|The People Simulator from the Creator of SimCity|
NA February 4, 2000
PAL February 11, 2000
NA July 25, 2000
PAL August 15, 2001
|Engine||The Sims Engine (proprietary, custom)|
|Aspect ratio||4:3 (official)|
|Native resolution||800x600 and 1024x768 (official)|
|Platform(s)||Windows, Linux, Mac OS, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube|
|Input methods||Keyboard, mouse|
|Genres||Life simulation game, God game|
The Sims is a spin-off of the SimCity series, and was created by SimCity creator and Maxis co-founder Will Wright. The Sims was released on February 4, 2000, to wide critical acclaim and numerous awards. The success of the initial release led to the creation of a total of seven expansion packs for the game, and ultimately led to the release of other games in the The Sims series, including the sequel titles The Sims 2, The Sims 3, and The Sims 4. The base game itself has sold more than 16 million units, and was at one time the best-selling PC video game in history, until it was eclipsed by The Sims 2.
Overview[edit | edit source]
Strictly speaking, there is no primary objective to The Sims; it is open-ended and players are free to decide for themselves what constitutes success or failure. The game does, however, have plenty of clear secondary objectives, such as career and relationship success, although there are no set rewards for this. The player will need to make his or her Sim successful in many ways. Players must fulfill their need to sleep, eat, and so forth, just like real human beings. They will also need to find a job, be promoted, or even marry other Sims so that one can have a successful family life.
The architecture and the artificial intelligence system have both been praised by players. Players will need to build a well-designed house and put in different objects to fulfill the Sim's needs. Sims can only interact with the objects in their house. A player can control a maximum of eight Sims at a time; the Sim currently being controlled can be identified by the PlumbBob over its head.
Origin[edit | edit source]
After suffering a fire that burned away all his possessions, Will Wright was forced to find a new home and rebuild his life. It was this experience that inspired him to think of a game that simulates life, linking his ideas with the SimCity series he had developed. In 1993, he proposed the idea to Maxis but they rejected it, believing that computers at the time could not handle such a game. In 1995, he proposed it again to EA Games. This time, it was accepted. EA Games initially named it Project X, however for a short while it was called Dollhouse Simulator but after realizing that it would be hard to market to young males it was renamed to Tactical Domestic Simulator and eventually renamed it The Sims in 1997. Promotions for the game were first seen on the SimCity 3000 installation CD.
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
In The Sims, there is no primary objective or goal to achieve, and instead of fulfilling objectives, the player is encouraged to make choices and engage fully in an interactive environment. This has helped the game successfully attract casual gamers. The only real objective of the game is to organize the Sims' time to help them reach personal goals and succeed to the best of their ability.
Create A Family[edit | edit source]
In the beginning, the game offered players pre-made characters to control, as well as the option to create more Sims. Creating a Sim consists of creating a "family" (identified by a last name) that can hold up to eight members. The player can then create Sims by providing the Sim with a first name and optional biography, and choosing the gender (male or female), skin complexion (light, medium, or dark), age (adult or child), a specific head and body (bundled with a specific body type and clothing), and a personality (from among Neat, Outgoing, Active, Playful, and Nice.). The player cannot change a Sim's face, name, or personality once they have been moved onto a lot. However, a player can edit a Sim's biography by holding down the ^ Ctrl key and clicking on the Sim's face's thumbnail.
Building/Furnishing A House[edit | edit source]
Each family, regardless of how many members are in it, starts with a limited amount of cash (§20,000) that will be needed to purchase a house or lot, build or remodel a house, and purchase furniture. All architectural features and furnishings are dictated by a tile system, in which items must be placed on a square and rotated to face exactly a 90 degree angle with no diagonals permitted. Walls and fences go on the edge of a "square" and can be diagonal, whereas furniture and Sims take up one or more squares and cannot be diagonal. There are over 150 home building materials and furnishings for purchase in the base game.
The player can purchase several objects for Sims such as televisions, showers, beds, and fridges, each of them has a purpose which ranges from fulfilling a certain need or raising a skill or simply being decorative. Each item takes up a number of tiles on the grid and can be rotated to meet the player's desires. All items are pre-rendered.
Controlling Sims[edit | edit source]
Sims are controlled by instructing them to interact with objects, such as a television set, a dresser, or another Sim. Sims may receive house guests, which are actually based on the game files of other Sims in the neighborhood. The player cannot control 'visiting' Sims, although it is important for Sims to interact with one another in order to develop a healthy social life and gain popularity.
Sims have a certain amount of free will (if it is enabled in-game), and although the player can instruct them to do something, Sim characters may decide to do something else, or simply ignore the player's commands. Unlike the simulated environments in games such as SimCity, SimEarth, or SimLife, the Sims are not fully autonomous. They are unable to take certain actions without specific commands from the player, such as paying their bills. Thus, if left alone without any player supervision, the Sims will eventually develop overdue bills and their property will be repossessed.
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 by themselves, although often the player'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. In addition, the game includes a very advanced 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 initially limited role in the game was developed further.
Limitations[edit | edit source]
There are some limitations to The Sims, most notably that while newborn babies do eventually become children, they will never grow up to become adults without expansion packs or hacks. Also, adult Sims never age (or die of old age), and there is no concept of weekends. For example, adults and children are expected to go to work and attend school, respectively, every day. In particular, adults receive a warning if they miss one day of work, but they are fired if they miss work for two consecutive days. Children can study at home to keep their school grades up, but if their grades drop too far they will be sent to military school and will never be seen again. Sims also have path finding issues such as not being able to walk past chairs, walking on paved or carpeted surfaces even if it means taking the long way, and getting stuck in doorways if another Sim is coming in/out from the opposite direction.
Needs[edit | edit source]
The player must make decisions about time spent on fulfilling the needs of the Sims, these are: Hunger, Social, Fun, Comfort, Hygiene, Bladder, Room and Energy. These needs are filled by activities in the daily agenda of the Sims such as using the toilet and eating food from a fridge. If the simulated humans do not perform the proper amount of maintenance, they will sicken and die. Not fulfilling these needs has other negative side effects, for example if a Sim has lowered their energy need they will pass out where they stand which will lower their comfort need, and if they pass out in a swimming pool they will die. Furthermore, Sims need to have fun; if they don't, the fun level bar eventually lowers and they become depressed, but however depressed they become, they are unable to commit suicide (they are not programmed to do so). They are, however, able to be nasty to other Sim characters by insulting them, slapping them, and even attacking them. This has more to do with their relationship score than their mood, though. Sims in a bad mood are more likely to ignore player input and autonomously seek an activity that will increase their mood. For example, if a Sim's fun level bar is too low, they may refuse to look for a job or pay the bills and instead sit and watch TV.
Careers and finances[edit | edit source]
In the beginning all families have a §20,000 limit to buy a house or build and furnish a house from scratch. Money can be gained by sending the Sims to find jobs and going to work and earning promotions by fulfilling the required skills and gaining friends, if a Sim has missed work for a day they will receive a warning from their place of employment, if they miss the next day they will be fired. Additional money can be gained if a child is getting A Grades in school and their relatives will give them §100, or alternatively if a Sim has the creativity skill they can paint paintings and sell them for money. Bills have to be paid occasionally and failure to do so results in the repo-man repossessing some of the household's items.
School[edit | edit source]
Children need to attend school every day as there is no concept of weekends in the game. Children will need to study at home and go to school with a good mood in order for their grades to go up; this has advantages because relatives will occasionally call children up and give them §100 for having very high grades. However, if a Sim has F Grades in school for seven consecutive days they will be sent to military school, thus erasing them from the game forever, never bringing them back again.
Failure[edit | edit source]
While there is no eventual objective to the game, states of failure do exist in The Sims. One is that Sims may die: Types of death include starvation, drowning, perishing in a fire, electrocution, and by virus (contracted from a pet guinea pig, which can happen when its cage is left dirty). In this case, the ghost of the deceased Sim may haunt the building where it died. In addition, Sims can leave a household for good and never return: Two adult Sims with a bad relationship may brawl, eventually resulting in one of them moving out of the neighborhood forever; babies can be removed by a social worker if they are neglected, and child Sims can be banished to military school if their school grades remain at an F for several consecutive days. Although considered states of failure, many players occasionally deliberately mistreat their Sims to observe the reactions and for entertainment. This can be done with no consequences if the game state isn't saved.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- The Sims runs on some Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8/8.1 and 10 operating systems despite being unsupported. However, later releases of the base game after the release of The Sims: Hot Date support Windows XP.
- The Sims is known to be glitchy on Windows 10; only The Sims Complete Collection has been observed to install without problems. The game can be run in both fullscreen and windowed mode, although switching away from the game in the former has been known to freeze the game or cause heavy graphical corruption.  These issues are caused by bugged DirectDraw emulation, and by installing a DirectDraw wrapper, these issues can be corrected. 
- The Sims and its expansion packs are protected with SafeDisc, which is not supported by Windows since 2015.
- The Sims requires the user to be logged in as an administrator but it is possible to run Sims.exe as an administrator by using "Run as". If this is not done, the game will not run correctly as it cannot save progress, resulting in issues such as the expansion pack installation looping endlessly.
- The Sims uses a combination of 3D and 2D graphics techniques. The Sims themselves are rendered as high-poly-count 3D objects, but a house, and all its objects, are pre-rendered, and displayed isometrically.
- Some Windows 8/8.1 users have multiple errors with The Sims, such as the game crashing, the Create a Family window not appearing and a created family disappearing when moved in. Otherwise, escaping to the desktop will result in glitchy graphics and freezing for all users.
- It is possible to use custom resolution for playing The Sims, however it is considered incomplete and buggy. There is a solution to this, involving tweaking the game data.
- Copies of The Sims were discontinued after the release of The Sims Deluxe Edition, which bundled the base game and The Sims: Livin' Large.
- The Sims, its expansions and its console versions are no longer available for purchase at retail stores in most countries, such as Australia, and are now considered abandonware. However, copies can still be purchased at second-hand stores such as charity stores, pawnbrokers or any store that sells second-hand video games as well as being available to purchase on online shopping sites such as eBay, Amazon or Facebook Marketplace.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- In The Sims 4 there's a computer game on every computer named "Sims Forever" that contains footage from The Sims, with music playing and Simlish language. Mortimer and Bella can even be seen kissing in a hot tub for one scene. It largely uses footage from The Sims: Vacation.
- The Sims is the only Sims game that was not released on Origin.
- To launch The Sims in China, the Criminal career had to be renamed, being transformed into a mime career. All content had to be moved to a mime theme.
- This is the only game in the main The Sims series to not be fully 3D.
- The Sims is the only game in the franchise that can be run on Windows 95.
- The Sims is the only game in the franchise that had no expansions launched onto console, unlike The Sims 2 and The Sims 3, which often had pets as a console game, until The Sims 4 offered PC similar gameplay.
Legacy bug[edit | edit source]
A rare bug has been found that prevented users from installing any of The Sims products (such as expansion packs) if they reinstall an expansion pack. EA made the Sims Eraser to fix the problem. Users also experienced errors when installing The Sims expansion packs, since then SimsEraser.exe was included on newer disks.
This only occurs on the PC version.
Compilations and Expansions[edit | edit source]
Expansion Packs[edit | edit source]
The Sims spawned 7 Expansion packs (EPs).
- The Sims: Livin' Large (UK title: Livin' It Up)
- The Sims: House Party
- The Sims: Hot Date
- The Sims: Vacation (UK title: On Holiday)
- The Sims: Unleashed
- The Sims: Superstar
- The Sims: Makin' Magic
Compilations with the original The Sims game[edit | edit source]
The Sims has now been repackaged in numerous editions. These editions are not expansions in themselves, but rather a compilation of the basic game plus pre-existing expansion packs and additional game content. These editions include:
North American releases[edit | edit source]
- The Sims Deluxe Edition: Core game; The Sims: Livin' Large; The Sims Creator; exclusive contents.
- The Sims Double Deluxe: The Sims Deluxe Edition; The Sims: House Party; bonus content.
- The Sims Mega Deluxe: The Sims Double Deluxe; The Sims: Hot Date.
- The Sims Complete Collection: Core game; all seven expansion packs; The Sims Deluxe Edition exclusive content; The Sims Double Deluxe bonus content; The Sims Creator.
Releases in other regions[edit | edit source]
- The Sims Collector's Edition (United Kingdom): The Sims; The Sims: Livin' It Up (Livin' Large)
- The Sims & The Sims House Party Party Pack (United Kingdom): The Sims; The Sims: House Party
- The Sims Party Pack (United Kingdom): The Sims Double Deluxe, The Sims: Hot Date.
- The Sims Collector's Edition 2 (Australia): The Sims Deluxe Edition; The Sims: Hot Date; The Sims: Vacation
- The Sims Triple Deluxe (United Kingdom): The Sims Double Deluxe; The Sims: On Holiday(Vacation).
- The Complete Collection of The Sims (United Kingdom): Core game; The Sims Deluxe Edition exclusive content; all seven expansion packs; The Sims Creator.
- The Sims: Full House (Australia; New Zealand; South Africa): Core game; all seven expansion packs.
- The Sims 8 in 1 (Europe) Core game; all seven expansion packs.
- The Sims Commemorative Edition (Brazil): The Sims Deluxe Edition; The Sims: House Party; The Sims: Hot Date; The Sims: Vacation; The Sims: Unleashed.
Compilations of expansion packs[edit | edit source]
An expansion collection series was released in 2005. These were compilations of expansion packs without the base game.
- The Sims: Expansion Collection Volume One consists of The Sims: Unleashed and The Sims: House Party.
- The Sims: Expansion Collection Volume Two consists of The Sims: Hot Date and The Sims: Makin' Magic.
- The Sims: Expansion Collection Volume Three consists of The Sims: Vacation and The Sims: Superstar.
Another expansion collection series was also released in 2005:
- The Sims: Expansion Three-Pack Volume 1 consists of The Sims: Unleashed, The Sims: Superstar, and The Sims: House Party.
- The Sims: Expansion Three-Pack Volume 2 consists of The Sims: Hot Date, The Sims: Vacation, and The Sims: Makin' Magic.
Custom Content[edit | edit source]
The Sims was designed to allow players to customize their experience with additional skins and buy/build mode items available from the official Sims website, The Sims Creator or third party fan sites.
Custom Content support was also included in The Sims 2, The Sims Stories, The Sims 3 and The Sims 4.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
The Sims in one of its earliest stages, then still known as Project X
- The Sims 1 Trailer
The Sims official trailer
Advertisement for The Sims on the back cover of SimCity 3000
Media[edit | edit source]
Audio[edit | edit source]
|The Sims Theme|
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- "The Sims Franchise Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary and Continues to Break Records". Retrieved on 2 October 2014.
|"The Sims" Chronology|
|New game||"The Sims" Franchise||Followed by|
The Sims: Livin' Large
August 27, 2000
|New game||"The Sims" PC Series|
|New game||"The Sims" Series|
|New core game in series||"The Sims" Base Games||Followed by|
The Sims 2
September 14, 2004