Shacknews - Steve Watts
Are you looking for dinner plans? Do you have a weird penchant for keeping all aspects of your life relevant to your hobby? You are in luck! Our collective journey into the kitchen continues, with goopy carbonara from The Sims 3. Check out the recipe below, and try to ignore how unappetizing the word "goopy" is. That's The Sims' fault, not ours.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Have you grown attached to the few remaining Sims that you haven't drowned in a pool, you monster? You'll just have to keep playing The Sims 3 to continue watching their lives unfold, because The Sims 4 won't import them.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Updated with new details from Maxis.

After nearly two hundred expansion packs* for The Sims 3, Maxis is finally moving on to the next generation of The Sims. The predictably named The Sims 4 will be coming to PC and Mac in 2014, the company has announced.

(*Not true. Exaggeration.)

Here's the original announcement:

The Sims franchise is fueled by the passion and creativity of its millions of fans around the world. Their continued devotion to the franchise ignites the fire of creativity of the team at The Sims Studio, driving them to continually improve and innovate on one of the world's most successful simulation game that has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide.

There's no mention of "connected" or "always-on" or "social" in the announcement. We're certain that Maxis wants to avoid a repeat of SimCity's launch fiasco--but who knows what kind of design they'll take next for the next trap-people-in-bathrooms-and-watch-them-die simulator.

Update: The Sims 4 is an offline game. In an updated post, Maxis points out that The Sims 4 "celebrates the heart and soul of the Sims themselves, giving players a deeper connection with the most expressive, surprising and charming Sims ever in this single-player offline experience."

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

You may never become famous, and so ultimately live a worthless life, but at least your Sims will get to experience that brief and fleeting moment of happiness. Electronics Arts today announced the Showtime expansion pack for The Sims 3 on PC and Mac, which will let you pressgang Sims into a life before the crowds in March 2012.

As a singer, acrobat, magician, or DJ, your Sims can take to the stage, both in your towns and those of other players. New 'SimPort' social features will let you send Sims to perform in your chum's town, or send them on tour.

As one would expect from a Sims game, you can also customize your stage with props and special effects, building the venue of your Sim's dreams.

The social gubbins will also extend to an in-game social wall for tracking your Sim's progress, boasting of their successes, sending gifts and e-cards, and other such malarkey.

Pre-ordering gets you the 'Ultimate Stage' venue as a bonus, though EA generously presents this as a free upgrade to a 'Limited Edition.'

PC Gamer
The Sims 3
EA have launched a Sims 3 demo that will theoretically run in your browser. The demo was announced on the EA site, spotted over on Blue's News, and contains "elements from The Sims 3, The Sims 3 Late Night, The Sims 3 World Adventures."

EA's link doesn't seem to work, but we managed to launch the demo from the Gakai front page, the service providing the streaming tech behind the trial. The demo is time limited to 20 minutes. You'll be able to create a sim and lead them to their a gruesome death in an Egyptian pyramid, a haunted house and a vampire lair. Or you could keep them safe and watch them live long, happy fulfilled lives, but where's the fun in that?
Shacknews - Steve Watts

Are you sick of your Sims getting old and haggard? It's so much more fun to keep them young and spry to suffer in your elaborate domestic death traps! Today, EA announced the "Hidden Springs" downloadable content for The Sims 3, which promises to revitalize your Sims with a combination of health spa techniques and literal magic. Why, after the pack releases on August 25, your fit and trim Sim should be able to swim in his ladder-less pool for hours before succumbing to his grisly fate.

The Sims 3 'Hidden Springs' DLC

Attractions include several spas and magical attractions, along with the "Museum of Magic and Supernatural" -- no, we didn't make a mistake, that's the real name. Redwood Heights Luxury Lodge brings you all the pleasure of snooty get-togethers with the upper crust. Your Sims can also go to the Crystal Solarium Rejuvenating Waters and the Zephyr Health Spa to get young and healthy. Plus, you can make a trip to Fairyfolk Park, which will be awfully misleading if there are no fairies. The press release also hints at a "mystery" underneath Hidden Springs that explains the town's magical properties.

The Hidden Springs content will only be available through the Sims 3 store using SimPoints. That means that if you want to buy Sims 3 through Steam, you should probably grab it while you still can. Several other Sims packs are available through Steam currently, but history has shown that once EA puts up a piece of DLC that's available exclusively through its own storefront, the game gets pulled from Valve's store. Don't be surprised if The Sims 3 disappears on August 25.

PC Gamer

The Sims 3 is now on Steam, bringing interactive soap operas, dysfunctional families and suburban nudist colonies to your Steam account. The game's many expansion packs are also on Valve's digital download service, including World Adventures, which lets you take your sims treasure hunting in exotic and often booby-trapped locations, and Late Night, which lets you take your sims out on the town. There's also a bundle deal offering the Sims 3 and all five expansions for half price. I'm off to build my sims a glorious mansion, and then delete all the doors and watch the carnage unfold.
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