There’s someone hammering at your door, but you’ve a dilemma: answer it, or prepare your favourite Sim to go downtown seeking love? Welcome to The Sims universe – as real relationships suffer, your Sims prosper.
With the Hot Date Expansion Pack, thrill-seeking Sims can eat out, drink, go clubbing, or shop for food, gifts and magazines. It also brings dozens of new objects to use when building Neighbourhood and downtown areas.
The pack ends some frustrations found playing the original title. For example, career advancement needed lots of friends – hard to find and keep in a small neighbourhood. But, downtown, Sims can meet and befriend non-players, as well as neighbourhood characters. With more Sims around, relationships are easier to make (and maintain).
There’s two criticisms – the Save system and memory requirements. Players must leave downtown to Save the game – which isn’t straightforward and causes problems. Hot Date’s memory requirements exacerbate this; as Expansion Packs are added to The Sims, memory requirements climb. This can cause unexpected crashes if a Mac isn’t correctly set-up. The developers advise that Virtual Memory is switched on, but warn it should be set to no more than twice the actual installed memory in OS 9. The developers say that setting Virtual Memory to exceed double the installed RAM can degrade system performance. The secret is the number of calculations a Mac has to make when in the Downtown area, as all the changing relationships and events that happen here are held in memory until a player returns to their Neighborhood area.
If you enjoy the gentle, loveable and frustrating world of The Sims, then Hot Date is essential. It adds so much entertainment to the original game that players won’t feel cheated. It does, however, reflect the two-year product life cycle of computing – slower-processor Macs with insufficient memory can suffer inexplicable crashes and one, slow, speed setting. Despite this, I’ve had a lot of fun since I installed Hot Date, and I’m still finding new objects, relationships and surprises. But I wish someone’d answer the @$&!*£$ door.