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Why The Sims Will Forever Be The Greatest Video Game Franchise

 

The Sims is a single player, life simulation video game spanning twenty years, with four main series games, and various spinoffs games. The franchise has sold over twenty million copies and is one of the best-selling video games of all time. The Sims was developed by game designer, Will Wright who received the general idea when he lost his home in the Oakland Firestorm of 1991. As his possessions slowly got replaced, he imagined adapting such experiences into game form. When pitching the game to Maxis and EA (the now publishers), he described the concept as a “virtual doll house.” The first Sims game launched in 2000. 

The most recent installment is the Sims 4, released in 2014. Gameplay includes creating virtual people (or Sims) and expanding their lives by building houses, forming relationships, developing skills, learning lessons, and exploring various locations. The player ultimately has control over a world of people possessing certain needs such as bladder, cleanliness, hunger, social, fun, and sleep. These characters can be played through all stages of life until they die either by natural causes or other means (either way the grim reaper shows up, which is a popular game mechanic). 

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The Sims is a household name among gaming. Even those who actively stay away from video games have usually heard of the Sims. After a brief overview they may doubt the assertion that it is the greatest videogame of all time. After all, it has no centralized story or goal. To some, the concept may be seen as uninteresting, even cliche. However, I have experienced every main story Sims game. I grew up with the first game, hogging my cousin's computer trying to re-create my family members. I live through college with the most recent game as my main procrastination enemy. Something about the Sims has stuck with me for 10 years as the video game landscape drastically changed. Without a doubt there is something special about the world of Sims, making it the greatest video game for reasons I will explore. 

The Sims is one of the most simple yet complex games on the market. This is because it is up to the player’s discretion on what to make of their gaming experience. There is a power complex to the Sims. The life simulation aspect allows you to play God and recreate the world as you wish, the only goals to the game are the goals you set for yourself. This makes for unlimited replay value. Sims gamers vary greatly in their play style. For example: some enjoy the realistic aspect of Sims, undergoing trials and tribulations related to their life. On the other hand, other players enjoy it more when supernatural elements are sprinkled in to spice up game play. In that case, the Sims offer both realism and the choice to add in occult figures such as vampires, mermaids, aliens, and spell casters. The game's level of difficulty can also be up to you and whether you decide to use cheat codes. There is no wrong way to play. 

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      One of the Sims biggest strengths is the fantasy of wish-fulfillment. You can achieve anything you wish in a Sims game. If your dream is to have a super high paying job, go to college, have a family, excel at music, you can do all of those things. The wish fulfillment is not limited to a PG rating. There are various ways to kill the Sims (as well as mods to fill in gameplay gaps) and the Sims community utilizes them to their full extent of hilarity. One of my greatest wish fulfillment memories was reviving my childhood cats in “Sim” form. It was a surprisingly sentimental touch. 

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      The Sims-playing community has become strong and passionate since the release of the first game. The community has its own social media platforms and has become so invested in the next steps for the game, that the developers frequently utilize surveys to come up with new expansion/game/stuff packs. In some ways, the Sims community develops the Sims game more than the actual developers. Each Sims game comes packed with pre-loaded non-player characters (NPCs) for the player's Sims to interact with. The Sims community has frequently created richer character backstories for these NPCs and have even started conspiracy theories. These conspiracy theories can include infidelity, family drama, long-lost children, crime, and alien abduction. Almost like a soap opera.

      The community has spawned various SimTubers who create Sims related content for YouTube. Since the Sims has no linear story arc, fans use their creativity in order to make money off of playing the game they love. Some YouTubers play around with architecture and world-building, others utilize the platform to tell stories. There have been many challenges created for Sims play including the 100 baby challenge, rags to riches challenge, or legacy challenge among others. YouTubers could utilize pre-existing challenges or create their own. You can monetize your love for Sims in a variety of ways, rather than a simple play-through or challenge run. For Sims content recommendations, check out Kelsey Impicchiche, Vixella, LaurenZside, Plumbella, Deligracy, Lazy Game Reviews, and GrayStillPlays.

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Not only does the Sims present the player with an enjoyable experience, psychology says that playing the game has health benefits. According to Steven McKeown of McKeown Clinic, the Sims provide a realm of escapism from reality. He asserts that “the Sims can allow a person to escape social normality, its pressures and chronic stresses that are so prevalent in the real world, it allows the gamer to create a perfect reality in which they play the main character and have full control over the outcome.” Humans need a form of escapism every so often or else they will burn out. He also reveals that “our consciousness is very adaptable and allows us to create an opening to different paradigms of reality every time we focus on alternate versions of life through our thoughts.” This means games such as the Sims allow players to explore unknown parts of their personalities, interests, and desires. 

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The Sims has proven that its form of life-simulation gaming can stand the test of time. New expansion packs are still being developed for the current Sims 4 and the community is not ready to slow down. An official release date for the Sims 5 has not been released by game developers yet, but many fans speculate that it will come out sometime in 2021. Hopefully the next chapter of the Sims franchise will continue to improve upon the existing gameplay with fan-requested features. However, even without the addition of a fifth game, the Sims can already take their place in the entertainment hall of fame.

Sources

https://www.indy100.com/article/the-sims-players-healthier-happier-gaming-escapism-play-god-addiction-8193971