The recent SimCity is by far not the only botched product that EA's launched with the Sims name on it. The truth is that The Sims Online had a great potential and franchise behind it, but it let the ball drop, big-time. It was already visually obsolete by the time it launched, and that was the least of its worries.
Yet this fizzled MMO-slash-chat room had some pretty solid music backing it up. I've always been partial to the Sims series when it comes to OSTs because sometimes I just want to relax to happy, effervescent tunes. Series composer Jerry Martin produced the score to TSO in the same vein as his other projects, and it's still a delight to hear.
Unfortunately, the only way you can get a copy of the soundtrack today is to find a seller who's got an otherwise-useless copy of The Sims Online: Charter Edition lying around. Otherwise, it might just be easier to forge on in this column and get a taste of the Sims soundscape!
1. Select a Sim
It's hard to recall any other songs that have a catchy cowbell rocking out, but that's the Sims music for you: odd instruments, quirky beats, and infectious attitudes. This is as close to the theme of the game that I could find, and it's actually really fun.
You can easily pick out the guitar that's often heard in Sims scores, but there's so much more going on here. It's rather fast-paced for a character creation theme. Perhaps it would be more at home in an endless running game on a mobile device or something.
2. World Map 1
If it's not the guitar in a Sims soundtrack, then it's got to be the piano. World Map 1 sounds exactly like the music I remember from the original The Sims: a pleasant if somewhat forgettable tune to make you at home while you make a home.
It's not a perfect track, however. I think it gets a little old about two minutes in as it keeps repeating the same melody over and over again.
3. World Map 2
Here's my favorite of all of the TSO tracks I've heard. World Map 2 begins with a solo violin that's gradually joined by other instruments that add their own layers. The tune takes shape as all of the layers come in, building upon a simple melody until it's grown into a powerful little piece. I'm a sucker for scores that do this, maybe because they're slow enough that I can identify all of the instruments as they come in.
4. World Map 3
Rounding out our world map trilogy is number three. It sort of follows the "gradual layers" approach of World Map 2, although it sounds a little more electronic and... well, '80s to my ears. It's like something you'd hear during an '80s comedy caper.
Yes, I got to use the word "caper" today. I win at Massively staff Boggle.
5. Robo Factory
If I could get a shirt to play this music while I strut through a local mall, I'd be the center of a constant dance-a-thon, I think. It's a catchy little beat that throws in some alien weirdness and industrial noises. I would say that it'd make any laborious activity 20% more tolerable if this were playing all the while.
According to trusted sources (YouTube commenters), this track was repurposed for SimCity. Is that true? I sure hope so.
That's all I could scrounge up on this strange game and stranger soundtrack! Do you remember The Sims Online and its music? I'm sure it's come up in conversations a lot.
MMOs aren't just about looks; they also have great soundtracks that often go unnoticed. Heroes don't stand for that! Every Tuesday, Jukebox Heroes will check out a game's soundtrack and feature the best tunes to share and discuss. Your DJ for the hour is Justin Olivetti, and the request line is open!