Happy Birthday, The Sims!
The beloved franchise started back in 1991 when game designer Will Wright lost his home and everything in it to the Oakland-Berkeley Firestorm. It was a tragedy to be sure, but Wright turned things around and used the event as inspiration for what would become the wildly popular and quintessential life-building game. Released on February 4th, 2000, The Sims was a huge hit; selling over 6.3 million copies and it is easy to see why.
For those who don’t know, the game is a simulation where you can design homes, build families, and curate their little lives down to the last detail. Players can design their sims to look like their friends and family (or anyone, really) and let them run wild or keep them on the tightest of leashes. It’s up to you whether your sims fulfill their wishes or swim helplessly for hours in a swimming pool with no ladders. It’s
fun, slightly creepy, and oddly addictive.
The Sims is also a open space for people to express their creativity. You can construct your dream home, recreate a piece of famous architecture, or even challenge yourself to design something truly spectacular. People have spent hours creating custom buildings that you can download for your game. If you want your sims to be wizards, there are hundreds of carefully crafted versions of Hogwarts to choose from (and of course you can always get in there and design your own!).
Originally published by Maxis, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts, the franchise has continued to release Sims titles since 2000, plus a bunch spin offs like The Sims Medieval, The Sims Carnival, and The Urbz: Sims in the City. Each core game also has a variety of expansion packs which add additional jobs, seasons, pets, vacations, and even supernatural elements, like witches and werewolves! As if that isn’t enough, modders have also expanded the Sims games with custom patches; opening the game up for limitless original content.
I have been addicted to The Sims since day one. My first character was a dark-haired fellow with a goofy grin named Vaio (after my computer, of course). I was surprised at just how much I came to like Vaio. He was just a little AI running around in a pre-fab house, but he had dreams and I found myself wanting to make them happen for him.
Since the first game, he has been a staple character for me in every other version of The Sims. Somehow, without much of my influence, he always seems to become obsessed with music and ends up a virtuoso by the end of his digital life. In every incarnation, he has obsessed over his chosen craft; spending hours leveling his music skill and endlessly composing for his grand masterpiece… and much like a true genius, sometimes to his detriment. Every day, I have to drag him away from the piano to do things like socialize, eat, or even sleep. The beauty of The Sims is that their concerns can become your concerns; making sure Vaio gets his rest occasionally takes me well past my bedtime. It is a strange coincidence, but I always seem to end up with this wacky, little piano geek and I love him.
Need more of an excuse to stretch your creative muscles in The Sims? Check out Smart Girls Build with The Sims 4 by our friends over at Amy Poehler’s Smart Girl!
Do you have an awesome, silly, or just down right ridiculous story about The Sims?
In celebration of The Sims’ 16th anniversary, we’re giving away 5 bundles of The Sims 4 Digital Deluxe and The Sims 4 Get Together through Origin. Share your Sims tales in the comments below to enter to win!
Winners will be chosen by random drawing. Enter by 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time Monday, February 8th. We’ll pick winners the following morning and will also select some of our favorites to feature in an upcoming article!
UPDATE: Winners have been contacted via email
Featured Image Credit: The Sims/EA