It took me a little while to build the Starlight Shores home for the next generation, but now it’s finally inhabitable I can start to to take a proper look at the Showtime expansion!
I was pretty underwhelmed by this pack when it was first released: it seemed to have so little content; I wasn’t interested in having my sims because famous performers all over again (they’d done that already with Late Night); and the online component, though it was optional and didn’t disrupt my gameplay, did worry me about the future direction of the series.
But for me Showtime has definitely improved with time. Genies have become one of my two favourite life states in the game (I have a soft spot for aliens too, in case you’re wondering!) As to the main content, the three new professions stand up quite well against the Ambitions ones, since they don’t require your perfectly kind and responsible sims to start stealing one another’s wallets (for example), but instead provide fun events for them to attend. I also love all the costumes, and I basically think that the performer animations – by turns graceful, memorizing, thrilling, and ridiculous – are among the best you’ll find in any Sims 3 expansion pack, outside of Pets. There are some fantastic new and returning objects, too, such as the mechanical bull, DJ booth, karaoke machine, dominoes, photo booth, golf range, table arcade games, and dance sphere.
Still, I want more. I want even more job options – comedy, modelling, voice coaching, personal training; I want the film career out of Late Night and put here where it belongs, in the town so obviously based on Hollywood (and to make room in Late Night for things like proper restaurants). I want bands to be able to perform with singers, and multiple acrobats to be able to perform stunts together. I want more luxury lifestyle objects and experiences, like jewelry shops, oxygen bars, and new spa equipment.
Instead, we got this. It continues to feel a bit flimsy to me, particularly in comparison to the expansion packs that precede and follow it, Pets and Supernatural, but the content that is there is undeniably nicely done, so over the years I’ve kind of reconciled myself to it, and now I’m looking forward to sharing my play-through with you.
One major feature that unfortunately I won’t be able to show off is simport, as I’ve heard some reports of CC hitching a ride with sims, and I’m just not willing to put me game at risk, or, worse, have some of my own CC end up with someone who doesn’t want it. So, we’re just going to have some vanilla, offline performances in my own town, with my acrobat Juliana Borges-Striker, my soon-to-be magician Janessa Holcomb-Shepherd, and her cousin Willard Singleton-Marks, who aspires to be a singer. For this generation, I’ve turned celebrities status back on to see whether it does anything, though I doubt I’ll be spending much time chasing after star power.
Juliana is related to Janessa and Willard but quite distantly and not in any way the game recognizes; she’s their third cousin, I think. Her traits are social butterfly, athletic, snob, brave, and light sleeper.
Janessa is a natural born performer, daredevil, perfectionist, and vegetarian. When she ages up, her final trait will be lucky. In the mean time, I’ve signed her up for a ‘junior explorers’ after school club that comes with the Nraas Careers: School mod.
Willard’s traits are diva, virtuoso, party animal, and slob, and I plan to make him ambitious too. For now he works part time at the theater as a cinema clerk, thanks to the same mod.
Juliana, Janessa, and Willard live with Willard’s parents, mad scientist Imani and leader of the free world Booker, and their three cats, Shadow, Boo, and Tia. I couldn’t have included any more of last generation’s couples in the household without giving up the chance to invite a genie to live with us. I chose Imani and Booker because their son is the youngest of the heirs, so probably needs the most looking after.
The family lives at 604 Vista Blvd in a mansion I built to replace the two-bedroom ‘Castle’ that stood there before.
The only beautiful vista lots in this town are the performance park and swimming pool, so I just chose this one because it was big and unoccupied, and has a (sort of) view of the sea and the ‘Hollywood’ sign.
I wanted to add a genie to the household before any more babies started arriving, so I used some of Imani’s spare lifetime happiness points to acquire an enchanted lamp. Since Janessa will grow up to be a magician, she seemed the right choice to clean the lamp and summon the genie.
The genie’s name is Mimi Cummings. Like all randomly generated genies, she has blue skin and striking pumpkin-coloured hair. I took her into CAS to de-pudding her and recolour her outfit. I also changed her skin tone to the blue shade of the rainbow one, as I think that makes for some more interesting genetics.
After chatting to Mimi for a little while, Janessa made her first wish – for more wishes! All this usually does is to give you a fresh wish to replace the one you just used up wishing for more wishes, but very occasionally it will add an extra one on top of that, so it is always worth trying if you don’t mind waiting until the next day to make your first proper wish. Unfortunately Mimi wasn’t fooled, and all Janessa got in this instance was the standard replacement wish.
That evening, the family through a party to welcome their friends from Bridgeport and Appaloosa Plains to the town.
Keshawn was there, making trouble as usual. I caught him in the middle of a fight with Imani.
I don’t know which of them was more to blame, but I had her apologize just to keep the peace.
Juliana told her mum Cassandra about her new job as an acrobat.
She also met one-star celebrity Kirk Alto-Sekemoto. Remember Nora, the musician from the Late Night generation? Well this is her grandson – hence the star, I guess. By impressing Kirk with talk about her branch of the family’s wealth, Juliana became an entry-level celebrity herself.
Janessa and Willard took some time away from the adults to play dominoes with her sister Lorinda and his cousin Crystal. Lorinda’s the brunette and Crystal’s the blonde.
The next morning, Juliana headed to the performance hone her acrobat skills and earn some tips. She performed the classic ‘trapped in a box’, ‘pulling a rope’, and ‘human statue’ mime routines…
…with only a few failures along the way.
The audience response was pretty mixed.
As soon as she got out of school, Janessa summoned Mimi for a second time, and wished for eternal happiness, giving her a permanent +25 moodlet. Also – wow! – I love these animations.
I got a sidetracked for the rest of the evening, just settling everyone into the house, upgrading this and that, and playing with the cats, but the next day I was ready to focus on Showtime content again, and just in time for a simfest to arrive! Imani had to work and Janessa and Willard were already at school, but I sent Juliana and Booker over to check it out. First up was a magician, who executed all her tricks perfectly, and completely won over the crowd. What a tough act to follow.
But Juliana herself wasn’t intimidated at all. She asked the proprietor if she could join in, and, when he said yes, Booker called up her parents to invite them to come and watch.
Cassandra was at work (she works with Imani; I should have remembered), but Maryann was free to head on over. She arrived with a surprise for her daughter.
There wasn’t too much time to coo over the baby bump, though, because Juliana was up next. I’m going to have to turn hideheadlineeffects back off next time so that I can see the audience requests, because she really didn’t do well. This guy in particular was very vocal about what a terrible time he was having.
Even Booker heckled her! And Maryann just looked embarrassed and ashamed. Sims can be so mean. Shouldn’t close friends and family with positive traits be fairly supportive no matter what?
It didn’t help that she kept dropping the knives she was trying to juggle, and at one point she even set herself on fire!
Still, there were some great moments during the performance, particularly when she used the ‘dazzle the audience’ option.
After Juliana had finished, a singer came on, but I guess she didn’t feel like she’d had a fair shot because she started trying to steal some of his limelight by performing for tips right in front of the stage.
Juliana didn’t win the simfest, but she manage to audition successfully for the proprietor, securing a gig for the next day.