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Sims to Make You Smile

Five Funny Sims

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While the primary allure of a computer sim is the sense of realism it conveys, the subject matter doesn't necessarily have to be dry or humorless. In fact, the genre is rife with titles that satisfy one's need to construct, command and control, but also to grin, giggle and guffaw. Here are five computer titles, in no particular order, that are decidedly "unserious" in their approach to simulations:

The Sims (series)

The most successful virtual life series to date features some delightfully funny moments at the expense of poor, hapless Sims. Watch your digitally created characters set fire to the kitchen, unsuccessfully woo the opposite sex, act like a pirate in the bathtub, bounce up and down on a couch, throw destructive parties and more. The intentionally garbled "Simlish" and sound effects are amusing, as are the thought bubbles that float above characters' heads, indicating their mood.

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Theme Hospital

Managing a hospital is daunting enough, but in Theme Hospital you'll have to deal with such peculiar ailments as bloaty head, slack tongue, and the always troubling "jellyitis." Build the right rooms to solve each patient's malady (bloaty heads need to be deflated, after all), but don't neglect your other expenses. Your overworked staff doesn't come cheap, and there's nothing more troubling than a vomiting patient (or two) without a janitor in sight.

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Evil Genius

Humorously billed as a "world domination simulation," Evil Genius has you playing the role of a cackling mastermind bent on ruling the planet. This is accomplished by building an intricately designed underground lair, room by room, which you'll populate with a variety of devious traps, obnoxious henchmen and other tools of the trade. While you can't directly control your minions, you can send them on missions to unlock more deliciously fun additions to your sprawling base.

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Afterlife

This otherworldly take on SimCity has you constructing the digital equivalent of heaven and hell. Instead of tax-paying citizens to keep happy, your goal is to create permanent resting places for souls. This involves building an assortment of strange structures and managing a work staff comprised, naturally, of angels and demons. While you won't have tornados and earthquakes to worry about, you will have to overcome the perils (and droppings!) associated with "birds of paradise" or "bats out of hell."

Ghost Master

Watching virtual people go about their daily routines is one thing, scaring them out of their minds is quite another. Ghost Master has you overseeing a variety of dwellings as you attempt to haunt, harass and hinder unsuspecting residents. The haunting business consists of binding a choice of ghosts to various objects within a given room. The more frightened your victims, the more plasm you'll earn, allowing you to use more advanced scare techniques. While the subject matter may seem ghoulish, the game is more a satire of the horror genre than a true fright fest. (Keep an eye out for the "Ghostbreakers," who will try to spoil your fun.)

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