The Sims 2 on PC is a relatively peaceful game. As a life simulator, you have no real goals or demands on your time. You can simply wile away hours on your chosen career, romance your mysterious next door neighbour or even open your own business. But if you’re looking for something more, you can journey elsewhere and try the handheld adaptations of the same game.
While you won’t get the same sense of peace and tranquillity, you will be able to meet an ancient cow god and worship at her unholy altar. If that’s what you’re into.
The Sims 2 is the largest Sims game to date, largely because the booming popularity of the original game led to widespread mainstream adoption of the franchise. With more attention on the franchise and a bigger budget, the goal of the sequel was to expand in a big way. Rather than sticking to PC, this meant The Sims 2 found its way to Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2 and even the Nokia N-Gage. Any console you can think of likely has a Sims 2 adaptation.
While some of these adaptations stuck to the classic Sims formula, the handheld games on Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable went in completely the opposite direction.
Imagine a trailer hitched to a van. The van hits a rock and the trailer dislodges, falling off the edge of a cliff. The trailer is the handheld Sims 2 games. The cliff is the last remnants of sanity.
Let’s start with the the basics.
The Sims 2 on Game Boy Advance is about a Sim who infiltrates Strangetown to take the lead role in a town-spanning television series — only the townsfolk don’t know they’re in a TV show. Think The Truman Show written by David Lynch. In one episode, you’re shrunk to the size of a bug by an off-brand soda pitted against the ladybug hordes. In another, an alien called Burple takes up residence in your toilet. Tank Grunt is abducted and replaced by an alien in another episode and nobody ever mentions it again. This is not the weirdest game on the list.
It’s The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS is where the games really start getting interesting. Here, you play as a Sim who inherits a Strangetown hotel from a mysterious uncle. The weirdest part is it only happens after your car breaks down near the town line — and you’re not really sure you have an uncle, anyway.
The first thing you encounter when you enter your new Strangetown abode is Emperor Xizzle, an alien conqueror intent on claiming the land for his alien army. After you vanquish him, a new guest comes to stay at the hotel. Her name is Ava Cadavra, and she’d really like if you could clear out the hotel’s basement to create a shrine for some “group healing”.
Of course, this shrine is simply a cover for the worship of Beezlebeef (otherwise known as the Prime Heifer), a prominent god in the Sims’ theology. Beezlebeef is a malevolent cow quietly pulling the strings in Strangetown. As a bovine deity, she demands sacrifices and souls in her name. Ava cajoles the entire town into falling under Beezlebeef’s spell and it’s up to players to break her hold on the hearts and minds of the populance.
Beezlebeef only takes the form of a statue in the The Sims 2 for Nintendo DS, but her uncompromising influence is also felt in The Sims 2 on PSP, where she plays a much more terrifying role.
The Sims 2 on PlayStation Portable also takes place in Strangetown but here, players take on the role of a new Sim just trying fit in. It is hard to fit when your neighbour’s wife is a robot, though. Or when your local bartender happens to be a feral werepug. Or, y’know, when zombies start clawing their way out of the earth.
It’s even worse when your local town hall is taken over for a mysterious convention where everyone’s suddenly dressing in novelty cow costumes and gowns.
You have no choice but to fit in, so you soon find yourself embroiled in the Kine Society and taking part in a ritual to summon the bestial form of Beezlebeef from her long exile. You also hear the sacred words in your spiritual journey:
The great cow Beelzebeef slumbers beneath the surface of the earth.
When Beelzebeef rises again, she will awaken the Elder Herd.
The Elder Herd will trample all those who stray from the teachings of the Kine.
Once the earth is cleansed, there will be a new era of peace and delicious grass.
While Beezlebeef’s ritual is rudely interrupted by the mad scientists Dr. Dominion, her influence on the game (and on Strangetown) remains.
All of these games are technically canon to the main Sims franchise. Strangetown is one of the locales available to Sims 2 players. There’s even crossover characters — Tank Grant, one of the townie residents of The Sims 2 on PC, is a prominent character in all three portable Sims games. His adventures range from battling aliens to being bewitched by a magic perfume. While he appears as a child in The Sims 2 on PC, he’s an adult in the handheld games suggesting they’re all direct sequels to the original Sims 2 PC game.
It also suggests that while you were living your life peacefully in the The Sims 2, a living sect of cow worshippers were growing in secret in a nearby neighbourhood. While Beezlebeef didn’t arise to power until the end of the The Sims 2 timeline, it’s unsettling to think she could’ve been there all along, just waiting for her moment of power.
The next time you pop into The Sims 2, watch your back. The cow cult is waiting for you.