The Sims, the life sim most of us have played at some stage or another turned 15 years old in February this year. The Sims 4 released last year, but this week for the Retro Corner we take a look back at where it all began.
The Sims was released in February 2000 by Maxis, which has now become a part of EA Games. The lead designer of the game was Will Wright, who was also behind the games Sim City and Spore. The concept was fairly simple, it’s a life sim game whereby the player controls aspects of a person or person’s lives. These people are Sims and live in a city close to SimCity. There had been games similar to this before, one of the older ones being Jones in the Fast Lane, but none would match the freedom and hilarity of the Maxis title and this showed in sales. In just over two years the Sims sold more than 6.3 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling PC game in history!
Gameplay takes place in either build mode or live mode. Fairly straightforward, you can build and modify in build mode and live out your Sim’s life in live mode. You begin by creating your Sims or choosing one of the premade families we have come to know and love\hate, such as the Goths. There wasn’t a huge amount of customisation of Sims in the first game with just three skin colours and a handful of visual options. You could choose the personality of your Sims, using a slider to set values for personality traits. These traits were Neat/Messy, Outgoing/Shy, Active/Lazy, Playful/Serious and Nice/Grouchy. Each family is then given 20,000 Simoleons at the start of the game so they can buy or build a house. And so their life, or doom is in your hands.
After your Sims settle down they’ll have to get themselves a career, build relationships and walk down whatever path of destiny you’ve chosen for them. You may choose to allow your Sim to live the perfect life, or mercilessly ruin their lives. When they do get a job furniture becomes a key part of the game as it determines how much comfort they get from a couch or how happy Sims are in their surroundings. Depending on the traits you’ve chosen, different Sims have different needs, some are more outgoing than others, some would rather kick back and have a game of chess. Traits also dictate how your Sims behave towards other Sims. This could often be used to create mayhem by putting a neat, active, nice Sim with a lazy, grouchy, messy Sim. This is a relationship bound to cause arguments. There wouldn’t be any woo hooing in this house that’s for sure! If you did forge a relationship and manage to marry you might have a random suggestion to have a baby. You are then awarded a bawling bundle of joy that never shuts up, but has everlasting self cleaning diapers you never have to change. Oh if life was really that simple.
Sims can also develope skills, such as exercise, reading, creativity, and logic through certain activites. Daily needs such as eating and hygiene should be taken care of too. Sims sometimes do this automatically, but they’re not the smartest bunch and sometimes forget to eat and die of starvation or mismanage their time and get caught ummm…. Unawares…
There is a point to taking care of your Sims. They will often refuse to do other activities or interact with Sims if they become depressed. The grim reaper could also pay a visit for many different reasons. The aforementioned starvation, burning alive or catching a disease because you forgot to clean your guinea pig cage (you slob).
The game had some pretty catchy music your Sims could boogie to as well. You can check out this handy video below that allows you to skip to the tune you want to hear.
I’m sure if you were one of the people who enjoyed the Sims over the years you have your own tales of torture and success. So feel free to leave any fond memories of TS1 below. And here’s to Mortimer and Bella Goth! May their love last longer than that Sim you trapped in a swimming pool without a ladder.