Reality, virtuality blur at Sims’ soiree

Gamers rejoice as EA unveils goodies

It was a house party in a house simulating the simulated houses of “The Sims Online,” but the partying was real enough for attendees who joined vidgame giant Electronic Arts in celebrating the release of the massively multiplayer version of what is already the biggest selling computer-game franchise ever.

The Bay Area vidgame giant stuffed perhaps 300 partiers into the house atop the hills above West Hollywood, giving away copies of Newsweek’s cover story on the game along with such goodies as the company’s new “James Bond” and “Medal of Honor” titles.

“It’s about using the computer game as a social lubricant,” said Will Wright of his creation, “The Sims Online.”

Certainly, plenty of partygoers appeared plenty lubricated even without digital intermediaries. They jammed the dance floor, a flashing replica of the one people can install in their own Sim home in the game. Other life-imitates-Sim party features included round go-go dancer cages, a mechanical bull and an Airstream trailer.

Among those attending were Jack Osbourne, Edward Furlong, Lara Flynn Boyle, Elijah Wood, Bob Saget, Donald Faison, David Alan Grier, David Krumholtz, Brad Renfro, Jessie Bradford, Luke Wilson, Mickey Rourke, Eric Eisner, Jesse Walken, Melissa Rivers, Sara Rue, Paris Hilton and Stephen Dorff.