The series logo representing The Sims 4 (2013-present)
|Developers||Maxis (2000–2008, 2012–present)
The Sims Studio (2008–present)
|First release||The Sims
February 4, 2000
|Latest release||The Sims 3: University Life
March 5, 2013
|Spin-offs||MySims, The Sims Online, The Sims Carnival, The Sims Social|
The Sims is a strategic life simulation video game series developed by Maxis and later by The Sims Studio, and published by Electronic Arts. It is one of the most successful video games series of all time. As of May 2011, the franchise has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide, and is also the best-selling PC franchise in history.
The games in The Sims series are largely sandbox games, in that they lack any defined goals (except for some later expansion packs and console versions which introduced this gameplay style). The player creates virtual people called "Sims" and places them in houses and helps direct their moods and satisfy their desires. Players can either place their Sims in pre-constructed homes or build them themselves. Each successive expansion pack and game in the series augmented what the player could do with their Sims.
The Sims is the first game in the series. Developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts, it was released for Microsoft Windows in February 2000. The game uses isometric projection and features open-ended simulation of the daily activities of one or more virtual persons ("Sims") in a suburban area near SimCity. Seven expansion packs and two bonafide deluxe editions with exclusive content have been released for this game. It was repackaged in several different formats and different versions of it were released on several different platforms. By March 22, 2002, The Sims had sold more than 2 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling P.C. game in history, surpassing Myst. The original game, all seven expansion packs, and the two exclusive deluxe edition content packs constitute the first generation of the series on the P.C. All P.C. releases in this generation were developed by Maxis.
The Sims 2
Electronic Arts released The Sims 2 on September 14, 2004. The sequel, developed by Maxis, takes place in a full 3D environment as opposed to the dimetric projection of the original game. Sims also age through six life stages from infancy to old age and subsequent death. Another major feature is the aspiration system. Each sim exhibits wants and fears according to their aspiration and personality. Consequently, the level of the aspiration meter determines the effectiveness of a sim at completing tasks. Aspiration points are acquired through the fulfillment of wants, which could, in turn, be used to purchase aspiration rewards. In addition, the game features clear days of the week with weekends when children could stay home from school, vacation days when adults could take time off work.
The Sims 2 is set some 25 years after the original game. For instance, the Goth family has aged significantly with Bella Goth mysteriously vanishing in the 25-year period. Because the entire game has progressed from 2D sprites to 3D models, all content in The Sims 2 had to be created from the ground up. Due to this, The Sims 2 was not made backwards-compatible with any content from the first generation of the main series. However, some objects and features from the original series were remade for this sequel.
Electronic Arts has released eight expansion packs and nine stuff packs for The Sims 2. Over 400 exclusive items have also been released for this game via The Sims 2 Store. In addition, exclusive items including pre-order items have been released over the life cycle of this generation. All of these releases constitute the second generation of the main series. It is noted that development of this generation was handed over from Maxis to The Sims Division sometime during 2008, with the former studio focusing its resources on its next project — Spore.
The Sims 3
Electronic Arts released The Sims 3 to retailers worldwide and available by digital download on June 2, 2009. The sequel, developed by The Sims Studio, was announced by EA in November 2006. The game is set 25 years prior the original game, and features an open, seamless neighborhood, improved tools for sim creation, enhanced build and buy mode functions, and the introduction of wishes and goals. The game also introduces a new form of directed gameplay through small, step-wise goals presented as opportunities to which the player may choose to pursue or refuse. The Sims 3 sold 1.4 million copies in the first week, making it the largest release in PC gaming history at the time. The game has sold over 10 million copies worldwide since its release.
Nine expansion packs and nine stuff packs have been released for the third generation of the series. EA will be releasing two new expansion packs: The Sims 3 Island Paradise in summer, and the final expansion pack will be released in Fall 2013, it is currently untitled and has as futuristic theme including time travel. An unnamed stuff pack featuring items inspired by movie themes and settings will be released in the fall as well. In addition, many items are available online for additional fees at The Sims 3 Store. The core game and its associated releases constitute the third generation of the main series.
Notably, Maxis was no longer involved in the production of the franchise since its handover to The Sims Studio during the second generation. Maxis instead focused its resources on developing its new franchise: Spore. In addition, EA announced on April 8, 2009 that Will Wright, who designed the original game, had left Maxis to run Stupid Fun Club, an entertainment development studio founded in 2001 to develop "new intellectual properties to be deployed across multiple fronts including video games, movies, television, the Internet and toys".
The Sims 4
Electronic Arts announced The Sims 4 on May 6, 2013. On April 25 of that year, several screenshots from mock-up flash videos of the user interface were leaked online. On May 3, EA sent out an e-mail to several fansites stating that there would be a big announcement on May 6, which many have speculated to be The Sims 4. The domain name thesims4.com was activated and redirected to the official website for The Sims on that same day. As of now very little information has been released apart from the logo and a release date set for the first quarter of 2014.
The Sims Online
In December 2002, Electronic Arts shipped the Maxis-developed The Sims Online, which was later named EA Land. This online game recreates The Sims as an MMOG, where actual human players can interact with each other. This spinoff did not achieve the same level of success as the original The Sims game that the producers and developers anticipated. Reviews for The Sims Online were extremely lackluster. Many reviewers likened The Sims Online experience to an enormous chat room where few participants, if any, had anything worthwhile to say. On August 1, 2008, EA-Land's servers were closed permanently.
The Sims Stories
The Sims Stories is a series of computer games from The Sims series released in 2007-2008 that is based on a modified version of The Sims 2 engine. This modified game engine is optimized for play on systems with weaker specifications such as laptops. As such, its system requirements are lower than that of The Sims 2, but it can still be played on desktops. One feature of this game, if played on a laptop, is the auto-pause function, which stops and starts the game when the lid is closed and opened, respectively. This series is introduced mainly for 3 segments of the market: those who wish to play The Sims 2 on their laptops (which usually have lower specifications); those who wish to engage in other activities such as instant messaging while playing the game, and; those who are new to the franchise. In addition to a Free Play mode with classic, open-ended game play, the games also contains a structured, linear Story mode where players are required to complete a series of goals in order to progress in the storyline. While Life Stories and Pet Stories each contain two separate stories, Castaway Stories contains one story that is double the length of any one story in the first two games. As an introductory series, major features are removed or modified from those in The Sims 2. For example, fears are completely removed in all three games, and the elder life stage is completely removed in Pet Stories. Officially, the save files from this series are not compatible with the main The Sims 2 games. However, players have experienced success at adapting some files.
Three games have been released to date. There are currently no plans announced to continue this series.
MySims is series of console games created by EA exclusively for the Wii and Nintendo DS (with SkyHeroes being the exception). They feature Chibi-like characters (a tiny bit smaller and similar to the Wii's Mii avatars). The first game in the series was released in September 2007. It is also known for being the first Sim game released in Japan. MySims SkyHeroes, the newest addition to the MySims line of games, was released in September 2010.
The Sims Carnival
The Sims Carnival was a casual games brand of The Sims. It had two separate product lines. First, it was an online community of crowd-sourced web games. Second, it was a line of packaged game titles sold via retail stores and digital download.
The Sims Medieval
The Sims Medieval is a spin-off game released in 2011. It is set in medieval time, and although it is based on The Sims 3 engine, it plays very differently. Unlike the games in The Sims Stories series, The Sims Medieval is a new base game with its own set of expansions called adventure packs.
The Sims Social
Launched in August 2011, The Sims Social is a Flash-based game developed by Playfish for Facebook. EA announced the game has officially been upgraded from Beta to Live status in a press release issued on August 23, 2011. Due to negative responses from players, the game will shut down and will be removed from Facebook permanently on June 14, 2013.
Console and handheld versions
The Sims era
The Sims is the first console release that shares the same name as the base game in the first generation of the main series.
The Sims Bustin' Out is the second title in The Sims console series. Bustin' Out was released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance and N-Gage in the fourth quarter of 2003. As the title suggests, Sims can get out of the house to visit other locations such as Shiny Things Lab or Casa Caliente. There are two modes. Bust Out Mode which has mission based gameplay and Freeplay Mode which is open-ended gameplay very much like the original The Sims PC game. It was the second Sims game to not be on the PC; it was a follow up to The Sims, which was very similar to Bustin' Out, except the aims were shifted to getting job promotions and constantly fulfilling goals to get ahead in the game. The PlayStation 2 version also features the option to play online, though EA no longer supports it.
The Urbz: Sims in the City is a game focused on sims living in an urban setting, presumably within Sim City. The player must earn reputation and complete tasks for characters. It was released for Xbox, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance. It featured The Black Eyed Peas as NPCs.
The Sims 2 era
The Sims 2, The Sims 2: Pets, and The Sims 2: Castaway have all been released for various platforms including the Wii, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo DS systems. The Sims 2: Apartment Pets, considered a sequel to The Sims 2: Pets by Electronic Arts, was only released for the Nintendo DS.
In addition, EA has released several The Sims titles for the iPod nano (3rd and 4th generation), and the iPod classic and iPod (5th generation). Some of these titles include: The Sims Bowling, The Sims DJ, and The Sims Pool,
The Sims 3 era
The Sims 3, The Sims 3: World Adventures, and The Sims 3: Ambitions were released for the iPhone/iPod Touch. In addition, The Sims 3 was also released for Android mobile systems. The Sims 3 was released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS in October 2010, and the Wii in November 2010, and the Nintendo 3DS on March 25, 2011 in Europe. The 3DS version of the game was launched with the console.
EA continued to release games for apple products. This time for the iOS. Simplified ports of The Sims 3, and the expansions, World Adventures and Ambitions were released for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The Sims 3 was not required to play the expansions on the iOS. Sims can be imported between the games.
The Sims FreePlay
The Sims FreePlay, a freemium version of The Sims for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android phones (and tablets) and Kindle Fire was released worldwide on December 15, 2011 for iOS devices, and on February 15, 2012 for Android. The game made it to Kindle Fire in October 2012. Unlike other Sims games, The Sims FreePlay runs in real-time and takes real time to complete actions. Players can progress through 52 levels and unlock new content, create up to 65 Sims, build town map buildings, complete goals to earn Lifestyle Points, plant, bake, go to job and school, get married and have a baby(and watch babies grow up), get pets and much more.
The game is regularly updated with new content and has many events and competitions, announced at FreePlay's official Facebook page. Several updates for the game have been released:
- Marriage and Babies Update
- The Easter Update (iOS only)
- The Toddler Update
- The Social Update
- The Style Update
- The Pre-Teen Update
- The Supernatural Update
- The Holiday Update
- Pool Party Update
- The Livin' Large Update
- Moving Up Update
- Climate Change Update
Producer John Davis revealed on an interview that he is taking inspiration from John Hughes's 1985 film Weird Science for the video game adaptation.
"What they realize is that they can scan their world in, because this is the most lifelike, real Sims game ever. As they are playing this, they are all of a sudden realising [that] what they are playing on the game is having an effect on the real world. So in effect, through the game, they are able to control their world. It's wish fulfillment, and obviously it turns against them."
The success of The Sims resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series 5 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include "World's Biggest-Selling Simulation Series", and "Best Selling PC Game of All Time" for the original The Sims game, which sold 16 million units, 100 times EA's original projection of 160,000 units.
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