Play Hard, Work Harder: A Gameplay Analysis of Goal- Oriented Narrative and Post-Narrative Play in The Sims 2 DS

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The adaptation of a computer game for use with other platforms can require a redesign of the game itself - it changes the game. The Sims 2 DS, created for the Nintendo DS handheld game platform, is a single-player, goal-oriented narrative game based on The Sims single player open-ended virtual world. The Sims 2 DS narrative, based on the player’s performance as a hotel manager, exacerbates the already present but less literal hegemonies of labour and consumption found in the standard Sims virtual world, where play is spent building a life and home in a suburban neighbourhood. We discuss narrativity in video games, and the residue of labour and consumption intrinsic to post-industrial play. Operating as researcher who is a participant-in-play, one author conducts a qualitative gameplay analysis of the narrative introduced in The Sims 2 DS. The conversion of The Sims original virtual world into a truncated goal-oriented narrative play structure invokes extant hegemonies of labour and consumption. We argue, however, that when the narrative is played out and the player is left to her/his virtual life in the postnarrative virtual world, these notions of labour and consumption are amplified into the more powerful hegemonies of overwork and over consumption. It may be ‘only a game, ' but The Sims 2 DS eerily parallels the erosion of work/life balance present in everyday American work culture and provides yet another cultural site supporting the hegemonic voice of overwork and over consumption-couched within entertainment and ‘play.' In the Sims 2 DS, the player is thrust into a job s/he cannot leave. Play hard, work harder - even when the story is over.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRiding the Hype Cycle
Subtitle of host publicationThe Resurgence of Virtual Worlds
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781848882348
ISBN (Print)9789004374058
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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