The Sims 2
|The Sims 2|
Patrick J. Barrett
The game has the same concept as its predecessor: players control their Sims in various activities and form relationships in a manner similar to real life. The Sims 2, like its predecessor, does not have a defined final goal; gameplay is open-ended. Sims have life goals, wants and fears, the fulfillment of which can produce both positive or negative outcomes. All Sims age, and can live to 90 sim days depending on the degree to which their aspirations are fulfilled. The Sims 2 builds on its predecessor by allowing Sims to age through six stages of life and incorporating a 3D graphics engine. Although gameplay is not linear, storylines exist in the game's pre-built neighborhoods. Pleasantview is based 25 years after the town in the original The Sims. Strangetown's storyline is based on the supernatural, and is loosely connected with Pleasantview. Veronaville's characters are based on Shakespearean characters.
The Sims 2 was released on September 14, 2004 for Microsoft Windows. A port to Mac OS X was released on June 17, 2005. Eight expansion packs and nine stuff packs were subsequently released. In addition several console versions have been released. The Sims 2 is offered on mobile platforms, with manufacturers such as Nokia offering The Sims 2 from the Ovi Store. A sequel, The Sims 3, was released in June 2009.
The Sims 2 was a commercial success, selling one million copies in its first ten days, a record at the time. During April 2008, The Sims 2 website announced that 100 million copies of The Sims series had been sold. The Sims 2 was well received by critics, gaining a 90% score from aggregators Metacritic and GameRankings. By March 2012, The Sims 2 had sold over six million PC copies, and 13 million over all platforms, making it one of the best-selling PC games of all-time.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Development
- 3 Music
- 4 Reception and legacy
- 5 Controversy
- 6 Editions, compilations, and add-ons
- 6.1 OS X version
- 6.2 Console versions
- 6.3 Handheld versions
- 6.4 Expansion packs
- 6.5 Stuff packs
- 6.6 Core game editions
- 6.7 Expansion-only compilations
- 6.8 Downloadable content
- 6.9 Third-party tools
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
From the neighborhood view, the player selects one lot to play, as in The Sims. There are both residential and community lots, but Sims can only live in residential lots. Sims can travel to Community lots in order to purchase things like clothing and magazines, and to interact with NPCs and townies.
The player can choose between playing a pre-made inhabited lot, moving a household into an unoccupied pre-built lot, or constructing a building on an empty lot. One novelty from The Sims is foundations.
The player switches among the "live" mode (default) to control Sims, the "buy" mode to add, move or delete furniture, or the "build" mode to rebuild the house. Buy and build mode cannot be accessed when on a community lot, but can be opened by using the neighborhood view. It is also possible to import neighborhood terrains from SimCity 4.
The game contains some time-bound social challenges that provide a reward if successful. Sims can throw parties to gain aspiration points or invite the headmaster over for dinner in order to enroll their children in private school. Some expansion packs have new mini-games, like running a Greek house in University or dating in Nightlife. In Nightlife, each date is a challenge to keep both Sims as happy as possible while accumulating aspiration points. Various other expansion packs introduce supernatural characters which Sims can be turned into, such as Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, Plantsims, and Witches.
The main part of the game is to lead a Sim from the start of life to death. A Sim will be born when a female Sim and a male Sim try for a baby. The mother will spend 3 Sim days (each day lasts 24 minutes though time can be sped-up) pregnant before giving birth to a baby. Players can name the new Sim upon birth. The baby's appearance and personality will be based on the genetics of its parents (though the baby's appearance is hidden until it becomes a toddler). Babies can also be adopted by calling the social worker on the phone, even by single parents or same-gender couples. The baby will change into a toddler in 3 days, and 4 more days for the toddler to change into a child. After 8 days, the child grows into a teenager, and will live 15 days before changing into an adult. After 29 days, the Sim will become an elder. An elder will eventually die; the length of this final stage depends on the aspiration bar when they become an elder.
Babies, toddlers, children, teens, and adults can be advanced to their next life stage at any time during the 24 Sim hours before they will grow up automatically. For babies, this requires using the birthday cake. Toddlers, children, teens, and adults can use the "Grow Up" self-interaction. If the University expansion pack is installed, teens have the option to go to college, where they will be young adults for approximately 24 days. Aging can be disabled via cheats.
Players will need to build up talent badges, skills and relationships with other people, so that they can be successful in their career. A player will also need to make sure a Sim is happy and well by fulfilling wants (including lifetime wants, avoiding fears, and fulfilling motives).
Pregnancy, toddlers, teens, and elders are new stages of life. Young adult is a unique age added with the University expansion. Teen Sims will become young adults once they are moved to a University, and will be adults once they leave campus, regardless of the reason. During Pregnancy, the belly does not expand gradually. Instead, every day, it "pops" to a bigger size.
In The Sims 2, Create a Family is entered by clicking the "Families" button in the lower left-hand corner of the neighborhood view, then clicking the large "Create New Family" button. Clicking the button labeled "Create A Sim" will expand a tab which has the "Create a Sim" and "Make a Child" icons. "Make a Child" will be grayed out unless the family contains an adult male and adult female. Clicking the "Create a Sim" icon will generate a random adult Sim, who may be male or female which can be edited by the player.
As opposed to The Sims, any age besides baby or young adult (which must be made in the University Create a Student) may be created. Instead of having to choose from already finished faces which include hair, it is now possible to alter the facial structure (e.g. widening the nose, thinning the lips, elongating the chin, etc.) and choose any hairstyle to go with it. Different eye colors and an additional skin tone is available for the Sims as well. If Sims are older than a child, their aspiration and turn-ons/offs (Nightlife or later) may be determined. As in The Sims, there are five personality traits, and 25 personality points which can be assigned to those traits. However, in The Sims 2, all personality points must be assigned. Additionally, there are twelve pre-set personalities, one for each of the zodiac signs. A zodiac sign will be set which matches the personality the player has selected for the Sim.
The Sims 2 also comes with The Sims 2 Body Shop, which enables users to create genetics, makeups, accessories, clothes, and Sims, with the help of third-party tools, such as MS Paint, Paint.NET, Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Wings 3D, and SimPE. The Sims 2 Body Shop is normally installed in C:\Program Files\EA Games\[The Sims 2 or the most recent installed expansion pack or stuff pack here]\CSBin.
There are several new social interactions introduced in The Sims 2. These new social interactions can create memories and can be related to certain age groups. Social interactions can come up in the Wants and Fears panel and can be dependent on the Sim's personality and aspiration. Sims with certain personalities may not want to complete certain social interactions.
- Influencing social interactions are introduced in the University expansion pack. A Sim is able to influence another Sim to complete a social interaction or a chore. Sims gain influence points by completing Wants and can lose influence points by completing Fears. The size of the influence bar depends on the number of friends the Sim has. It also can grow in size with business perks from the Open for Business expansion pack. Influence was also in the Nightlife expansion but added nothing.
- The Nightlife expansion pack introduces Turn-Ons and Turn-Offs. Teenagers and older are able to choose their turn-ons and turn-offs. These determine the chemistry that one Sim has with another in the form of lightning bolts. Sims can have up to 3 lightning bolts with another Sim. The higher the chemistry is that a Sim has with another Sim, the greater the chance for social interactions to be accepted. New turn-ons and turn-offs are introduced with the Bon Voyage expansion pack.
- Fury is introduced in the Nightlife expansion pack and occurs when one Sim gets angry at another. During this time relationships with the Sim who is furious are harder to build. Also, the Sim who is furious may pick a fight or vandalize the home lot of the Sim they are furious with. Fury can be caused by another Sim burgling the Sim's house, getting fined after calling emergency services when there was no emergency, fighting, cheating on (the cheater or the Sim that was cheated with, often both), and more.
- Reputation, which is found in the previous Sims game The Urbz: Sims in the City is reintroduced in the Apartment Life expansion pack. A Sim gains reputation by interacting with other Sims on community lots. Sims with higher reputations are more likely to gain perks such as free objects and job promotions.
There are careers that come with the game that require skills and a certain number of friends in order for promotion. Success in these careers unlocks career rewards and higher salaries plus bonuses. Sims also receive chance cards. Correct answers to these chance cards creates rewards for Sims while incorrect answers could cause a Sim to lose its job. Nightlife and Apartment Life allow Sims to gain promotions through social interactions with other Sims.
Comparison to The Sims
Graphically, The Sims 2 is more detailed than The Sims and lets players view its world in full 3D. This is a change from earlier Sim games, such as SimCity 2000, which used dimetric projection and fixed resolutions, as the camera was in The Sims. In The Sims, Sims are 3D meshes, but The Sims 2 introduces far more detail in mesh quality, texture quality, and animation capability. A Sim's facial features are customizable and unique, and Sims can smile, frown, and blink. The player can adjust a Sim's features in the in-game Create-a-Sim tool; for example, noses can be made to be very large or very small. Texturing is achieved through use of raster images, though it appears more lifelike.
The Sims 2 characters pass through seven life stages — babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, young adults (only with University), adults, and elders — with eventual death of old age, while babies in The Sims only become children before ceasing to continue aging. The aspiration system (described above) is also new to The Sims 2. Sims can become pregnant and produce babies that take on genetic characteristics of their parents, such as eye color, hair color, facial structure, and personality traits as opposed to Sims, in which the baby would take on random appearance and personality. Genetics play a major role in the game, and as such, dominant and recessive genes play a larger role than they did in the original game. A player can also aspire to have a Sim abducted by aliens. Males then have the chance to become impregnated and produce after three Sim days a half-alien child.
Some of the other additions to gameplay are career rewards, a week cycle, the cleaning skill (which was a hidden skill in The Sims), a variety of meals (depending on time of day), exercise clothing, body shape affected by diet and exercise, and houses built on foundations.
EA Games announced on May 5, 2003 that the Maxis studio had begun development on The Sims 2. The game was first shown at E3 in Los Angeles, California on May 13, 2004. Will Wright admits that while most of the content of The Sims 2 are original ideas, inspiration for its own expansions and constituents spawned from the successes of the first game. The community interest in the antecedent The Sims: Unleashed and The Sims: Hot Date expansions ensured the creation of The Sims 2: Pets and The Sims 2: Nightlife expansions, respectively.
After development concluded, designers from Maxis regarded The Sims 2 as very capricious during creation. Bugs would appear, and Sims would be "tweaked", or have anomalies not present in a previous run. A teaser trailer was provided on the Makin' Magic CD but was later uploaded to websites all over the Internet.
On December 15, 2012, Electronic Arts announced that the official website would be shut down on January 14, 2013. It is now no longer possible to download content from the official site, create exchanges, or participate in the official forum communities.
On July 16, 2014, Electronic Arts announced the end of support for The Sims 2. As a response The Sims 2: Ultimate Collection was released at the same time as a limited time offer. The game became available for free download from Origin exclusively following an announcement by EA that they would no longer be supporting the Game. This offer ended at 10:00 PDT July 31, 2014. EA stated that they were planning on releasing the compilation as a retail release. However, as of now, no further information has since been released or confirmed on its planned retail release date.
On August 7, 2014, Aspyr Media released The Sims 2: Super Collection as digital download exclusively available at the Mac App Store; the game was updated for OS X Mavericks, 4K and Retina. This compilation only includes the first six expansion packs and the first three stuff packs. Aspyr stated they were unable to include the remaining packs for the game due to licensing conflicts with EA. Like the Ultimate Collection, no new updates on when the remaining packs will be released separately or as a single add-on to the Super Collection have emerged.
The game features music performed by Paramore, Ryan Ferguson, Trivium, Chiodos and more recording artists (all songs recorded in the Sims language "Simlish"). The Humble Brothers contributed heavily to the game.
Reception and legacy
The Sims 2 had a successful E3. The game also received the Editor's Choice Award from IGN and GameSpy upon final review of the finished product. From 71 online reviews, the average score was 90 out of 100. Seven of those sources awarded the game a 100 out of 100 score. X-Play gave the game a 4/5. Computer Gaming World awarded the game as their 2004 "Strategy Game of the Year (General)", beating out RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, The Political Machine, and Silent Storm. However, critics noted some serious bugs in the game.
The Sims creator, Will Wright, was recognized by being nominated at the Billboard Digital Entertainment Awards for Visionary and Game Developer. The game was also nominated for two international awards in 2005. The Mac version of the game won an Apple Design Award in 2006.
The Sims 2 was an instant commercial success, selling a then-record one million copies in its first ten days. The game sold 4.5 million units within its first year, and 7 million by October 2006. It received a "Double Platinum" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 600,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
As of March 2012, The Sims 2 had sold 13 million across all platforms and six million on PC, making it one of the best-selling PC games of all-time. During April 2008, The Sims 2 website announced that 100 million copies of The Sims series had been sold.
The Sims 2's malleable content and open-ended customization have led to controversy on the subject of pay sites. Custom content is distributed through independent websites, some of which charge for downloading materials. Charging money for custom content is a violation of the game's EULA, which prohibits the commercial use of Electronic Art's intellectual property.
On July 22, 2005, former Florida attorney Jack Thompson alleged that Electronic Arts and The Sims 2 promoted nudity through the use of a mod or a cheat code. The claim was made that pubic hair, labia and other genital details were visible once the "blur" (the pixelation that occurs when a Sim is using the toilet or is naked in the game) was removed. Electronic Arts executive Jeff Brown said in an interview with GameSpot:
This is nonsense. We've reviewed 100 percent of the content. There is no content inappropriate for a teen audience. Players never see a nude Sim. If someone with an extreme amount of expertise and time were to remove the pixels, they would see that the sims have no genitals. They appear like Ken and Barbie.
Prior to Thompson's statement, there was an enterable code which allowed to modify the size (including to zero) of pixelation accessible from the console menu. Shortly after the statement, subsequent patches and expansion packs removed the "intProp censorGridSize" code; this code had been left over from the beta testing stage of the original game and had not been intended for a public audience.
Editions, compilations, and add-ons
OS X version
OS X ports of the base game, six expansion packs, and three Stuff Packs have been released by Aspyr Media. The port for the base game was announced on October 19, 2004. The Sims 2 had reached beta status on March 1, 2005, and was released on June 17 the same year. It was, at release, compatible with Mac OS X Panther and above. The Sims 2 Bodyshop was also available for OS X. The game is now available for purchase with all ported expansions and Stuff Packs on the Mac App Store for OS X Mavericks.
The console versions of The Sims 2 featured local splitscreen multiplayer, a story mode and an option to control game characters directly, as opposed to queuing options as is traditional Sims gameplay.
Game Boy Advance version
The Game Boy Advance version of The Sims 2 takes place in Strangetown, and shares a similar GUI to its predecessors (The Sims Bustin' Out and The Urbz). Players are guided through a goal-oriented game based on the reality television concept in which partitions of the game are divided into "episodes". Characters from the previous handheld sims games also appeared.
Nintendo DS version
The Nintendo DS version of The Sims 2 (commonly referred to as "The Sims 2 Hotel") begins with the player's car breaking down in Strangetown. Upon arriving, an anonymous donor grants the player the deed to a hotel which can be operated and customized at the player's discretion. The player's job is to bring life back into Strangetown by encouraging people to come to the hotel, which players can do by upgrading it and making the guests happy. There are several ways in which a player can make Strangetown a nicer place, but is up to the player to find them. Unlike most games in the Sim series, this one takes place in real-time.
PlayStation Portable version
The game begins with the player's character driving through the Strangetown desert, presumably 'Road to Nowhere' in their car, when suddenly a flying green diamond (Also known as the Plumbob, the marker and logo of the Sims game) flies towards the player and causes them to lose control of, and damage, their car. Fortunately, the player finds a gas station. The player takes their car into the garage. At that point the player takes control. The player is introduced to a vehicle mechanic named Oscar who, after a brief tutorial in teaching the player how to talk to NPC Sims, informs the player their car will only take a short while to fix.
The player is then free to roam around the gas station, and after being introduced to some more NPCs, including Bella Goth, who claims to be abducted by aliens, completing tasks and being taught the basic objective of the game which is 'Secret Hunting' for the store clerk. The player then exits the shop only to find the garage around the back has completely disappeared along with Oscar and their car, with only the foundation of the garage remaining. The only thing left from the disappearance is a cell phone, which the player answers and a man named Doctor Dominic Newlow offers the player a job, requiring him or her to get a ride into town and find a place to stay.
The player informs Police Deputy Duncan about the situation who replies that he can do nothing about it and suggests the player find a place to stay. After having bought Bella's house for pocket change and getting donuts for Deputy Duncan (which happen to have been found in the trash), the player finally gets a lift into Strangetown's Paradise Place, only to find more tasks and mysteries.
The Sims 2 expansion packs provide additional game features and items. Eight expansion packs were released throughout the game's lifecycle. The Sims 2: Apartment Life is the final expansion pack for The Sims 2.
|Name||Release date||Major Additions||Neighborhoods||New NPCs||New Lifestate/Creature||New Careers|
December 12, 2005
|Universities, Young Adult age group, Influence system||Campus:
La Fiesta Tech,
Sim State University,
Académie Le Tour
Coach, Evil Mascot, Mascot,
|Zombies (Also in FreeTime and Apartment Life)||Natural Scientist,
March 27, 2006
|Dates, Groups system, Outings, Pleasure and Grilled Cheese aspiration, New relationship states, ownable cars, Attraction system||Downtown:
|Open for Business||Windows:
September 4, 2006
|Businesses, talent badges||Shopping District:
|Servos (Robots)||Shop Employees|
November 6, 2006
|Ownable Pets||None||Animal Control Officers,
June 11, 2007
|Weather system, Seasons, fishing, new talent badges,
|Garden Club Members,
December 17, 2007
|Vacations in different cultural areas||Vacation:
Wise Old Man,
Pirate, Tour Guides,
Witch Doctor, Ninjas
||Hobby system, lifetime aspiration system, new talent badges.||Main:
|Genie (Only NPC)||Oceanography,
||Rentable apartments, reputation system, witchcraft system||Main:
The Magical World
Social Group Sims,
High Witch of Light/Darkness,
Spectral assistant (played by cats), Human statues
Stuff packs are add-ons that intend to add only new items (usually in the amount of 60) to the base game. However, some releases include certain gameplay elements introduced in previous expansion packs. There are ten total stuff packs. However, The Sims 2: Holiday Party Pack served as the pilot release for this line of products, which were called "booster packs". After the success of the pilot release, EA named the releases "stuff packs" and launched the line with The Sims 2: Family Fun Stuff. The Sims 2: Mansion & Garden Stuff is the final stuff pack for The Sims 2.
|Holiday Party Pack||Windows:
||Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year themed stuff, plus new NPCs: Santa Claus, Father Time, and Baby New Year|
|Family Fun Stuff||Windows:
April 30, 2007
|Family-oriented Fairy tale, outer space and nautical themed items mainly for children's bedrooms|
|Glamour Life Stuff||Windows:
June 1, 2007
|Luxury, couture and glamour themed objects, floors and walls|
|Happy Holiday Stuff||Windows:
September 4, 2007
|All items from Holiday Party Pack plus added Asian and European holiday themed stuff|
||Wedding themed hairstyles, fashions and accessories, furniture, and other party enhancers|
|H&M Fashion Stuff||Windows:
||Fashion collections from H&M and H&M branded build objects|
|Teen Style Stuff||Windows:
||Goth, Thrasher and Socialite themed stuff for teenagers' bedrooms, teenage haircuts and new teenage clothes|
|Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff||Windows:
||Kitchen and bathroom objects, floors, walls and clothing items|
|IKEA Home Stuff||Windows:
||Fashionable furniture, floors and walls from the styles of IKEA|
|Mansion & Garden Stuff||Windows:
||Items featuring three new decorative themes (Moroccan, Art Deco and Second Empire)|
Core game editions
|The Sims 2||Windows:
June 13, 2005
|The first release of the core game on four CDs.|
|The Sims 2 Special DVD Edition||Windows:
||The core game on one DVD, plus a bonus DVD with exclusive content.|
|The Sims 2 Holiday Edition (2005)||Windows:
||The core game and The Sims 2 Holiday Party Pack.|
|The Sims 2 Holiday Edition (2006)||Windows:
||The core game and The Sims 2 Happy Holiday Stuff.|
|The Sims 2 Deluxe||Windows:
||The core game and The Sims 2 Nightlife, and a new bonus DVD that is different from the one included in the Special DVD Edition.|
|The Sims 2 Double Deluxe||Windows:
||The Sims 2 Deluxe and The Sims 2 Celebration! Stuff|
|The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection||Windows:
||The Sims 2 Double Deluxe, The Sims 2 University Life Collection, The Sims 2 Best of Business Collection, The Sims 2 Fun with Pets Collection, The Sims 2 Seasons, The Sims 2 Bon Voyage, The Sims 2 FreeTime, The Sims 2 Apartment Life, The Sims 2 Glamour Life Stuff, and The Sims 2 Happy Holiday Stuff|
|The Sims 2 Super Collection||Mac OS X:
||The core game, The Sims 2 University, The Sims 2 Nightlife, The Sims 2 Open for Business, The Sims 2 Pets, The Sims 2 Seasons, The Sims 2 Bon Voyage, The Sims 2 Family Fun Stuff, The Sims 2 Glamour Life Stuff, and The Sims 2 Happy Holiday Stuff (The Sims 2 FreeTime and The Sims 2 Apartment Life along with the remaining stuff packs have not been included due to their unavailability for Mac at the time of its release)|
Compilations of expansion packs and stuff packs without the core game have also been released.
|University Life Collection||Windows:
||The Sims 2: University, The Sims 2: IKEA Home Stuff, and The Sims 2 Teen Style Stuff.|
|Best of Business Collection||Windows:
||The Sims 2: Open for Business, The Sims 2: H&M Fashion Stuff, and The Sims 2: Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff.|
|Fun with Pets Collection||Windows:
||The Sims 2: Pets, The Sims 2: Family Fun Stuff, and The Sims 2: Mansion & Garden Stuff.|
Most of expansion packs and stuff packs were released with pre-order items. This game content was redeemable at the official site using a code supplied by the retailer from which the player purchased, each retailer was often associated with an exclusive download. A total of 60 pre-order items were released.
The Sims 2 Store
The Sims 2 Store was an online store where players of The Sims 2 for PC could purchase and download content for their game online for additional fees. It offered objects, clothing, skins, and hairstyles that are both exclusive to the store and also come from earlier expansion and stuff packs.
It also had featured seven exclusive item collections that could only be found in the store. The store used a point system that players can purchase. It was opened from July 2008 to March 31, 2011 as a beta version limited to the United States and Canada. To download, players must install The Sims 2 Store Edition and the EA Download Manager. The exclusive collections were "Cubic", "Art Deco", "Spooky", "Castle", "Asian Fusion", "Art Nouveaulicious" and "Oh Baby", including a total of 471 items.
The Sims 2: Store Edition and the savegame can't be used with The Sims 2: Ultimate Collection.
SimPE is an open-source utility for The Sims 2 that allows editing of Sims' characteristics, relationships and careers. It also allows the creation of objects. As the tool is intended for use by experienced modders, the SimPE interface is not considered intuitive and users risk corrupting the game files. TS2 Enhancer, developed by Rick Halle, is a commercial utility for editing characters and neighborhoods, but has since fallen into disuse.
- Aspyr published the OS X version
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