In the eighteen years since the first installment of the Sims series first hit shelves, players have been delighted, frustrated, and addicted. Fans have devoted nearly two decades of their lives to these games. They have spent hours of their lives creating intricate families with elaborate backstories and drafting detailed storyboards for their virtual lives to follow. They have created games that lasted virtual generations and families that didn’t last the day. They have spent billions of simoleons (and hundreds of their real-life human dollars) on making these digital worlds the best they can be. But sometimes, the series that we treasure can bite us in the fanny and sometimes it’s just nice to vent. So without further ado, here are fifteen things that all Simmers will relate to.
15 What's Gameplay?
We all know that no one who plays the Sims actually plays the game. I mean, you know the drill. You start up the game, ignore all of your pre-made and established families, open Create-A-Sim, and spent literal hours creating an entirely new family – complete with an extensive backstory (that the game didn’t ask for) and plans for the anguish that awaits them in the future. Once satisfied, you save the family, move them into a house, spend the rest of the night decorating and perfecting that home… and then you save the game and quit. Only fools actually play with the family they spent hours labouring over and I ain’t no fool. The best way to play the Sims is to spend hours breaking your back over a family that you will never actually get to play with.
14 Virtual Misery
One of the best aspects of a good game of the Sims is asking yourself how miserable you can make the beings you’ve gifted with life. Will you go with realistic avenues of misery? Will you end marriages with a sultry maid or mailman making their way into the family home? Will you force your Sims into a life of crime in order to make ends meet? Will you refuse to use cheat codes and make your Sims make do with the absolute bare minimum? Or will you flex your God-muscle and go all out on these poor unfortunate souls? Will you trap them in a room without food or water? Will you fill their homes with Egyptian tomb traps and watch them navigate this maze of horrors while you cackle to yourself like the vengeful god you are?
13 Mods Galore
You can’t play an enriching and fulfilling game of Sims solely using the content that they’ve provided you with. Sure, the furniture can be cool and can be moulded to fit any aesthetic and sometimes you can actually find some really cool clothes hidden in the Create-A-Sim wardrobe. However, a game of Sims is nothing without mods. Buckets and buckets of mods. Hair mods, custom content galore, personality mods, career mods, and mods that allow you to get around the rules of the game and do things the developers never dreamed of (nor intended.) The developers created a wonderful simulation game filled with such wonderful things but it is the fans who took what they were given and dedicated their free time to creating content (for free I might add) that we cannot live (or play) without.
12 Love Hate and EA
Ah, EA. I do not know whether I harbour feelings of love or immense hatred towards this money hungry powerhouse that created one of the greatest simulation games of all time. I wish we didn’t have to operate through EA and I hate how unhelpful the helpline is. I just want to play the Sims with as much content and fun as possible. The biggest issue with the Sims 4 is that EA broke up standard expansion packs into multiple DLCs in order to charge players as much as they would be willing to pay. In the third installment of the Sims series, laundry, bowling, and university were all included in one expansion pack; but these three items exist as three separate packs in the games fourth installment. We are paying more for less content and gamers are not happy. It might be time to bite the hand that feeds us.
11 The Golden Gatekeepers
All Sims players and fans will know how unwelcome we are in most gamer/geek circles. We’ve been told that the Sims isn’t a “real game” and that the people who play it aren't allowed to call themselves “real gamers.” Some gatekeepers go as far as to claim that the Sims is solely “for girls” and therefore, cannot be considered a legitimate game (I don’t even have the time to go into the many shades of wrong that that is.) Why do we have to gatekeep hobbies and interests? Why can’t we just be excited that someone likes/is interested in the thing that we like? Why do people have to defend their interests and jump through hoops in order to earn respect in some of these communities? I think it’s time we stop this nonsense and just let people like what they like.
10 Falling into Old Habits
Every time I start a new Sims game, I promise myself that this family is going to be different. There are going to be nothing like the thousands of other families that I have created over the years. They are going to be unique, with a brand new storyline, a new look, and an entirely new set of circumstances. They will live in Sunset Valley rather than Bridgeport, they will have traditional jobs (rather than artistic or quirky ones,) and this time, they will be cruel business people who put money and career above all else. But shortly after I’ve begun crafting this family in the Create-A-Sim booth, I find myself quickly growing bored and reverting to my old ways. I set out to make a stern and capitalistic family and I walked away with a loving and caring artistic family full of hippies. Every. Single. Time.
9 An Army of Clones
Making an attractive Sims is incredibly easy in the fourth installment of the series. You can make diverse and unique Sims without having to sacrifice aesthetics or beauty, but it wasn’t always that way. In previous installments, there were only one or two ways to make an attractive Sim. There was one cute nose, one acceptable face shape, one pair of attractive lips, and only one set of eyes that made your Sim look like a real person rather than the Wicked Witch halfway through the process of melting. This resulted in every single Sim you created looking exactly identical to one another. After a few families were created, a player could leave a town looking like it had been invaded by an army of clones with slightly different hair colours.
8 Real Life Motherlode
Ever since I played my first game of Sims in a classmates basement after school in the sixth grade, I have wished that I could apply these game cheats to the real world. Why can’t I whip out a keyboard, hit control and shift, type in “motherlode,” and then bask in the glow of my millions of gold coins. I know that doing so could make us no longer appreciate the value of a dollar and what’s worth having if you didn’t work for it… blah blah blah and all that jazz. And I wouldn’t cheat myself billions of dollars, but I have student loans and would love an extra 50k every now and then. Is that too much to ask? Are you there God? It’s me, a broke college kid. Please help. I spent all my money on DLC’s for the Sims. I’m so hungry.
7 FOMO Sims Edition
After creating your ideal self; complete with the perfect hair, huge doe eyes, and the perfect wardrobe, you move your virtual self into its new home. You use oodles and oodles of cheat codes in order to create the perfect home that you could never afford in your real life. Then you give your virtual self the most idealized partner, their dream career, an adorable gaggle of pets, and send them out every night for a trip to the nightclub or a stroll through the park. They become masters at their hobbies and do things you never could do- but wish you could. You get jealous of your virtual self – this idealized version of you that you could never bring into reality. Sometimes you just have to put the laptop down and remind yourself how awesome the real life you’re living truly is. Man, I wish I could be a mermaid in real life.
6 Happily Laggy After
In my opinion, the third installment in the Sims series was the greatest installment of them all. There is just so much content and freedom. You can be literally anyone you want to be and live any life you could imagine. You can follow your Sim around the world (an action not available in other installments) and truly immerse yourself in their virtual world. You can be a fairy, a vampire, a witch, or even a ghost. You can travel the world, live in Hawaii, or become a rock star. You can have pet snakes, horses, dogs, and you can even tame a unicorn. That is a lot of content. And it takes a toll. Any person who has ever played a content-laden game of Sims 3 knows that this game with lag for hours on end, glitch, and burn your computer out in a year. But it’s worth it…. I think.
5 In God's Image
An active Sim player will make thousands of Sims in their lifetime. Each Sim will have a unique look, lifestyle, and personal style (to a degree.) However, the main Sim (a.k.a the protagonist of your personal game) always bears a strong resemblance to its creator. I mean, they were made in God’s image. Every time I make a Sim, I strive to make them different from the last. However, they always end up looking like me. Here is me if I were a fireman, here is how I would look as a blue male fairy, here is me as a red-haired actress who spends every night at the club by the docs. And here’s me. Just me. Exactly how I am in reality. Look, we’re even making the same shirt. Is this narcissism or is this just the way of the game?
4 Cheat It
Every Sim player out there has lied to themselves at least once. We have all promised ourselves that we were going to play one clean game. For this play-through, we aren’t going to use any cheat codes. If they want to be rich, they will have to work for it. We will only use the 20k we are provided at the start of the game. And then you realize that you can’t even build, let alone decorate a house for such a pitiful sum. Your Sim can’t afford food, books, classes, or a trip to the movies. They can’t even afford a hot chocolate at the Winter festival in the park. Your Sim’s needs are not met, and they blame you for their constant state of misery. So you cave and use all of the cheat codes you swore you never would.
3 'Til Reality Do Us Part
Don’t lie. I can guarantee that every single Sim player reading this article has done this at least once. Every single person who has ever played a single game of the Sims has created a virtual version of themselves and married them off to the digital version of their celebrity (or fictional) crush. We have all done it. Every single digital clone I made of myself at 14 was married to Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench. Every single one. 16-year-old digital Zooey was married to Edward Cullen. When I was eighteen, my virtual clone was married to Jennifer Lawrence. Isn’t the entire point of the Sims to create your ideal dream life? Well, it is my dream to pretend to marry my celebrity crushes in a virtual environment. Don’t judge me, you all did it too.
2 Once, For Comedy's Sake
Sometimes you spend hours cultivating the perfect family. One with elaborate backstories (that only exist in your mind) and you draft an extensive plot for the events (and tragedies) that will befall them once they are released from the Create-A-Sim room and inserted into their virtual world. And sometimes, you just mess about in Create-A-Sim and have a great time. Not every family has to be a work of art that you laboured over for hours. Sometimes you just want to make a bunch of comedically polar opposite roommates and stick them in a house, Big Brother style, to see what happens. It’s a game. It’s supposed to be fun. So sometimes it’s fun to just let loose and get a little silly with it.
1 Never-ending Cycle
As mentioned in the EA entry, these DLC’s are getting out of hand. In both the second and third installment of the Sims series, we were given the World Adventures expansion pack. This pack came with three unique worlds that your sims could travel to and explore. Though it caused a bit of game lag (especially when exploring expansive tombs,) it was a brilliant game and I would be willing to argue that it was worth the cost. However, the fourth installment of the Sims have released their own World Adventure pack this past month, and for the same cost as the previous versions of the same expansion, you get one world to explore. But we keep buying them because we are completely and absolutely hooked.