MArch BSc


Permaville – The Sims as Suburban Incubator, Y4. Tutors: Luke Pearson and Sandra Youkhana. In order to understand the underlying principles of American suburbia, I revert to the most successful computer game of all times, The Sims. The immense distribution of the game dignifies the game‘s simplification of life into a set of parameters, rules and algorithms, that seem to be culturally valid and accepted in its illustration of suburban life. By playing against the rules, the algorithm of the game is turned into a suburban incubator, capable of evaluating the best strategy of suburban survival: I created six Sims and let them live in a commune, and I bought them a woodworking table, so they could carve and sell gnomes at home: creating more happiness and household income than by being mayors or generals at the top of their career ladders, my Sims could soon share luxurious amenities; they were not stressed, because they could not be fired if they showed up late at work, and could afford to take days off in a row without getting drowned in bills; the 15-year-old suburban logic of the Sims was hacked.