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Student makes splash on MTV's 'Sims Life'

Nov. 29, 2005

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Robyn Kenagy/Lariat staff
San Antonio freshman Daryle Darby made her MTV debut last week on a video game special called The Sims Life. Darby began playing the game in eighth grade and now she said she plays it about two hours each day.
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by SCARLETT STEAKLEY,
reporter

San Antonio freshman Daryle Darby made her MTV debut last week on a video game special called The Sims Life.

The Sims is a video game that simulates real life by allowing the player to control a character's life socially, physically and economically.

Darby was cast on the show after submitting several music videos she created through The Sims video game.

"I created my movies on a Web site (www.sim-movies.com)," Darby said. "MTV sent me an e-mail to submit my movies, and I sent them a letter about The Sims. I was pretty excited about."

Darby said MTV called her Oct. 7 to tell her she was chosen for the show. The MTV camera crew arrived at Baylor a month later and spent a day filming her on campus.

Darby began playing The Sims in eighth grade when her mom bought the game to teach her the principles of money.

"Basically it's a game about living life," said Darby, who plays the game about two hours a day.

The show focused on four Sims players, each labeled according to playing style.

"They classified me a deviant," Darby said. "Others were classified different things, like a storyteller." Darby said a deviant in The Sims virtual world means the player chooses to sabotage scenarios and relationships created during the game. Storytellers focus on the characters' stories and relationships.

Katie Dunlap, a Houston senior, watched the MTV show when it aired last week.

"I don't play games or anything, so my initial reaction was that it was a little crazy," Dunlap said. "It made me wonder if it (deviant behavior) reflected inner wishes or was just a way for people to escape."

Dr. Corey Carbonara, a communication studies professor, teaches a telecommunications course that focuses on electronic media technology and video games.

"The Sims simulates the real world ... so that it represents how you might act in the real world," Carbonara said.

Carbonara said The Sims is one of the most popular online games because it builds more than the physical properties of communities.

"Some marriages have even developed with The Sims because it builds relationships in the virtual world and has corresponded in building real relationships in a dynamic complex," he said.

Baylor students that enjoy The Sims play for their own reasons and with their own styles.

"It does create an escape from everyday life, where things are how I want them to be; you can always have a happy ending," said Serena Johnson, a Dallas sophomore and Sims player.

"There's so much negative in the real world you can't control, so (The Sims) is like reading a good book or watching a good movie with a fairy tale ending," Dunlap said.