The Sims (video game)

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The Sims
The Sims Coverart.png
Microsoft Windows cover art
Developer(s) Maxis
Edge of Reality (consoles)
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Aspyr Media (Mac OS)
EA Games (consoles)
Producer(s) Kana Ryan
Designer(s) Will Wright
Programmer(s) Jeffrey Charvat
Jim Mackraz
Artist(s) Charles London
Composer(s) Jerry Martin
Marc Russo
Series The Sims
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox[note 1]
Release Microsoft Windows
  • NA: February 4, 2000
  • EU: February 11, 2000[1]
  • JP: April 2000
Mac OS
  • NA: July 25, 2000
PlayStation 2
  • NA: January 14, 2003
  • EU: January 31, 2003
GameCube & Xbox
  • NA: March 25, 2003
  • EU: April 4, 2003
Genre(s) Life simulation
Mode(s) Single-player

The Sims is a 2000 strategic life-simulation video game developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. It is a simulation of the daily activities of one or more virtual people ("Sims") in a suburban household near a fictional city. The game's development was led by game designer Will Wright who is also known for developing the SimCity series. The Sims original series had a total of seven expansion packs produced from 2000 to 2003, with expansions adding new items, characters, skins, and features. The game has had several subsequent sequels; The Sims 2 in 2004, The Sims 3 in 2009, and The Sims 4 in 2014.


The inner structure of the game is actually an agent-based artificial life program. The presentation of the game's artificial intelligence is advanced, and the Sims will respond to outside conditions independently, although often the player/controller's intervention is necessary to keep them on the right track. The Sims technically has unlimited replay value, in that there is no way to win the game, and the player can play on indefinitely. It has been described as more like a toy than a game.[2]

Sims are influenced by the player to interact with objects or other Sims. Sims may receive guests, invited or not, from other playable lots or from unhoused NPC Sims. If enabled in the game's options, Sims have a certain amount of free will, allowing them to autonomously interact with their world. However, the player can override most autonomous actions by cancelling them out in the action queue at the top of the screen. Unlike the simulated environments in games such as SimCity, SimEarth or SimLife, Sims are not fully autonomous.[3] They are unable to take certain actions without specific commands, such as paying bills, finding a job, exercising and conceiving children. Sims communicate in a fictional language called Simlish.[4]

A lazy and sloppy Sim

The player can make decisions about time spent in skill development, such as exercise, reading, creativity and logic by adding activities to Sims' daily agenda. Daily needs such as hygiene and eating can and must also be scheduled. Although Sims can autonomously perform these actions, they may not prioritize them effectively. Much like real humans, Sims can suffer consequences for neglecting their own needs. In addition, Sims must maintain balanced budgets, and usually supplement an income by obtaining a job. Sims may earn promotions by fulfilling skills and maintaining friendships with others for each level, which lead to new job titles, increased wages, and different work hours. Alternately, Sims may also create and sell various artwork and items at home.[2]

The original neighborhood in The Sims consists of a single screen displaying all playable houses.

While there is no eventual objective to the game, states of failure do exist in The Sims. One is that Sims may die, either by starvation, drowning, fire, or electrocution. When a Sim dies, a tombstone or an urn will appear (In later expansion packs the Grim Reaper will appear first),[3] and the ghost of the deceased Sim may haunt the building where it died. In addition, Sims can leave the game for good and never return; two adult Sims with a bad relationship may brawl, eventually resulting in one of them moving out. Children will be sent away to military school if they fail their classes or if they have not fulfilled their needs (especially when hunger is very low), a social care worker will take them away from their household and they are no longer returnable.[4]


While gameplay occurs in the game's live mode, the player may enter build mode or buy mode to pause time and renovate the house or lot. When the game begins, each family will start off with §20,000 Simoleons (regardless of its number of members). These funds can be used to purchase a small house or vacant lot on the Neighborhood screen.[3] Once a lot is purchased, a house may be constructed or remodeled in Build mode, and/or purchase or move furniture in the Buy mode. All architectural features and furnishings customizable in the Build and Buy modes follow a square tile system in which items must be placed on a tile. Walls and fences go on the edge of a tile and can follow the edge of the tile or cross it, but furniture items cannot be placed on either side of a crossed tile. The base game contains over 150 items including furniture and architectural elements.[3]

In addition, the game includes an architecture system. The game was originally designed as an architecture simulation alone, with the Sims there only to evaluate the houses, but during development it was decided that the Sims were more interesting than originally anticipated and their once limited role in the game was developed further.[5]


Players have a broad choice of objects which their respective Sims may purchase. Objects fall into one of eight broad categories: Seating, surfaces, decorative, electronics, appliances, plumbing, lighting and miscellaneous.[6]


A Sim using a virtual reality simulator

The original inspiration for The Sims was Christopher Alexander's 1977 book on architecture and urban design, A Pattern Language. Game designer Will Wright was inspired by the book's focus on functionality in architecture, as Alexander based his design principles on structural usability rather than aesthetic values. Wright wanted to create a simulation game about enabling human behavior and interaction through design. Scott McCloud's 1993 book Understanding Comics became a big influence on the design of The Sims later on, as it advocates a certain type of "collaboration" between designer and consumer and outlines the value of abstraction for getting readers or players involved with a story.[7]

Will Wright started working on The Sims after releasing SimAnt in 1991. However, the game's concept was very poorly received by a focus group, so Wright had difficulty getting the project off the ground. He managed to convince his company to let him work on the project (codenamed "Project X" at the time) in the background while developing SimCity 2000 and SimCopter. He was lent one programmer for the project, Jamie Doornbos, who went on to become the lead programmer for The Sims. During the first few years of the project, Wright and Doornbos were primarily developing an open-ended system of character behavior. As the project continued, Wright found that the social aspect of the game turned out to be highly engaging, and the team started to focus more on the characters of the game, such as by letting Sims visit the houses of one-another and by implementing long-term relationships.[7]

The Sims uses a combination of 3D and 2D graphics techniques. The Sims themselves are rendered in 3D, whereas the house and all its objects are pre-rendered and displayed diametrically.[4]

For the game's Japanese release, the game was renamed to SimPeople (シムピープル) to match the names of the other Sim games from Maxis. [1]


The game music was composed by Jerry Martin,[8] Marc Russo, Kirk R. Casey,[9] and Dix Bruce. The game disc contains 37 tracks, of which 15 were published in 2007 as an official soundtrack album.[10] Most of the tracks contain no vocals, but some of them feature Simlish lyrics.

Expansion packs[edit]

Computer Expansions[edit]

The Sims has a total of seven expansion packs produced. Each expansion generally adds new items, characters, skins, and features.

Name Release date Description
The Sims: Livin' Large
  • NA: August 31, 2000
This expansion pack focuses on adding new unconventional characters, careers, items, and features for the home.[11]
The Sims: House Party
  • NA: April 2, 2001
Gives players the ability and facilities to hold parties and gatherings in their Sims' homes. Drew Carey also makes an appearance in the game if the player's Sims hold a good enough party.[12]
The Sims: Hot Date
  • NA: November 12, 2001
Adds a variety of new items, characters, and the ability for Sims to leave their homes and travel to new destinations. In this expansion pack, the new destination, "Downtown," is composed of ten new lots. Hot Date also introduces a revamped relationship system involving short- and long-term relationships. Sims can also carry inventory and give gifts to other Sims.[13]
The Sims: Vacation
  • NA: March 28, 2002
Introduces a new destination called "Vacation Island" where Sims can take vacations with family members or with other Sims and marks the first time Sims can stay on lots away from home. The game can be saved while a Sim is on Vacation Island. Vacation Island is split into three distinct environments: beach, forest, and snow-capped mountain. Sims can, purchase or find souvenirs, stay at a hotel, or rent a tent/igloo to rough it in the wild.
The Sims: Unleashed
  • NA: November 7, 2002
Introduces pets into the game. While dogs and cats are treated as Sims, other pets are treated as objects. Dogs and cats cannot be controlled directly like human Sims are; only their movements can be directed by the player. The expansion also introduces gardening and expands original ten-lot neighborhood to over forty lots, with the added ability to rezone these lots for residential or community use. Community lots may be modified to shops, cafes, and other commercial establishments.
The Sims: Superstar
  • NA: May 13, 2003
Allows Sims to become entertainment figures and includes representations of several famous personalities. A number of celebrities make cameo appearances but cannot be controlled by the player, and include Avril Lavigne, Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, Jon Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah McLachlan, Jennifer Lopez and Richie Sambora. Superstar adds new work and leisure items, and a new destination called "Studio Town," which functions as a workplace for celebrity Sims where regular visits may be required to maintain their fame and career, marking the first time where players can follow their Sims to work. Non-celebrity Sims can visit Studio Town for leisure.
The Sims: Makin' Magic
  • NA: October 29, 2003
Introduces magic to the game and allows Sims to cast spells, forge charms, and buy alchemical ingredients. Makin' Magic introduces the Magic Town lots, which house vendors of magical ingredients and items and a number of magic-related mini-games. It also introduces baking and nectar-making. Additional residential lots are included in Magic Town, marking the first time that Sims may live outside of the main neighborhood. These lots contain new aesthetic accents such as new grass textures, background sound effects, and a higher chance of growing magical items. This expansion also includes a disc with a preview of The Sims 2.

Expansion compilations[edit]

There have also been compilations of expansion packs without the core game released in only North America, and some parts of the UK.

Collection Name Windows
release date
The Sims Expansion Collection March 15, 2005 Volume One - The Sims: House Party, The Sims: Unleashed.
Volume Two - The Sims: Hot Date, The Sims: Makin' Magic.
Volume Three - The Sims: Vacation, The Sims: Superstar.
The Sims Expansion Three-Pack November 1, 2005 Volume One - The Sims: House Party, The Sims: Unleashed, The Sims: Superstar.
Volume Two - The Sims: Hot Date, The Sims: Vacation, The Sims: Makin' Magic

Repackaged editions[edit]

The Sims has been repackaged in numerous editions. These are not expansions in themselves, but compilations of the base game plus pre-existing expansion packs and additional game content.

Name Windows
release date
Features Region(s)
The Sims Collector's Edition March 23, 2001 Core game, The Sims: Livin' It Up. Europe
The Sims Party Pack 2002 Core game, The Sims: House Party. Europe
The Sims Triple Party Pack 2002 Core game, The Sims: Livin' It Up, The Sims: House Party. Europe
The Sims Deluxe Edition October 4, 2002 Core game, The Sims: Livin' Large, The Sims Creator (an editor used to create custom Sim clothing), Deluxe Edition exclusive content (includes 25+ exclusive objects and 50+ clothing choices). Worldwide
The Sims Super Deluxe Edition 2003 Core game, The Sims: Livin' It Up, The Sims: House Party Europe
The Sims Double Deluxe October 10, 2003 The Sims Deluxe Edition, The Sims: House Party, Double Deluxe bonus content. Worldwide
The Sims Triple Deluxe 2004 The Sims Double Deluxe, The Sims: Vacation. Europe
The Sims Mega Deluxe May 25, 2004 The Sims Double Deluxe, The Sims: Hot Date. North America
The Sims Collector's Edition 2 2002 The Sims Deluxe Edition, The Sims: Hot Date, The Sims: Vacation Australia
The Sims Complete Collection November 1, 2005 Core game, all seven expansion packs, Deluxe Edition exclusive content, Double Deluxe bonus content, The Sims Creator. North America, Europe, Israel
The Sims Full House 2005 Core game, all seven expansion packs, The Sims 2 preview disc. Australia, New Zealand

Cultural impact[edit]

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 89.74%[14]
(PS2) 81.05%[15]
(Xbox) 81.53%[16]
(GCN) 85.80%[17]
Metacritic (PC) 92/100[18]
(PS2) 83/100[19]
(Xbox) 84/100[20]
(GCN) 85/100[21]
Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 5/5 stars[22]
GamePro 5/5 stars[23]
GameSpot 9.1/10[24]
IGN 9.5/10[25]
ActionTrip 9.0/10[26]
Publication Award
GameSpot Game of the Year[27]
Game Developers Choice Awards Game of the Year[28]
IGN Best Simulation[29]

The Sims was first released on February 4, 2000.[30] By March 2002, The Sims had sold more than 6.3 million copies worldwide;[31] and by February 2005, the game has shipped 16 million copies worldwide.[32] By March 2015, The Sims had sold more than 11.24 million copies for PC, making it one of the best-selling PC game in history.[33]

In 2012, the game was one of 14 video games selected by the Museum of Modern Art as the basis for an intended collection of 40 games.[34] The Sims has won numerous awards, including GameSpot's "Game of the Year Award" for 2000.


Critics praised The Sims with positive reviews. It became a best-seller shortly after launch.[35] In 2002, The Sims became the top-selling PC game in history, displacing the game Myst by selling more than 11.3 million copies worldwide.[31] In the United States alone, The Sims sold 3.2 million copies and earned $129.9 million by August 2006. It was the country's best-selling computer game between January 2000 and August 2006. Combined sales of all Sims computer games released between January 2000 and August 2006, including The Sims, had reached 17.6 million units in the United States by the latter date.[36] By July 2006, the PlayStation 2 version of The Sims had sold 1.1 million copies and earned $43 million in the United States. Next Generation ranked it as the 45th highest-selling game launched for the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube between January 2000 and July 2006 in that country. Combined sales of Sims console games reached 3.5 million units in the United States by July 2006.[37]

As of February 7, 2005, the game has shipped 16 million copies worldwide.[32] Will Wright, the game's designer, said the game has been a success in many ways—attracting casual gamers and female gamers (the latter making up almost 60% of players).[38] In March 2009, Electronic Arts announced that The Sims, as a franchise, has sold more than 100 million copies.[4] Game Informer ranked it the 80th best game ever made in its 100th issue in 2001.[35] In August 2016, The Sims placed 31st on Time's The 50 Best Video Games of All Time list.[39]


A live action drama film based upon The Sims was announced in 2007.[40] On May 25, 2007, it was announced that The Sims film rights had been purchased by 20th Century Fox.[41] It was to be written by Brian Lynch and produced by John Davis.[42][43]


Since its initial release, seven expansion packs have been released, as have sequels The Sims 2, The Sims 3 and The Sims 4.

The console versions of The Sims were each followed by a sequel, The Sims Bustin' Out, and a spin-off game, The Urbz: Sims in the City. These versions incorporate some features of later PC expansion packs, and Bustin' Out adds a multiplayer mode supporting two simultaneous players.[44]

Sequels and spinoffs[edit]

Ports and remakes[edit]

The Sims and all its expansion packs were ported to the Mac by Aspyr Media, Inc.. The Sims was ported to Linux using Transgaming's WineX technology and was bundled with Mandrake Linux Gaming Edition. The WineX engine is unable to run the Windows version of the game. It was released on March 12, 2003.[citation needed]

A separate version of the game was released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube in 2003. Gameplay is similar to that of the PC versions and retains many of the core elements. Notable changes include a full 3D camera perspective (instead of the original 2D isometric viewpoint), more detailed appearances of Sims, and the introduction of a "Get A Life" goals-based story mode. The ports enjoyed a generally favorable reception, with Metacritic scores ranging from 83-85 as of August 2009.[45][46][47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Xbox version of this game is not compatible with Xbox 360.


  1. ^ "Game Guide". Computer Trade Weekly. No. 776. United Kingdom. 11 February 2000. p. 45. 
  2. ^ a b Boland, Eric (2010). The Sims: The Complete Guide. Vancouver: WTYW7 Books. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-557-84739-6. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Boland, Eric (2010). The Sims: The Complete Guide. Vancouver: WTYW7 Books. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-557-84739-6. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d Boland, Eric (2010). The Sims: The Complete Guide. Vancouver: WTYW7 Books. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-557-84739-6. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  5. ^ Thompson, Bob (April 14, 2002). "Guys and Digital Dolls". The Washington Post. pp. W08. 
  6. ^ Chong, David (2001). The Sims: Hot Date: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Prima Games. p. 60. ISBN 0-7615-3729-5. 
  7. ^ a b Rouse III, Richard (2005). Game Design Theory & Practice. Second Edition. Wordware Publishing, Inc. pp. 425–427. ISBN 1-55622-912-7. 
  8. ^ Jerry Martin Music - The Sims
  9. ^ Kirk Casey's - Credits Archived July 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ * The Sims: The Original Game Soundtrack at MusicBrainz
  11. ^ Park, Andrew. "The Sims: Livin' Large Review". GameSpot. Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  12. ^ "The Sims House Party, The Easter Egg - Drew Carey at Your Party". Retrieved July 15, 2016. 
  13. ^ Park, Andrew Seyoon (November 19, 2001). "The Sims: Hot Date for PC Review". GameSpot. Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  14. ^ "The Sims (PC)". GameRankings. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  15. ^ "The Sims (PlayStation 2)". GameRankings. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  16. ^ "The Sims (Xbox)". GameRankings. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  17. ^ "The Sims (GameCube)". GameRankings. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  18. ^ "The Sims for PC". Metacritic. Retrieved August 27, 2015. 
  19. ^ "The Sims for PlayStation 2". Metacritic. Retrieved August 27, 2015. 
  20. ^ "The Sims for Xbox". Metacritic. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  21. ^ "The Sims for Gamecube". 
  22. ^ Shif, Gill. "The Sims - Review". AllGame. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  23. ^ Samuel, Jason (April 23, 2014). "The Sims". GamePro. Archived from the original on February 9, 2005. Retrieved August 27, 2015. 
  24. ^ Park, Andrew. "The Sims Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  25. ^ Lopez, Vincent. "The Sims". IGN. Retrieved August 27, 2015. 
  26. ^ Jojic, Uros. "The Sims Review". CraveOnline. Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved December 1, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Best and Worst of 2000 - Game of the Year 2000". GameSpot. ZDNet. January 4, 2001. Archived from the original on June 7, 2001. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  28. ^ "1st Annual Game Developers Choice Awards". Game Developers Choice Awards. March 24, 2001. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Best of 2000 Awards - Simulation of 2000". IGN PC. IGN Entertainment, Inc. January 26, 2001. Archived from the original on June 6, 2001. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  30. ^ The Sims at MobyGames
  31. ^ a b Walker, Trey (March 22, 2002). "The Sims overtakes Myst". GameSpot. CNET Networks. Retrieved March 17, 2008. 
  32. ^ a b "The Sims Franchise Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary and Continues to Break Records" (Press release). Electronic Arts. February 7, 2005. Retrieved October 8, 2008. 
  33. ^ Guinness World Records (2015). Guinness World Records 2016 Gamer's Edition. Macmillan. p. 145. ISBN 9781910561133. 
  34. ^ Antonelli, Paola (November 29, 2012). "Video Games: 14 in the Collection, for Starters". MoMA. Archived from the original on November 30, 2012. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  35. ^ a b Cork, Jeff (November 16, 2009). "Game Informer's Top 100 Games Of All Time (Circa Issue 100)". Game Informer. Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  36. ^ Edge Staff (August 25, 2006). "The Top 100 PC Games of the 21st Century". Edge. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. 
  37. ^ Campbell, Colin; Keiser, Joe (July 29, 2006). "The Top 100 Games of the 21st Century". Next Generation. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. 
  38. ^ Patrick Huguenin (April 15, 2008). "Women really click with The Sims". NYDailyNews. But unlike other popular video and computer games, almost 60% of the people playing The Sims are female 
  39. ^ "The 50 Best Video Games of All Time". Time. Time Inc. August 23, 2016. Archived from the original on August 26, 2016. Retrieved September 19, 2016. 
  40. ^ "The Sims Coming to the Big Screen". ComingSoon. May 25, 2007. Retrieved October 31, 2007. 
  41. ^ ""The Sims" to move from PC screen to silver screen". Reuters. May 28, 2007. Retrieved October 31, 2007. 
  42. ^ "Producer John Davis Gives Updates on THE SIMS Movie, the Aliens vs. Predator Movies and Jason and the Argonauts! | Collider". 2008-09-21. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  43. ^ "The Sims movie planned". Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  44. ^ "The Sims Bustin' Out". GameFAQs. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  45. ^ "Sims, The (cube)". Archived from the original on February 4, 2005. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  46. ^ "Sims, The (xbx)". Archived from the original on February 7, 2005. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  47. ^ "Sims, The (ps2)". Retrieved August 10, 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • "The Sims". Archived from the original on June 3, 2002. Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  • "The Sims". Archived from the original on February 6, 2001. Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  • "The Sims". Archived from the original on November 9, 2000. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  • "The Sims". Archived from the original on October 8, 1999. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  • The Sims at MobyGames