On the last
exciting episode of The Sims 2 for the Nintendo DS, a young woman emerged from the worst episode of The Dukes of Hazzard ever to find herself trapped in a small desert town where privately owned buildings are inexplicably allowed to hold nuclear reactors in their basements. The owner of the local hotel has mysteriously walked out of the position in a manner that is no way a cheap plot device and has also left behind a vague note implying that our hapless heroine was to take over management of the hotel.
Immediately after putting down the note, Exx notices that Jebidiah has entered the lobby, and is still shirtless. Jeb is quick to point out to the concierge that the mountainous piles of dust scattered around the lobby probably aren’t the best for business. Always the epitome of logic and competence, the concierge responds that there is no need to clean the hotel because it never gets any guests anyway. The reason behind this is constantly becomes more and more clear.
In exchange for repairing our car, Jeb asks us to pick up the hoover not ten feet away from the concierge and vacuum the hotel lobby for him. Despite being the sole employee of the hotel, the concierge, once again, does fuck all to help.
Using the hoover from the inventory screen triggers a minigame. Navigate around the world on the top screen, running over dust piles with the vacuum, and keep your eyes on the bottom screen in case anything valuable ends up in the vacuum’s bag. If something shiny looking does end up in there, tap it to earn money. The game progresses in real time so the longer you don’t play the more dust piles spawn.
There’s no time to savor the excitement of janitorial work because immediately after Exx finishes up with the last dust pile, the hotel lobby gains a new visitor.
We’re introduced now to a new character, Mayor Honest Jackson, who seems to be both drunk and somewhat okay with the idea of holding the previous hotel owner in the town against his will.
‘Again’? You’re saying the mayor of this town goes on rampages and conspires to kidnap people regularly?
Mrs. Hogg, another new character who entered the lobby shortly after Jackson did, demands that someone restrain the rampaging politician before he hurts himself. Hogg looks kind of old and the concierge sure ain’t gonna do shit so once again the duty falls upon the player.
This introduces us to yet another mini-game. Calm Jackson down by tapping the icons on the bottom screen when the corresponding animation plays on the top screen. A variation of this mini-game is played whenever you have to socialize with other characters. Failing the mini-game costs sanity, succeeding in it builds relationships with the NPC you’re socializing with, et cetera.
Once you talk Jackson down he thanks you before telling you that the hotel closing really would destroy what little economy the town has because the hotel is literally the only thing in Strangetown that actually makes money. Before Exx can introduce Honest Jackson to the idea that maybe a town with no residents that produces nothing shouldn’t exist, Momma Hogg suggests building a casino.
Once again the duty of finding the guy who can build such a thing falls on the player, despite them being the only person in the room who doesn’t actually know this man, Tristan Legend.
But before we can get started building a brand new casino for a town of insane people who we neither know nor care about, Jackson has something to show us.
We pray that it’s not his Honest Johnson.
Johnson shows us to the hotel’s manager’s suite, which is going to be our home for the rest of the game. We can decorate it however we like but right now it’s a bit bland. There’s a panel on a wall in which you can check your own stats and that of the hotel.
At this point I’d like to mention that at no point so far has it been outright stated that the player is the new manager of the Strangetown hotel.
Anyway, a quick shower gets back the sanity that we lost in the freezer and then we’re ready to go find Tristan Legend, who, according to our mission log is in the middle of the desert.
The Man, The Legend
Before we leave town to go searching for this handyman, how about a nice milkshake?
This puts a vanilla milkshake in our inventory, which I guess is good a have on hand because eating or drinking refills sanity. But really I just wanted to show this off.
The desert is in the same direction from which we came in the opening cutscene. Like the freezer, just being in the desert drains sanity. We don’t have to worry about that too much though, because it turns out that Tristan is right in front of the entrance anyway.
It turns out that he’s too busy moping about his dead wife or whatever to help us build our casino, so we have to cheer him by playing the same mini-game we played to calm down the mayor a few minutes ago.
After a good session of hugging it out, Tristan is ready to build us our casino. That is, after we get him a building permit from city hall.
So back into town we go.
This is a Life Simulation Game
One quick visit to city hall (and §1,500) later, we have the building permit for the casino. When we get back to the hotel to tell Tristan that he can go ahead with the build, he’s already standing in the doorway to the atrium ready to tell us that he’s been ahead of the game and that our brand new Snake Eyes Casino is already constructed.
The new place is pretty swanky. Momma Hogg sure is gonna be happ- What the fuck? Suddenly the whole place starts shaking.
Exx and Tristan book it back to the lobby to find out what’s going on. Was it some kind of earthquake? Was the Indian burial ground this entire town was build over finally collapsing in on itself and taking the hotel with it? Is the government pissed about the whole building without a permit thing and planning to take back the casino by force? Or-