What's more exciting about a Sims game set in medieval times than the olde-fashioned opportunities that miserable era affords players for putting virtual human beings in uncomfortable positions?
I'm not being ghoulish. Many people play The Sims as virtual torturer or tormentor. They put Sims in door-less rooms and watch them go crazy. They link their Sims in matrimony and then ruin their marriages with a meddling maid. They starve them. They essentially twist the heads on their virtual dolls, then throw them in the microwave on high for 60 seconds.
The Sims Medieval, technically a March-scheduled PC game about creating and furthering a kingdom toward one of several grand ambitions - a game about completing quests, unlocking Sims characters, and improving buildings along the way - is probably going to be another virtual lab for virtual torment.
So here's the making-misery update I was able to get from one of the game's creators yesterday:
-Stocks? Those are the wooden Capital-T-shaped things people's heads and hands go in so they can stand, hunched, in embarrassment in the middle of town. They're in the game. You can put someone in there and have them pelted with tomatoes.
-Rack? That's the big bed people are put on, their arms and ankles tied to opposite ends. This one stretches you. Not in the game, I'm told (an opportunity for an expansion pack, I suggested, only realizing my pun as I type this here).
-Iron Maiden? The only answer I got was laughter. So probably not.
-Pit beast? Yes. It's like that Return of the Jedi monster except that sometimes, instead of eating the people thrown it it, it falls in love with them.
I'm told that the game has leeches, but they are applied to Sims flesh for medicinal purposes. You won't be able to make a Sim soil themselves, because there's no bathroom system in this game. Cross that torment option off the list.
There is, oddly, a cleanliness system. Go figure. Sims can get dirty - and apparently that's a negative thing. So much for medieval authenticity. I thought everyone was filthy back then. At least there's some medieval torture, mixed in with all that kingly ruling, singing, dancing, questing and all that other noble stuff.
Oh, and people can be poisoned. Fitting. Bring on the plague. Bring out your dead. The Sims Medieval will be out for Mac and PC on March 22.