Everyone has that special piece of media that has created a lasting impact on their life. It could be a movie, television show, piece of art or something else entirely. For me, this piece of media would be a video game: The Sims, to be more precise.
Starting from the age that I was able to operate a computer, I have always loved The Sims. The first and second games were a bit before my time and not as easily accessible in stores, so I started with the third. It is one of the defining games of my childhood, and I really do not know what kind of person I would be without it.
Before I go off on a tangent, The Sims is a life simulation game developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. There are currently four main installments, with a fifth on the way. This does not include the many spin-offs, which span a huge variety of consoles.
The creator behind the game is Will Wright, who actually went to college and graduated in Louisiana! However, he eventually left the project behind in April of 2009 and handed off The Sims, as well as the Spore series, to Lucy Bradshaw.
Now that you’re familiar with what this series is all about, let me begin to ramble about what makes it so special to me. All of the games have such an undeniable charm about them, and have quirks that you definitely would not find in any other life simulation game such as this. Especially in the first three games, they are packed full of personality and little secrets to discover. Not to mention the lore that runs deep within the games, weaving a story that not many people are familiar with.
As a kid, I loved getting the freedom to create whatever I wanted and play out all sorts of storylines with my sims. It gave me hours of endless fun, and discovering all of the hidden things in the games was even more of an experience.
Despite this, I think what drew me back to The Sims, now that I am older, is the lore. When I was younger, I really didn’t understand the stories being told or what the premade sims were there for, aside from filling up space in the towns.
Now though, I can appreciate these storylines for what they are. The story of Bella Goth’s disappearance, the whole debacle with the Caliente’s and Don Lothario and even the sad tale of Agnes Crumplebottom are just a tiny tidbit of the history rooted within The Sims.
Although this series has my heart entirely, there are some things I can’t help but disagree with. The first thing on that list is definitely the prices of the games and the extensive lists of downloadable content that is offered. Electronic Arts has a habit of releasing half-finished games and churning out constant packs of paid downloadable content (DLC) for much higher than they’re worth, and people still buy them anyway.
They have done this all the time, but at least the previous DLC was adding to an already great game. In the context of The Sims 4, it is just implementing features that should have already been there in the first place. Another thing I dislike is how The Sims 4 is more sanitized and lacking in personality.
I have found lots of fun in the Create-A-Sim menu, but the actual gameplay can easily get stale. That’s why so many players create challenges to keep things fun and interesting.
Even still, there are flaws in everything. No matter what you like about a piece of media, you’re bound to find something wrong with it. That’s why for me, The Sims is still a masterpiece that changed my life. Getting to know the characters through generations of games and creating my own legacies has brought me more fun than ever, especially when I was at my lowest points.