'The Sims' Becomes An Outlet For Would-Be Protesters Who Cannot Attend Protests
from the march-on-simcity dept
As the country continues to witness massive protests throughout the states, focused on changing the way policing is done in the country, it’s useful to remember that not everyone can protest in the streets. Even for those who would love to carry the message that police violence against minorities, or really anyone, is massively out of control, there are factors that might keep them home. Such as a global pandemic that has been addressed by the federal government like a little league shortstop kicking a ball around without being able to pick it up. See, there are a great many people in this country that are either at higher risk for devastating effects from COVID-19, or who are immunocompromised. Where do they go in 2020 to protest these problems?
Well, thanks to the outlet that is gaming in the era of COVID-19, they go protest in The Sims, of course.
With this in mind, Sims modder and streamer Danielle “EbonixSims” Udogaranya kicked off an in-game Black Lives Matter rally last weekend. Days later, it’s still going. For this rally, she encouraged players to give their favorite Sims Black Lives Matter signs and accessories, some of which she created in 2016, and either photograph or video them protesting police violence against Black people by gathering together, holding signs, and generally behaving as they would at a real-life protest. She spread the word across Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, where players have pooled their protests using the #BLMSimsRally hashtag.
And why the hell shouldn’t The Sims be used in this way? If EA’s game is supposed to be an escape of real life by living a virtual one, it seems only fitting that this simulacrum should carry over into activism as well. And Udogaranya did this specifically with those who cannot attend protests due to the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, along with those who may not be able to attend due to being disabled, or for other reasons.
Players who participated appreciated this tremendously.
“This my life, what is happening in the world,” Sims streamer Luna Marie told Kotaku in an email. “With covid going on, my immune system is a little weaker, so going out is iffy for me. When I saw this, I thought this was perfect to take something I stand for and what I love and do both.”
Marie’s experience was unique in that The Sims’ systems coalesced around her stream. Her Black Lives Matter rally triggered other Sims to hold a city protest, a game feature in which Sims wave signs and stage their own spontaneous rally. They held this one in the name of equality.
And just like the IRL protests, protests in The Sims is being attended by people from all over the world.
Video games get a fair amount of shit in our society, but it’s important to remember that they are an outlet. An outlet for entertainment, for stress relief, for aggression, and even for social movements. All the more so, in fact, as games become more about the interconnected community playing them than about what occurs in the mechanics of the game itself.