Comparison between The Sims base games

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This is a four-way comparison of the 4 base games in The Sims series; The Sims, The Sims 2, The Sims 3 and The Sims 4, and does not include features from content packs unless otherwise stated.

General & gameplay[edit | edit source]

The Sims The Sims 2 The Sims 3 The Sims 4
Release date Released February 4, 2000 Released September 14, 2004 Released June 2, 2009 Released September 2, 2014
Content pack quantity 7 Expansion Packs 8 Expansion Packs, 9 Stuff Packs 11 Expansion Packs, 9 Stuff Packs 10 Expansion Packs, 9 Game Packs, 17 Stuff Packs, 1 Free Pack (so far)
Adoption Adoption cannot be initiated; option to adopt only appears If there are at least two living adults, regardless of gender. Pets can either be purchased at 70 Elm Street in Old town or adopted by befriend them while they're Strays. Sims can initiate an adoption, but must have §3,000 on hand. Apart from gender, adopted child's age (from baby to child) and name can be given (If the adoption center hadn't taken any child from other household, otherwise the latest taken child will be dropped to the adopting family). The Child will be dropped at 10 AM in the morning after yesterday's call. Pets can be obtained by either adopting a stray, purchasing from the pet display case, or by creating them in CAS and merging them to an existing family. Similar toThe Sims 2. Adoption no longer requirement for the adopting Sim to have eligible sum of funds.[confirmation needed] The Player can now even pick the gender of the adoptee. Adoptive parents will get days off after adopting a baby. Just like in The Sims 2, pets can be adopted or be put for adoption via phone or computer. Pets can also be adopted from residents[confirmation needed] Adoption can be done over the phone or with a computer, and there is a fee of §1,000 per child. The player is given the option to adopt a child of any age instead of being forced to adopt a random orphan. Adopting a child that's been neglected by the same household has no consequences. A pet can be adopted either through the phone or a computer with a fee of §200. Its traits, gender and whether it is neutered is displayed in the adoption pool. First and last name can be changed after adopting.
Aging Babies turn into children after three days, while other lifespans are indefinite. With Makin' Magic, children can age to adult by using a charm, but their appearances are chosen randomly and may change completely. All Sims age and eventually die, but only on the lot that is being played. Sims from other families will not age. Some life states do not age. All Sims age, on and outside lot, which can be changed in game options. Lifespan, aging, and age duration can be customized in game options. All Sims in all worlds age at the same time, unless changed by the player. Lifespan, aging, and age duration can be customized in game options.
Aspiration/Lifetime happiness No aspirations. Teens and older have one of 5 aspirations (additional 2 aspirations are added in Nightlife), which affect their Wants and Fears. Toddlers and children aspire to Grow Up. Secondary aspirations introduced in FreeTime. Aspirations are replaced with Lifetime Wishes and Lifetime Happiness Points. Aspirations return: teens and older Sims can choose one of twelve aspiration types, most of which have two or three variations that act like a Lifetime Wish. Children have four aspirations, with only one variation each. Toddlers don't have aspirations.
Bills Bills delivered once every 3 days. Bills delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Same as The Sims 2. Bills delivered once per week.
Camera perspective Isometric perspective with 2D objects and some 3D objects Fully 3D Fully 3D 3D, but world map in 2D
Chance cards Chance cards will force career change when at the top level of a career. Other chance cards may rarely emerge, giving out skills or money, or sometimes having no effect. Chance cards at all levels of career, causing gain or loss of rank, skill points, etc. Chance cards rarely appear and some have almost no effect on the job except for changing careers as in The Sims, and cause various moodlets. Chance cards appear occasionally, on any career level and have an effect on the Job Performance. Some also give various moodlets.
Maximum amount of floors Buildings limited to 2 floors. Basements, foundations and lofts not possible. Basic roof pitch selector. Buildings limited to 5 floors, or 4 with foundation. In expansions after University, this can be changed to up to 15 floors (without foundation) using cheats. Buildings with foundation can have basements incorporated into them. Lofts theoretically possible. Roof pitch can be changed (first in the cheat console in Pets, and later Mansion and Garden Stuff, where a roof pitch changer is added). Various roof types like pagoda and dome are added via expansion packs. Same as The Sims 2. In addition, basements were included in the World Adventures expansion patch, with 4 floors. The maximum building height is 5 floors, though there cannot be any full walls on the 5th floor. Foundations also don't count as a floor. Basements were added in Patch 15, and can be 4 floors deep. Roofs are more easily modifiable, allowing for better utilization of attic space and more customization.
Life stages 3 life stages (baby, child, adult). Babies are objects rather than Sims. 6 life stages (baby, toddler, child, teen, adult, elder. Young adult stage, added in University, is optional) 7 life stages (baby, toddler, child, teen, young adult, adult, elder). Same as The Sims 3. Toddlers returned in Patch 46. Babies are objects rather than Sims.
Marriage Family structures are not clearly defined. Marriage does little more than move a Sim into the lot and there is no scope to break up. Family structures very clearly defined, including family trees. Marriages and unions (the same-sex equivalent) also defined and can break up, most often triggered through infidelity. Same as The Sims 2. Same as The Sims 2 and The Sims 3.
Memories Sims do not collect memories. Sims collect visible memories and invisible memory markers for use in gossip. Memories returned in Patch 22, now with screenshots and fully customizable, as well as sharable online. Memories can be collected, but are optional. The player can choose whether or not the game prompts them to capture a memory.
Neighborhood/World All neighborhoods are the same and pre-designed. Additional neighborhoods can be made if an expansion pack is installed. Later expansion packs add sub-neighborhoods (also pre-designed and added automatically, cannot be removed). Sub-neighborhoods include Downtown, Vacation Island, Studio Town and Magic Town. 3 pre-designed neighborhoods (Pleasantview, Strangetown and Veronaville) which may be (to some extent) tweaked by the player, and terrains may be imported from SimCity 4. Additional neighborhoods built from scratch may be created and added to the menu screen. Additional pre-designed neighborhoods that come from other expansion packs are Riverblossom Hills, Desiderata Valley, and Belladonna Cove. Some expansion packs add the option of attaching sub-neighborhoods, pre-designed or built from scratch, to the main neighborhood. Sub-neighborhoods include College, Nightlife Destination, Shopping District, and Vacation Destination. 1 pre-designed world (Sunset Valley) in retail shipment. Player-created worlds can be created by using Create a World tool. Riverview is available for free download. Barnacle Bay, Hidden Springs, Lunar Lakes, Lucky Palms, Sunlit Tides, Monte Vista, Aurora Skies, Roaring Heights, Midnight Hollow, and Dragon Valley can be bought on the official site; Barnacle Bay, Hidden Springs, Monte Vista, Dragon Valley, and Roaring Heights also have limited hard copy retail releases and are also available as direct downloads from Origin. Additional worlds also come with expansion packs: Twinbrook, Bridgeport, Appaloosa Plains, Starlight Shores, Moonlight Falls and Isla Paradiso. Sub-worlds are Shang Simla, Champs Les Sims, and Al Simhara, all for adventure purposes; Sims University, the university world in the game; and Oasis Landing, a sci-fi futuristic sub-world. 3 pre-designed worlds (Oasis Springs, Willow Creek, and Newcrest, which was later added via a free update to the game). The Outdoor Retreat and Jungle Adventure game packs added the vacation destinations of Granite Falls and Selvadorada respectively. Additional Worlds also come with expansion packs: Magnolia Promenade, Windenburg, San Myshuno, Brindleton Bay, Del Sol Valley, Sulani, Britechester and Evergreen Harbor. The Vampires, StrangerVille and Realm of Magic game packs added the residential worlds of Forgotten Hollow, StrangerVille and Glimmerbrook respectively.
Interactive NPCs Only Townie-type NPCs are interactive. All other NPCs (e.g. maids, social workers, shop clerks, etc.) are not interactive. All but a few NPCs (drivers, Rod Humble, social workers, etc.) are interactive. Almost all NPCs are interactive with the exception of a few such as drivers. All NPCs are interactive and they will be replaced if something causes them to give up their roles.
Phoning Random phone calls pranking or giving out money. Couples will occasionally get a phone call asking if they want to adopt a baby. Phone will also ring to announce Sims being fired from their job. Other Sims never call. No prank or money calls, but friends and acquaintances may call at random. With Nightlife, Sims that were met in gatherings can tell other Sims about how fun the night was, thus random contacts may call up to ask those Sims out. Sims with less than 2 Nice points can make crank calls. Friends may call at random, opportunities also come via phone calls. Teens may pull prank calls if Generations is installed. Friends occasionally call to chat, ask to hang out or invite the player's Sim over. With a high Mischief Skill, Sims can do Prank Calls. In Patch 19, Sims that know the player's Sim can invite them to an event. For example, a child Sim may call another child for a playdate.
Plumbob PlumbBob color reflects precise mood: optimum is green, worst is red. PlumbBob color represents approximate mood: optimum is platinum, worst is red. Same as The Sims. Same as The Sims and The Sims 3.
Pregnancy No pregnancy, babies can simply appear after user says yes to random "Should we have a baby?" prompt after romantic interaction, or an adoption opportunity. No genetics other than skin color are passed down. Personality for children is randomly generated. Try for baby may lead to 3 day pregnancy for adult female Sim who is not within 5 days of transition to elder, genetic traits are passed down from both parents. Alien abduction via telescope may lead to 3 day pregnancy for adult male Sim who is not within 5 days of transition to elder. Same as The Sims 2. Alien pregnancy returned in The Sims 3: Seasons. Same as The Sims 2 and The Sims 3. Alien pregnancy returned in The Sims 4: Get to Work
Household accounts screen can be accessed, showing income and expenditure over past 3 days and current day No such screen. Same as The Sims 2. Same as The Sims 2 and The Sims 3.
School performance Children with failing grades are banished to Military School and never return. When a child in the family has failing grades, all children are taken away by a social worker (unless they're at school), and other families may adopt them. Sims with failing grades are never taken away to Military School or by the Social Worker. In fact, they never actually have to go to school. However, players cannot choose an extra trait when they age up. If Generations is installed, they will be grounded. School grades now function like career levels. Every Sim starts at the "C" level, and there are 5 levels: F, D, C, B and A. Some Aspirations require for the child to complete the age state with the "A" grade. Failing school doesn't bring any downsides besides negative moodlets.
Schooling options Children go to a single school. Children and teens go to public or private school. Teens can apply for scholarships and move out to a college, which transitions them to the Young Adult life stage in University. Children and teens go to a single school (5 boarding schools added in Generations). Children and teens go to a single school.
Number of skills 6 skills, 1 secret skill 7 skills, 3 toddler skills, 7 secret skills 10 skills, 4 toddler skills, 10 secret skills. Additionally, 18 skills added from expansion packs and 4 skills added from The Sims 3 Store. 20 skills, 5 skills for toddlers, 4 skills for children. Additionally, 21 skills added from content packs.
Skills distribution Only adults gain skills. Toddlers and older can gain skills Children and older can gain skills; toddlers can only learn toddler skills. Teens and older can gain skills; children and toddlers can only learn skills exclusive to their age group.
Time No days of the week, weekend, or days off work or school (Sims would not be fired for skipping work provided they did attend the following day). Sims cannot quit a job unless they get fired or get a different job. 7-day week with different days off depending on job. Children and Teens have the weekend off from school. Able to call in sick to work, or call work to quit. Elders can call in to retire. Same as The Sims 2, except Sims cannot call in sick to work, unless The Sims 3: Seasons is installed but Sims can still miss work at the expense of work performance. With some patches, Sims can take up to 5 unpaid days off work. Same as The Sims 2 and The Sims 3.
Wants, Fears, Wishes and Whims. No wants or fears All Sims except babies have 4 wants and 3 fears (Additional 2 wants and/or 1 fear, whether they graduate or get expelled at college). Wishes and promises replace wants. No fears. Whims and Goals replace Wishes/Wants. Whims are short-term and may disappear or be cancelled by the player. Goals are linked to Aspiration and remain until they are fulfilled. No fears.
Woohoo Prior to the formal introduction of the term, Sims can "play" in the Vibromatic Heart Bed[TSLL] or a hot tub[TSHD][TSV]. When playing in bed, a dialog box may appear giving the couple the option to have a baby. The term is used for the first time. Having WooHoo for the first time will trigger a cinematic and a memory. When done in public, Sims will react to it. There is also an interaction called "Try for baby" that is similar, but carries a chance of conceiving of a pregnancy if it is successful. Similar to The Sims 2. Both Sims no longer need to be relaxing on the bed for the interaction to appear. Public WooHoo returns in Late Night; doing so may give Sims the "Publicly Disgraced" moodlet if they are a celebrity. Similar to The Sims 2 and The Sims 3.

Differences in Create-A-Sim[edit | edit source]

The Sims The Sims 2 The Sims 3 The Sims 4
Accessories Jewelry, shoes, glasses, etc. not customizable, determined by the Sim's body or head style. Glasses may be taken on or off, other accessories are determined by Sim's outfit. Bon Voyage (and every EP after) introduces user control of jewelry. Shoes come with bottoms or one-piece outfits, and are uncustomizable. All accessories, jewelry and shoes may be customized. Hats and head accessories are attached to hairstyles. Same as in The Sims 3, with the exception of hats and head accessories, which are now separate from hairstyles.
Aspiration and personality Sims' personalities determined by 25 Personality Points placed in 5 different categories. Players are not required to use all points. Same as The Sims, except Aspirations were added, and all points must be assigned to a category. Personality Points and Aspirations are no longer used, instead replaced with a new trait system allowing players to give their Sims a unique and more realistic personality. Traits determine which Lifetime Wish matches with Sim's personality although this can be selected individually of trait too. Every Sim begins with 3 traits at the Young Adult stage, and has to choose an Aspiration. A Bonus Trait is given depending on the chosen Aspiration. The Aspiration can be switched at anytime. Completed Aspirations can give unique traits and Reward Traits can be bought in the Rewards Store in the Aspirations tab, meaning Sims can have 20+ Traits
Body size Body type dependent on types of clothes worn by the Sim. Thin, Fit, and Fat body types possible, with Thin or Fat types available in Create-A-Sim. Independent sliders for muscle tone, body fat, breasts, and a muscle definition slider. Muscle mass and body fat sliders are present. Every part of the body can be resized independently from the others using the new version of Create-A-Sim.
Changeable clothes Sleepwear, swimwear, and formalwear are chosen automatically. Sleepwear, swimwear, formalwear, underwear, athletic wear and (with Seasons) outerwear are chosen in Create-a-Sim. Maternity outfits are chosen automatically. Same as The Sims 2, with the exception of merging underwear and sleepwear into one category. Players can select up to 3 outfits per category (with the updated version of The Sims 3). Outerwear can be customized if Seasons is installed. Same as in The Sims 2 and The Sims 3, with the exception of Career outfits, which are no longer modifiable. During Pregnancy, Sims wear regular outfits and don't have Maternity clothes. Players can select up to 5 outfits per category. A new Party outfit category, which is used during various Social Events was added. Hot Weather and Cold Weather outfit categories were added in Patch 68, but Seasons adds functionality to them.
Family name Last name is the same for all Sims. Household name is last name of all Sims in the household. Same as The Sims, except when creating University students. In Create-A-Student, there is the option to give different surnames to each individual Sim in the household. Each individual Sim can be given a different last name. Players have the ability to change the household name. Same as in The Sims 3.
Family tree No Family Tree. Relationships between spouses, siblings, and parents/children can be established in Create-a-Sim.

Family Tree available in relationship panel.

Relationships between spouses, siblings, parents, fiancés and boyfriend/girlfriend are established in Create-A-Sim. A Sim's Family Tree is available to view on their main panel. Same as in The Sims 2, except for the Family Tree, which was additionally added in Patch 12. That is now available in the Simology panel.
Hair Hair color determined by the head style. Hair (and eyebrow) color determined by user with a selection of four colors. Hair and eyebrow colors are individually selected, and certain parts of the Sim's hair can be changed (roots, main, highlights and tips) with the new color chart allowing the player to give their Sim a natural hair color like brown or blonde, give them crazy highlights or select a vibrant color such as bright green or red. 16 hair colors are available in the base game. Hair, Facial hair and Eyebrows can be recolored independently.
Head style Head style determines hairstyle, head shape, hair color, eye color, facial hair, etc. Head style determines only the shape of the Sim's heads. Same as The Sims 2. Same as The Sims 2 and The Sims 3.
Skin Sims have light, medium, or dark skin. Sims have 4 skin tones ranging from light to dark Sims have a range of skin tones with a slider determining exact color, including three natural skin tones and three bizarre colors (red, blue and green). Patches for both Supernatural and Seasons later added more skin colors to choose from. Originally 26 skin colors were present in the game, representing various ethnicities. 3 custom colors, Green, Red and Blue, were also present. Vampire skins are also present. Patch 105 adds 100+ new skin tones with customization sliders.
Styling Head style and clothes selected by flipping through all available options. Hair styles, clothes, etc. selected from a gallery of thumbnails. Same as in The Sims 2, but choices can be customized with Create a Style. Same as in The Sims 2, except now each clothing item has various color presets.

Feature comparisons[edit | edit source]

This table shows which notable game features or objects are introduced in which pack for each game.

Features The Sims The Sims 2 The Sims 3 The Sims 4
Arcade machines / tables Vacation University Late Night Get Together
Apartments / penthouses None Apartment Life (apartments) Late Night (penthouses) City Living (apartments and penthouses), Eco Lifestyle (apartments), Discover University (penthouses)
Aquarium Base Game, Hot Date, Superstar (large)

Unleashed (small)

Base Game, Pets, Apartment Life (large) Base Game (small)

High-End Loft Stuff, The Sims 3 Store (large)
Late Night (aquarium wall)

Base Game (small)

Spa Day, Dine Out, Cats & Dogs (large)
My First Pet Stuff (aquarium table)

Basketball Base Game FreeTime The Sims 3 Store City Living
Beehive Makin' Magic None Supernatural Seasons
Bonehilda / skeleton maid Makin' Magic None Supernatural Jungle Adventure (skeletal assistant),

Paranormal Stuff (Bonehilda)

Bouncer doors None None Late Night Get Famous
Bowling None Nightlife University Life Bowling Night Stuff
Bubble bar/blower House Party, Superstar University Late Night City Living
Buffet table House Party Base Game Base Game Luxury Party Stuff
Butler Superstar Apartment Life Late Night Vintage Glamour Stuff
Campfire / bonfire House Party

Bon Voyage (campfire)

University (bonfire)

Base Game (fire pit)

University Life (bonfire)

Outdoor Retreat (campfire)

Get TogetherIsland Living, Snowy Escape (bonfire)

Cellphone / smartphone None University (cellphone) Base Game (cellphone)
University Life (smartphone)
Base Game (smartphone)
Christmas tree Livin' Large Holiday Party PackHappy Holiday Stuff The Sims 3 Store (free) Holiday Celebration Pack (free), Seasons
Closet None Apartment Life None Get Together
Cowplant None University The Sims 3 Store Base Game
Crystal ball Livin' Large None The Sims 3 Store Paranormal Stuff
Dance floor House Party Nightlife, H&M Fashion Stuff Late Night, The Sims 3 Store, 70's 80's 90's Stuff Get Together
Dance sphere None Nightlife Showtime None
Dartboard Hot Date Base Game Late Night Get Together
Diving board Base Game Base Game Base Game (Patch 42) Get Together
DJ booth House Party Nightlife Showtime Get Together
Dragon Makin' Magic None Dragon Valley Realm of Magic
Drink fountain House Party None The Sims 3 Store Luxury Party Stuff
Fireworks Livin' Large Holiday Party Pack World Adventures, Katy Perry's Sweet Treats, Seasons (fireworks),

Into the Future (DigiPlosion)

City Living
Genie Livin' Large FreeTime Showtime None
Greenhouse None Seasons The Sims 3 Store Base Game (Patch 68)
Guitar Livin' Large University Base Game Base Game
Horseshoes None None Seasons Outdoor Retreat
Hot tub Base Game Base Game Late Night, Outdoor Living Stuff, Showtime, Seasons, Island Paradise, Into the Future, The Sims 3 Store

Base Game (Patch 92), Perfect Patio Stuff

Hotel / resort system Vacation Bon Voyage Island Paradise None
Juice keg None University University Life Discover University
Jungle gym Base Game Apartment Life Base Game Base Game
Karaoke machine Superstar Nightlife Showtime City Living
Keyboard Superstar None Late Night City Living
Ladder None None Base Game (Patch 55) Base Game (Patch 95)
Laundry system None None Ambitions, Town Life Stuff, University LifeThe Sims 3 Store Laundry Day Stuff
Lounge chairs Vacation Base Game Base Game Base Game (Patch 81)
Love bed Livin' Large Apartment Life High End Loft Stuff None
Massage table Superstar Bon Voyage The Sims 3 Store Spa Day
Mechanical bull House Party None Showtime None
Microphone Superstar (Singing) Apartment Life (Singing) Showtime (Singer)

Base Game (Comedy)

City Living (Singing)

Get Famous (Acting)

Murphy bed None Apartment Life University Life Tiny Living Stuff
Ownable cars None Nightlife Base Game None
Pets Unleashed Pets Pets Cats & Dogs
Photo booth None Nightlife Showtime, University Life None
Piano Base Game Base Game Late Night Base Game
Picnic basket Hot Date None Base Game Cottage Living
Pinball machine Base Game Base Game The Sims 3 Store None
Pool slide Vacation Seasons Island Paradise None
Pool table Base Game University, FreeTime, Apartment Life Showtime, University Life, Into the Future None
Punching bag None Base Game (career reward) None Base Game
Restaurant system Hot Date Nightlife, Open for Business Base Game (rabbit hole),

The Sims 3 Store (open)

Dine Out
Restorable car None Freetime Roaring Heights None
Rocking chair None None Supernatural, Aurora Skies, Movie Stuff, The Sims 3 Store Nifty Knitting Stuff
Rodent Livin' Large Pets Pets My First Pet Stuff
Sauna Superstar Bon Voyage Sunlit Tides Spa Day
Slot machine Livin' Large None The Sims 3 Store None
Snowboarding Vacation None Seasons Snowy Escape
Soccer None Freetime Seasons Discover University
Stage props None None Showtime Get Famous
Styling station None Open for Business Ambitions Get Famous
Sunburn None SeasonsBon Voyage Seasons Island Living
Swimming pool Base Game Base Game Base Game Base Game (Patch 7)
Swing set None Base Game Base Game SeasonsIsland Living
Tea set Makin' Magic Bon Voyage University Life

The Sims 3 Store

Base Game
Tent Vacation Bon Voyage World Adventures, Island Paradise Outdoor Retreat, Journey to Batuu, Snowy Escape
Training dummy None None World Adventures StrangerVille
Vanity tables None UniversitySeasonsTeen Style Stuff Showtime, Supernatural, Movie Stuff Vintage Glamour Stuff
Violin None Freetime The Sims 3 Store Base Game
Voodoo doll Livin' Large Bon Voyage The Sims 3 Store Base Game
Weather / seasons None Seasons Seasons Seasons
Wedding arch and wedding cake None Base Game Generations, The Sims 3 Store Base Game
Wishing well None Seasons Lucky Palms Romantic Garden Stuff

See also[edit | edit source]