The Sims 3 Arrives for Mac, iPhone

Electronic Arts' highly anticipated release of The Sims 3 for Mac, Windows, and iPhone happened Tuesday. New features in the computer version, which is available as a hybrid disc, include more customization options for Sims' looks, the ability to choose up to five traits to construct unique personalities, goal-oriented gameplay with short- and long-term objectives, new movie creation capabilities, and more.

Players can also customize everything as well as have their characters interact with others in a seamless neighborhood. In previous Sims games, players had to wait through a loading screen to visit another house go to a specific location, such as a downtown shopping area. Through the game's launcher, players can maintain profile pages where they can compose blog posts, connect with other players, and use the My Studio section to manage their movies, stories, images, and custom-created objects.

The Sims 3 includes a town called Sunset Valley, complete with plenty of pre-made characters with their own conflicts, while a second town called Riverview is available as a download. There's a store for purchasing more in-game content, as well as ways for players to track their downloads, uploads, created media, and more. Players also receive US$10 worth of SimPoints toward the purchase of exclusive in-game items, such as outfits and furniture.

Players can purchase more SimPoints through the Sims 3 Game Launcher, which will also connect players to the Exchange, where they can share movies and screenshots from the game, upload and download shared content, and more.

The Sims 3 for iPhone allows players to choose a specific personality for their character, such as neurotic or funny, select from various physical characteristics, and add on clothes and accessories. As in the computer version, iPhone Sims travel their neighborhood interacting with each other, fulfilling their basic needs, and accomplishing various goals.

The iPhone version sells for $9.99 and requires iPhone software 2.2. The Mac/PC version sells for $49.95 for the standard edition and $69.95 for the Collectors Edition, which comes with a 2GB flash drive in the shape of the Sims diamond logo and a Prima tips and hints guide.

System requirements include Mac OS X version 10.5.7, an Intel Core Duo processor, 2GB RAM, 128MB video RAM, and 6.1GB of hard drive space.