicing sustainable habits, like using solar panels or wind turbines to power their electricity, or upcycling materials to create new furniture, players and their Sims can play with life in all-new ways.”
Images via EA Games