Wanda modified the residents of Westview to conform to her vision. You can’t even bring in objects from the outside world without having them pass through a version of her filter. It’s eerily similar to the way that we create sims, homes, and entire neighborhoods in The Sims games.
In the rare situation when someone behaves outside of Wanda’s plans, she’ll exile them, correct them, or simply reset the scenario. As Vision observes during the show’s most horrifying moments, the spell that these people are under goes against their still very much alive nature to be free. Some can only silently cry as they go about their rigidly enforced routines.
While there is something undeniably cruel about torturing sims, perhaps there is another kind of cruelty in the idea that we can control them and make them rigid players in our own fantasies and visions. The Sims‘ advanced AI was designed to allow them a degree of freedom. Indeed, part of the fun of the experience should come from watching how they go about their lives when we’re not manipulating their every move.
Yet, Wanda was, at times, the kind of Sims player that has to make sure everyone is behaving correctly, optimally, and in-line with their idealistic escapism at all times. To that end, it’s hard to deny that part of the appeal of The Sims is the ability to answer the question “What if it was all in your control?” What if you could build the perfect house, get that dream job, and have control over the relationships in your life? While it was a game designed partially to showcase the value of life and how we balance human concepts against the motivations of consumerism, it’s difficult to say thatThe Sims was ever meant to be a game where every player was expected to “win” by creating the ideal and optimized life in the same way that SimCity would tangibly reward players in their pursuit of a Megalopolis.
If Will Wright could have exercised that kind of control over his own life, he would have almost certainly kept his house from burning down and we would have all benefited less from the grander ideas he came to be fascinated by as a result of that event. Wanda also couldn’t quite prevent the tragedies in her own life, but she did have the power to make everything at least appear “as it should be” rather than live with the pain of forging ahead in a world of chaos.
Though there is a kind of beauty and nobleness to her efforts, as we’ve seen throughout WandaVision and the history of The Sims, there is also a hidden horror in the idea that you have control over beings capable of playing out their own lives and that any deviation from that control is something that must somehow be corrected.