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When the game 'The Sims' was released for PC all those years ago, soon after came the release of expansion packs. There are now lots and lots to choose from and this was the first one released.
The idea of the expansion packs is that they update your original Sims game with new features.
This game is for over 16's, it's up to parents if they would allow children younger than this to play the game. The only thing that I can see in the game that would justify this rating is the romance aspect which I'll explain a bit more in a while.
There are different editions of this game, it is available for Windows 95 / 98 / 2000. My copy says Windows 98 or 2000 but it also works on Vista. I haven't tried it on other operating systems.
To install the game only takes a few minutes and you only need to insert your expansion disc and not the original Sims game.
Outside Europe the game is called Livin' Large but it's the same thing just in case you see this version for sale online.
There are 4 new neighbourhoods which you can build up to 50 houses on. When you build these houses there is new and funky or spooky decor (including skeleton and vegas themes) and architecture available on this disc.
When you've built your new houses with new themes you can then get a brand new robot which acts as a maid and does all the housework for you which is good and leaves you more time to concentrate on......
Five new career paths including a journalist, musician and paranormal investigator, each path has plenty of different jobs so the expansion gives you over 50 new jobs in total. This means you will need to upgrade your skills, find and apply for the job and then send your Sim to work with it's needs fulfilled to excel in their career and gain promotions. This is one of the goals I enjoy doing in the game.
New characters can visit your houses and neighbourhoods including some welcome ones (Santa and Servo the robot) and some unwelcome ones (Grim Reaper).
There are lots of new items including the following: A magic lamp (with genie which grants you wishes such as skill points), a crystal ball, chemistry set (to make and drink potions that each have different effects), an easel for paintings, a wood bench ( to make and sell gnomes) and finally..........
The Love Bed - This is a heart shaped bed which your Sim can sleep in. Or if you want you can get your Sim to go in the bed and vibrate. When they get in the bed the bed will blur and you can get another Sim to join them by sending them to also vibrate in the bed. The Sims will then "woohoo" and sometimes may even create a baby. The two sims in question must, of course, be in love with each other.
Thankfully you can't see any of the "woohoo"-ing or baby making take place as the whole area is blurred, so I don't think this is a reason not to let younger players play the game. To be honest they probably wouldn't have any interest in the love bed but would be more interested in the monsters, aliens and the normal aspects of the game!
There are over 100 objects in total but I have had this for so long and played it so much that I can't remember which of the rest were there originally and which came with the expansion!
There are lots more features including aliens, monsters, a clown and even a clone of your Sim which provide lots of fun and I think this expansion pack is a really good one.
I think this is a good expansion pack, the new career paths and neighbourhoods offer a few more challenges and more hours of entertainment in a game which I had pretty much finished and wanted some new challenges.
I enjoyed playing the new parts that the expansion pack offered but I did find that when I bought this years ago it was a bit expensive. The same applies for a lot of the other expansion packs, some costing as much as the original game. This expansion pack is only £1.95 on Amazon including delivery which is really good value. This one definitely worth buying at this price to add a bit more interest to your Sims game! Some of the others offer very little to the game, with only a couple of new outfits and objects but this one is a really good one and definitely worth getting!
The Sims livin' it up is the first of several expansion packs released for the Sims game. It was released in 2000 and it provides new NPCs (non-playable characters), new items for you to decorate with and also the option to create more than one neighborhood. Although Livin' it up doesn't dramatically change the game play of the original Sims or introduce any big features unlike the later expansions, there is still plenty to make it a worthwhile addition to your Sims collection...
- The new NPCs -
The game adds several new NPCs. When one of your Sims meets an untimely end the Grim Reaper now visits to take him/her off to the afterlife. A loved one of the recently deceased can plead with the Grim Reaper for the return of their dearly beloved, although not always successfully, but hey who doesn't want the odd zombie Sim scattered about their town. The Reaper can also appear if you place more than 4 Jack-o-lanterns outside one of your houses and will ring the doorbell as if he's trick or treating. Another of the new NPCs also has a holidays theme, in livin' large you can now decorate for Christmas with the Christmas tree and plate of cookies. Then if all your Sims are in bed by 10, a certain jolly bearded fellow might come beaming in to munch on the cookies you've left next to the Christmas tree and leave some pressies under the tree.. If your like me and try and live out your Sims lives as realistically as possible then the ability to create Halloween and Christmas is great and definitely a nice little addition to the game. The next NPC is the Genie, who lives in another of the new items, the magic lamp. When rubbed the Genie will float out to grant your Sim a wish, be warned though the Genies magic is pretty temperamental and the consequences are sometimes disastrous. All the NPCs except the Grim Reaper are object linked, non more so that Servo the robot. At great expense your Sims can purchase servo to take care of things about the home, Servo is a maid, gardener and butler all in one. The last NPC is Sunny- the tragic clown, this character irritates me to no end, he spawns from a painting when your Sim's mood dips too low and will interrupt your Sim and wake it up until it's mood has normalized. It's a well made character don't get me wrong, I just find it unbelievably annoying, but then I'm not a huge fan of clowns anyway.
- New items-
As in all expansion packs for the Sims, there are of course several new items in livin' large with which to furnish your Sims houses. The most significant of these being the 'Vibromatic Heart Bed' which gives Sims a chance to get intimate and gives players a more reliable way to try for Sim babies. Other new items include a crystal ball that allows you to change your Sims personality by correctly answering a riddle and the concoction station that allows Sims to build logic skill by making potions, it can sometimes have some unexpected side affects.
I must say, when I purchased this expansion, it did take me a while to find many of the new items in the buy mode catalog and I was a little disappointed as I thought there were so few, but added to the new NPCs and new careers there definitely inst a lack of content, it seems there's just a little of everything rather than a lot of one specific aspect of the game.
- Other new bits and bobs-
Livin' large gives you more Sim skins, lots of new clothing options and several interesting new career choices for your Sims, including the option to become a musician or a journalist. The new careers however add very little to the game as you still can't follow your Sims to work and see what they get up to, but at least you'll have some new funny career descriptions to read!
Another nice little addition to the game is the new build mode objects, not only can you re-design all of your old Sims houses with the brand new wall papers and flooring, you can also now theme your builds with new retro, sci-fi and medieval themed objects for both buy and build mode. Something I really enjoyed, it was really fun to make goth Sims in a medieval style castle or futuristic Sims in a sci-fi house with a robot maid.
- My views overall -
If you like the Sims then this expansion is definitely a good buy. I have loved playing this game and still have it on my external hard-drive so I can play it when I feel in the mood for something a bit more easy going than the Sims 2 or 3.
The game is quite old now so would probably be quite hard to get hold of although it's always possible to source old games online especially through Amazon or E-bay. I have also seen the Sims ultimate collection online for as little as £10 with postage and that contains not only this expansion but all expansions ever released for the Sims.