by Kellie Moore
With its first game released in 2000, The Sims has become one of the most popular gaming series to date, dominating the PC market and even outselling itself itself at one point when its sequel, The Sims 2, came out. Later this year the newest game of the series, The Sims 4, will come into the market. The trailers for the game have shown how far the series has come since 2000.
In February of 2000, Electronic Arts released the first game of the series, The Sims. You could make your own character, or sim, build it a house, give it furniture, and control its life by clicking on different objects and selecting an interaction. Your sims could learn skills, such as cooking, cleaning, and studying. Your sims could get a job, get married, and have a child. In later expansions for The Sims your sims could throw parties, go on vacation, adopt pets, and become celebrities.
With as much as you could do in this game, there were limitations to how you made your sims. Your sims could be either an adult or a child and a child will never become an adult unless you had a specific expansion pack or hacked the game. All sims were only one weight, and you only had 5 attitude modifiers, Neat, Outgoing, Active, Playful, and Nice, to decide their personalities. Although the Double Deluxe and the Complete Collection both came with a creator to make your own clothes and hair, your sims still generally looked pretty ugly. There were also limits to building your house. When placing your furniture, you could only place it on a grid and could only rotate it 90 degrees, while walls and fences could be placed diagonally. Limitations to game play included very low free will, pathfinding issues, and no concept of weekends. Though an inside joke in the sims community about “removing the ladder” came from this because sims could not get in and out of a pool without a ladder and if they were in the pool they would eventually drown. This, however, was removed permanently in The Sims 3.
Later in September of 2004, The Sims 2 was released. Now your sims could have wants and fears, aspirations, and different rewards for certain jobs and aspirations. Sims now aged from a baby into a toddler, then a child, then a teenager, then an adult, and then an elder. Sims now can die of old age so the game is more challenging. Your female sims can now get pregnant or you can decide to adopt. Other expansions brought back vacations and pets, but now you could add hobbies, going to college, home businesses, and even seasons to your game. The game even had a variety of “stuff packs”, which added extra items to build and buy modes.
Create a sim was given a big update as well. You’re now able to use facial sliders to set how your sims faces look like. You can add makeup to your sims and choose their zodiac and in later expansions what they are attracted to and what they stay away from in a potential partner.
Even with all of these new features the game still did have some limitations. For example, even though you could turn furniture diagonally with the use of cheats, you still had to place them on a grid system within the squares. Sims have more free will but will most likely rather do something they enjoy than fulfill their needs. Even with the introduction of an updated custom content creator, called the Body Shop, you were still limited to a certain amount of hair, clothes, and hair colors unless you downloaded custom content from a third party website. Your sim’s personality also depended on a preset attached to the zodiac sign you chose for your sim.
Much later in June of 2009 The Sims 3 was released. This game made a huge step forward in sims history by introducing open neighborhoods, story progression, and a much needed improvement in free will and pathfinding.
You can now go with your sim to community lots with no loading screens and control what they do before, during, and after getting to their destination, unless you’re moving to another neighborhood or traveling to a vacation spot. Other sims in the neighborhood will age with your sim. While you’re playing a certain family, other families will gain new additions, lose loved ones, gain relationships with each other, move to new neighborhoods, move into your neighborhood. Create a Sim, build mode, and buy mode now come equipped with “Create a Style”, that allows you to customise your sims’ clothes, wallpaper, flooring, and furniture without the need of custom content, and if you want custom content then it’s easier to install. Your sims can have hair of all different colors and different accessories to customise their look, and your sims now come with traits and favorites that you can choose to suit them.
In build mode, you can build your house to look like what you want, though they are still a bit squarish in shape. In buy mode you can rotate items in a full 360 degree circle and place them outside of the grid without the use of cheats by holding Alt and everything can be placed more logically.
The game is more compatible with modifications so you can download them and make it easier to manage your sims’ lives and give yourself more options to customise them.
In later expansions you can choose for your sims to be a vampire, fairy, ghost, or witches. Your sims can gain imaginary friends, become mermaids, explore uncharted islands, and a lot more. The Sims 3 can safely be said as the most innovative game of the series.
Or can it? Recent trailers of The Sims 4 show more options in Create a Sim, like editing your sim’s body without mods and more detailed editing of the face and body. In build mode, you can make walls rounded or make a house have higher walls. Your sims can feel emotions and can have different interactions with objects depending on what emotion they’re feeling. Emotions can be influenced by what they’re wearing, what they’re surroundings are, and how other sims treat them. The Sims 4 introduces multitasking, more open community buildings, better parties, and more advanced clothing options, making the game even more of a huge step than The Sims 3.
Not much is known now about The Sims 4, but future trailers and the game’s release later this year should reveal more. Until then, all we can do is wait and hope.