I had the game already installed but went ahead and re-did the installation just to make sure everything was working correctly and was clean. I then made notes from each Prima guide about what I would need to know to play the game and not have Sims die within the first week. I decided to play with all expansion packs because unlike The Sims 2, with the original game I never had a problem with Sims dying unexpectedly in The Sims; this may be due to the amount of time I put into the game with every expansion pack before the next one came out, which has not been the case with The Sims 2 and The Sims 3.
The only one that you can live in.
There are more houses than just the ones shown on this screen and I do plan on playing with all of the Maxis made families but I wanted one screen shot of the neighborhood and decided this was the best one to take a picture of. The base neighborhood can have residential and business lots but no hotels and you cannot work on them (although I believe you can do magic there but it wouldn't be a good idea).
The Downtown neighborhood came with Hot Date and was the first time your Sims could go somewhere other than work and a neighbors home. It also gave us our first beach although you couldn't play in the waves like you can in The Sims 2 with the Bon Voyage expansion pack. I really enjoyed this addition because it gave us new things to do and the candy shop/toy shop that came with the neighborhood is too cute for words I wish I could go to a store that actually looked like it (I would probably never leave).
The Vacation neighborhood came with the expansion pack of the same name. When I first played this one I found a problem with the middle winter land lot; your Sim can get stuck in the store because the cash register is next to the door so now when I first make a neighborhood in this game the first thing I do is move the register one counter over so the door will remain open if someone tries to come in while your Sim is trying to pay.
The only way to correct the problem if your Sim gets stuck is to exit without saving and my Sim had been there a week without saving when it happened.
The Hollywood Studios neighborhood allowed you to follow your Sims to work for the first time and you could help them to succeed or fail.
My Sims never made it very high in the entertainment industry, I only had one get high enough to use the upper level items and I usually failed each time so I stuck with the lower level items (I will explain this more when I get into to actually playing someone through this area.)
The Makin' Magic neighborhood was cool because it came with sideshow like games and you could do Magic on the lot without fear of a non-magical Sim seeing you (although a lot of them were on the lots but it didn't seem to matter here). The other cool thing was if you were good enough at magic you could eventually buy one of the three homes on the other side of the stream in the upper part of the screen and live in the neighborhood; this was something I never accomplished).
Because I tend to play as a collector I was bad at this because I didn't want to waste any of the ingredients for the spells I that I did get. When I play this time I plan on working harder at actually making spells and using them so I can get some of the other events that happen later in the magical progression to happen (like the giant beanstalk I have never seen).
I am still not completely sure how I want to go about playing this game because I know I want to play all of the Maxis mades, but I also want to make a neighborhood from the ground up. The only problem with making a neighborhood in The Sims for me is that as bad as I am at it in The Sims 2, I am worse at it in The Sims. I was never able to build one on my own when I originally played the game and I tried several times for the four years that it was the only Sims game to play. I am determined to do this and to fill every lot in every Neighborhood, but it will probably take a very long time to do and I will probably play the Maxis made first so I can have an idea of how things should work before I start building.
Wish me luck.