Greetings! Magnus the Magus returns to amaze and amuse you all! The Sims 3 Showtime expansion, not so much. Though it is not bad – just bare.
Showtime is the sixth expansion pack for The Sims 3, and came out in March this year. I recommend waiting until you get it for half price, because it has only half as much content as the earlier expansion packs.
The expansion has one unique feature, though. If you feel you need this, there is only one way to get it: The “Simport”. With this new feature, you can send your performer sim to a friend’s computer and have him perform at a stage there, then return home with unique awards and rewards. In fact, you can have a tour of four friends before returning home. I am sure this is cute if you have friends who also play The Sims 3 and are not afraid to admit it. It is pretty limited though, and it is not obvious why you or your friends would want to play a performer sim in the first place.
The name of the game, “Showtime”, is a pun on the ability to show off your sim, but also refers to the show business careers that come with the pack, all three and a half of them. Wait, wasn’t show business the point of that earlier expansion, Late Night? Yes, and the three new self-employed careers or “professions” could have been included in Late Night except they use the self-employment game mechanics from Ambitions. So the self-employment system is basically duplicated in this pack, but with far fewer careers than in Ambitions. Thus the “half content at full price” accusation, which seems quite exact to me.
That said, the new careers are definitely new and original. You can rise to stardom as an acrobat, a singer or a magician. (No points for guessing which one I picked for my self-sim!) You are free to perform for tips in parks and street corners, and this will give you valuable work experience. Singers can also deliver sing-o-grams, which is amusing but (once in a blue moon) can set your sim on fire fatally. Then again, the other two careers are not entirely safe either.
In all fairness, the careers are pretty good, with great flexibility, the ability to design your own scene layout with various affordable lights and effects, and a genuine sense of accomplishment when the high-society arenas start asking you instead of the other way around. The income at level 10 is definitely something to write home about, even a single performance a week can feed a large family in luxury. It is up to you whether you want to control your sim on the scene or let them do what they want, but as usual they are not the brightest candles on the candelabra so you can generally maximize their career by giving a helping hand.
Still – 3 careers plus the ability to moonlight as a DJ? Not a full expansion pack. There are no new across-the-board gameplay improvements either, except the ability to post to your sim wall (like Facebook wall) if you are logged in. I don’t log in, as I don’t use The Sims 3 as a Facebook replacement, and I doubt many outside EA’s test lab do. Anyway, this dubious ability is added to your game for free regardless of whether you buy the expansion, if you run the game updater after March this year.
There is one more thing, though: The genie. The Dusty Old Lamp from Sims 2: Freetime is back, and this time the genie can be socialized with and supposedly even married. So the game expansion at least upholds the tradition of adding one more “supernatural” sim type in each expansion. If you have a thing for genies (perhaps as the result of a certain old TV series) this may tip the scales.
Overall though, I get the impression that EA’s creative team died or retired barely halfway through the production of this expansion, and the bosses decided to honor their memory by publishing the expansion with only the three finished and one unfinished career.