‘Sims’ become almost, but not quite, human

The Sims 3, which hit stores on Tuesday, allows players more control over the Sims characters and their environment than ever! No, you can't make them have graphic intercourse (at least, not without a hack). But as the ads make clear, you can play God in nearly every other conceivable way. "We really felt like the ability to create human beings, to give them a soul, if you will, was really exciting," says Electronic Arts executive producer Benjamin Bell, "so we wanted to come up with some ways that people could define the personalities of their character." The fully customizable characters now live in a town instead of a single household, and the game is attempting new methods of Web interactivity, including an option called SimFriend that connects you with Sim pen pals, and SimSidekick, in which a fan "chooses from six characters on the Web site, and an image of the character that is chosen floats on top of the browser as the fan moves around the Web." But again, no graphic intercourse. Stop trying.

—Posted by David Kiefaber