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The Sims 2 - the sequel to the best selling computer game of all time - hits shelves this month.

The wizard behind the human-simulator franchise, Will Wright, is one of the most important designers in the multibillion dollar video game industry. For the past 19 years, the 44-year-old has devoted himself to simulating the ultimate challenge: real life. His games put players in charge of micromanaging Sim farms, Sim cities, and little Sims themselves – artificially intelligent characters who sleep, eat, work, and give backrubs. In an industry often associated with gore and destruction, Wright’s realistic, constructive games are quirky anomalies. The success is due in large part to his fearless pursuit of the banal: cities have bad plumbing, dinners need to get cleaned up, Sims must go to the bathroom.

Wright once said he hopes his games help people get a fresh view on their own lives. “I like the idea,” he says, “that games can change the player.”

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