Following up on my previous post, The New York Times Magazine is running a story on the Sims Online by David Brooks. Although Brooks is of a conservative bent--his comments on the economic preoccupations of the Sims games reflects this--he is an original thinker and does a decent job of describing the Sims and the culture that surrounds it. Certainly, he has many more interesting and astute things to say about the game than the folks over at Newsweek, who put the Sims Online on this week's cover (In Sequence looks askance at supposed newsmagazines that find a product launch more important than an impending war.) In particular, Brooks keys in on the stories produced by the Sims games, which he describes as "a superstructure for fantasy":
But the other and more positive sensation you get in Sims world is that some mass creative process is going on, like the writing of a joint novel with millions of collaborative and competitive authors. We generally don't think that John Updike or Saul Bellow or Cynthia Ozick are pathetic because they escape from reality into richly populated fantasy worlds. We regard that process of creativity as something that enriches a life and yields deeper understandings about the real world. And the Sims players are doing something like that at their keyboards.