After drugs, sex and chocolate, The Sims is probably the most addictive thing on the planet. And The Sims virus is spreading. Two weeks ago the Playstation 2 version was released in The United States and just a few days from now the European release will take place. To celebrate this we interviewed Maxis' Mike Perry, the big man behind the PS2 version of The Sims. What makes The Sims so popular with women?

Will Wright, the creator of The Sims, believes that the game appeals to a very wide audience, including women, because the context of the game, a house and family, is very familiar. Players don't need to understand what weapon will destroy what alien, for example. Instead, players intuitively understand that if you use the toilet, you should flush it afterwards to keep the bathroom clean. What kind of new content and features did you add for the Playstation 2 game?

The first thing players will notice about The Sims PS2 is that the game is now completely 3D. Players can zoom and rotate freely. All of the artwork and animations have been completely redone to take advantage of the PS2 hardware, and we have new special effects like particles and lighting. We also redesigned the controls to use the standard Dualshock2 controller - no mouse is needed! When you started developing The Sims for Playstation 2, what things did you really want to be different?

We decided early on that The Sims PS2 had to be much more than just a port of the PC version. We not only included the original open-ended game, we also expanded the game in many ways. The new Create-A-Sim screen allows you customize your Sim in thousands of different ways. We have a new level-based mode called Get-A-Life that actually allows you to "win" The Sims. We created over a dozen new objects, like a Strip Poker table and Bug Zapper, that are exclusive to the PS2 version. And now, for the first time, you play The Sims with two players! What's so interesting in the two-player option in the PS2 Sims?

We actually have two different ways to play two-player in The Sims PS2. First, two people can play together any time they want in the open-ended game. You can even bring your Sim over to your friend's house on a memory card. Second, in the Get-A-Life level-based game, you can unlock special locations that have two-player challenges. Players can challenge each other to see who can make the most friends at a Frat House, who can beg or steal the most food in a Park, and who can "party naked" in Club Abhi. I have both a PC and Playstation 2. Is there a reason to buy The Sims for PS2, even when I already have the PC-version?

Two words: Monkey Butler. Need I say more? Ok, there is a lot more, like the new Create-A-Sim, the Get-A-Life level-based game, new PS2 objects, and two-player!