The Sims Carnival
||This article may be written from a fan's point of view, rather than a neutral point of view. (September 2013)|
The Sims Carnival was a casual games brand created by the game studio behind the best selling PC game of all-time The Sims. It is an intellectual property of Electronic Arts. The Sims Carnival had two separate product lines. First, it was an online community of crowd-sourced games. Second, it was a line of packaged game titles sold via retail stores and digital download.
An Online Community of Crowd-Sourced Web Games
SimsCarnival.com was an online community centered around playing, creating and sharing games.
It had a massive library of Flash games (rumor: 70K+ games). This online community was supported by a suite of game creation tools, audio & graphic asset packs, a YouTube-style website with leaderboard and other social features, plenty of first-party games, ongoing content releases, community support, and countless user-generated games across many genres (e.g. sports, puzzles, adventure games, racing games, Tower Defense games, Angry Birds games).
Three game creation tools—The Wizard, The Swapper and The Game Creator—were your assistants in game design. The Wizard led you through the process of creating a game step-by-step with intuitive options designed to help you create your own game (e.g. make your own Tower Defense game) with an impressive library of game genres to choose from. The Swapper let you customize existing games – or newly made games from The Wizard - with your own selection of images, so personalizing a game was pretty straightforward. With The Game Creator, and its library of images, animations and sounds, people could create a game from scratch or dove deep into customizing another player's creation.
The mission of SimsCarnival.com was to democratize the art of game creation. It was fully intended to be a game about making games. Because the games were "open source", players could take someone else's creation, give the original creators attributions and customize the games as they see fit (e.g. apply different graphics and story line).
SimsCarnival.com was debuted at the GDC (Game Developers Conference) in February 2008 with a keynote speech by the studio head of The Sims. The service was sunset in January 2011.
Highlights in the Press:
- 1UP: “…I actually think that The Sims Carnival -- a site where users can create and play their own minigames -- is one of EA's most intriguing ideas yet…” 
- Joystiq: "…you can play some of the offerings from closed beta folks, who've come up with some really bizarre entries like this terrible take on Mario Kart and this brûlée caramelizing Sim. You can also design your own games for the general populace to partake of, enjoy and never, ever pay you for." 
- Kotaku: "EA’s web-based game creation TheSimsCarnival.com has officially entered open beta, and not a moment too soon!" 
- IGN: "There is bound to be a game that you love -- and if not, you can make it! Since its inception in February 2008, SimsCarnival.com has built an active online community where nearly 1 in 4 visitors during Closed Beta have created and published their own games." 
- MTV: "But Electronic Arts thinks it has a solution with Sims Carnival. You needn’t know a programming language; just apply your creativity to their already-built toolsets. Currently in beta, I hopped on the Sims Carnival website to see what people have created." 
- Gameplanet: "TheSimsCarnival.com in open beta. This games destination website has hundreds of games of all kinds and creators are adding more every day" 
- PC Magazine: "The tools provided at the site empower players to become game creators at any programming skill level, from novice to Flash developers."
A Line of Packaged Game Titles
- Bumperblast, a Sim themed shoot 'em up. Can be bought at ebgames.com.
- SnapCity, a SimCity-lookalike strategy/arcade game. Note that SnapCity is not an on-line game but single-player only.
Outside of the shared brand name, there was no connection between SimsCarnival.com and these two packaged game titles (e.g. no user-generated games in these two titles).
- The Sims Carnival Updated Beta Impressions Preview. Don't worry -- this browser-based gamemaker contains no clowns.. 1UP. Retrieved on 2012-02-19
- Sims Carnival is now in open beta. Joystiq. Retrieved on 2012-02-19
- SimsCarnival.com Enters Open Beta.. Kotaku. Retrieved on 2012-02-19
- The Sims Label Announces Games Destinations Website Now in Open Beta. Play, create and share games of all kinds!. IGN. Retrieved on 2012-02-19
- A Look At Sims Carnival Games: Did I Just Get 'Rickrolled' By Electronic Arts?. MTV. Retrieved on 2012-02-19
- SimsCarnival.com in open beta. Gameplanet. Retrieved on 2012-02-19
- The Sims Get More Casual. Kotaku.com. Retrieved on 2007-12-21