The Sims 2: University

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The Sims 2: University
The Sims 2: University game box

Developer(s) Maxis[1][2]
Publisher(s) EA Games (PC)
Aspyr (Mac)
Designer(s) Charles London, Hunter Howe
Series The Sims
Engine Custom
Platform(s) Windows
OS X
Release date(s) Windows
  • March 11, 2005
Genre(s) Life simulation game
Mode(s) Single-player

The Sims 2: University is the first expansion pack for the strategic life simulation computer game The Sims 2 developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. It was released on March 1, 2005 to mixed reception. The expansion pack adds a new aging period to Sims which is Young Adult. Once they reach this life period, they can go to University to earn a degree, allowing them to take up any one of four graduate-exclusive careers. The expansion added several key gameplay elements which have been included in all expansions succeeding it. The Sims 2: University has won two Editor's Choice awards from syndicated game review publications.

Background and development[edit]

In 2004, Electronic Arts announced that it was planning on releasing a new expansion pack in March 2005. Sinjin Bain, executive producer and Maxis vice president said "We are thrilled to open up a whole new stage of life for the Sims, allowing players to lead them through all the challenges of college and living the exciting university lifestyle of the dorms, parties and exams." "This title is also the first in a line of expansion packs that will address our players desires, further develop The Sims 2 franchise and continually expand the world of the Sims creating almost endless gameplay and storytelling possibilities," he added.[3]

The Sims 2 University was first announced in mid-November. A University-themed expansion pack was discussed for The Sims but the technology didn't support it.[4] An interesting developmental problem occurred with rendering the dormitories. Maxis wanted to give the feel of a crowded dormitory without having a large amount of sims on the screen at a time. To solve this problem, a system was set up whereby NPCs disappear upon entering a private room. This meant that the engine didn't have to render the students.[5] Various artists recorded songs in Simlish for this expansion pack for the new College Rock radio station accessible in game. These songs and artists are:

The jazz musicians performing on some tracks are:

Gameplay[edit]

University adds a simple instrument system, composed of the new Guitar, Drum kit and Bass objects. Multiple Sims can play together. Sims can make money by playing at their homes or at community lots such as music clubs or coffee shops. The Sims can play three different types of musical styles with these instruments and once a Sim begins playing one of the styles, the others who pick up instruments to play join into the same style. Although Sims cannot have actual vocalists, the new action "Freestyle" or "Freestyle For Tips" will allow another Sim to rap along (in Simlish) to the instruments being played or a cappella to have fun and annoy or entertain other Sims nearby. Students also have a variety of new objects centered around college life, including a fruit juice keg, togas, ramen noodles, and a bubble blowing machine.

University also adds the Young Adult life stage between Teen and Adult. Only Sims at college become Young Adults, and any Sims who do not attend college make the transition directly to adults. The new college towns are linked to a specific neighborhood and preserve the same separation home neighborhoods do. University comes with three pre-packaged college towns: Sim State University, La Fiesta Tech, and Académie Le Tour. In the towns are three further types of residential: dorms, private housing, and Greek Houses, although there are no Greek Houses in Académie Le Tour. In communal dorms, NPC Sims fill in the house vacancies. Custom dorms cannot be built without the use of cheat codes. A Sim with enough scholarship money may start out in a private house. Greek Houses function the same as a dormitory, but have increased Relationship and Motive benefits. The premade neighborhoods generally include recreation centers, libraries, and other student centers.

College education[edit]

The biggest aspect of The Sims 2: University is the college system, which introduces classes, majors, and rewards. Students have the choice of eleven different majors. These majors require the advancement of specific skills in order to get the highest possible grades. The majors available are: Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Political science, Psychology, Art, Biology, Drama, Economics, History, and Literature.

Sims must complete four years of university to graduate. If a Sim fails a semester, they are placed on academic probation and must repeat the semester. If the Sim fails the semester on academic probation, they are expelled, no matter what stage of being a Young Adult they were at, they will become an Adult. During class hours, Sims simply walk off the housing lot and return when the class is over, but just going to class is not enough to graduate, as it provides minimal education. Advancement through semesters is done through skill building to open up education gates, completion of a Term Paper, completing assignments and researching.

Good grades are rewarded by college through grants or a spot on the Dean's List. In addition, Sims are also enhanced upon completion of a school year, being rewarded with additional Want slots and the opportunity to change Aspiration. A Sim can also graduate with Honors, which accelerates his or her career in Adulthood. By completing college, four new careers, Artist, Natural Science, Show Business, and Paranormal, are opened to Sims.

After graduation day, your Sims turn from "young adults" to "adults". For Sims who've successfully graduated from their University, their age panel will show the young adult age with a diploma. Sims who've dropped out of college have an "X" through their young adult age. You can have graduation parties, invite your friends and family to come watch you go from the stage of young adult to adulthood, the long awaited age for most Sims.

Student finance[edit]

Each student starts off with a budget separate from any family they may have come from. In University, students can spend their money on luxury objects in their living spaces, excess clothing, electronic gadgets or even on renting a private residence that can be a private home or can be converted into a Greek House.

There are several ways to receive income as a student, including tutoring and physically training other Sims. Students may also play instruments or freestyle for tips or work part-time as cafeteria workers and baristas. Before they go to college, Sims may apply for scholarships which depend on factors such as their skill points, grade level and home experience. There are also scholarships for teens who have lost both parents and teens who were abducted by aliens.

Secret societies[edit]

Some NPC students are members of a secret society. These NPC characters are made known by their attire, which consists of the llama jacket and accompanying hat. A Sim who befriends three members gets abducted to the secret society headquarters, which contains luxury furnishing and exclusive reward objects such as counterfeit Simoleons and a machine which allows the player to restructure his or her Sim's facial features. Also, when a Sim is inducted into a Secret Society, the "Hack Grades" interaction is made available on all computers for that Sim, which allows them to increase their grade level with minimal effort. However, according to a Sim's logic skill, there is a chance that school IT&S security will be tripped resulting in a visit from law enforcement, confiscation of the computer, a hefty fine and forfeiture of all grade points gained while hacking.

Influence and wants[edit]

University includes the Influence system. By achieving specific goals, Sims gain a number of Influence points, which may be spent on directing other Sims to do certain things. Sims now have a Lifetime Want which puts the Sim in Platinum mood for the rest of their lives if achieved. Over the course of a Sim's college years, towards the end of their education, the player is given the chance to change their Aspiration.

Social interactions[edit]

There are new social interactions in The Sims 2: University, including pranks, instruments, and pillow fights. University adds several categories of interactions, including "Influence To..." and "Hang Out". Sims can comprise study groups, providing social interaction while boosting grades. A common interaction between University Sims is "Kicky Bag", a hacky sack knock-off in which multiple Sims try to keep aloft a small bag filled with beans by kicking it to each other.

New NPCs[edit]

University has new NPCs in the form of cheerleaders, mascots, cafeteria workers, coaches, professors, and students. Cheerleaders and the Nice Mascot, usually a llama, will generally repeatedly perform the School Cheer for the player's Sim, can enter homes at random without invitation through their lifetime. The 'Evil' Mascot usually takes the form of a cow and will be constantly pranking and provoking the player and his/her classmates. The NPCs can become playable characters under certain circumstances (e.g. a cheerleader or mascot is invited to join a Greek House). Also they can be geeks.

Zombies[edit]

A Zombie Sim

University introduced Zombies, a new type of Sim. Zombies can result from the use of a Resurrect-O-Nomitron (a career reward for the paranormal career track) or through the use of cheat codes. When using a Resurrect-O-Nomitron, the player pays the Grim Reaper to bring back a deceased Sim. Depending on the amount of money that the player offers the Grim Reaper, the Sim may be resurrected perfectly, with less skill/personality points, as a zombie, or not at all. Zombies have gray skin, shamble when walking, and dislike whoever brought them back from the grave. Zombies also lose some of the skill and personality points they had when they were humans. They also tend to eat the garbage from the trash can on the lot. Depending on the amount the player pays, the zombie may range from no personality points to a complete reversal of their past personality.

Man-eating plants and other new career rewards[edit]

In addition to career rewards such as the Resurrect O-Nomitron mentioned above, Sims can earn a man-eating plant called a "Cowplant" as a career reward! This plant, after consuming an unsuspecting victim, can be milked by a Sim and produces the Elixir of Life which makes the Sim younger or older when consumed. Career rewards are only achieved once a certain level is reached in that job. Once a Sim has got a career reward he or she can use his or her reward to achieve platinum moods and good needs. Under the career rewards tab, college graduates have a diploma that can be displayed on the wall like a painting. These inventory items can be passed on to teen Sims going to college. A "veritable fountain of life" can be made by using the Resurrect-o-Nomitron and Cowplant in conjunction.

References[edit]

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