Living another life? Identity formation in The Sims and its effects on the player's non-virtual life and personality
As The Sims is a very popular computer game it is not surprising that there has been a lot of research and studies on it. Still, most of the research focuses on aspects concerning gender construction, women and gaming and the domestic space.
This paper will add to this existing discourse by researching the formation of ludic identity within the game and trying to point out to what extent and in which way this may affect the player’s identity and perception of the real life. After introducing the current state of research concerning The Sims, the theory of the ludic identity by Jos de Mul will be explained with the help of his article The Game of Life: Narrative and Ludic Identity Formation in Computer Games (2005). In this context it will be pointed out why an approach using de Mul’s theory of the ludic identity can be seen as an intervention that adds to the already existing discourse. Finally, identity formation in The Sims will be studied making a textual analysis of The Sims 3 focusing on aspects such as the creation of a virtual life and identity construction. It turns out that the game is, due to its complexity and variety, so convincing that the player, to some extent, wants this virtual life to be true even though he knows that this is not possible.