The Sims: 20+ Years Defining a Genre

How The Sims became so popular and created their own space in a genre we didn't even know was there.

Creator and Creation

William Ralph Wright, game creator and designer, would also go on to found the Maxis game company, developer that has The Sims series as its flagship product, but let's get to that. The first game made by Mr Wright was “Raid on Bungeling Bay” also just called Bungeling Bay.

Bungeling Bay is a 1985 game with 2D, in the style Shoot'em up, where the player controls a helicopter and aims to destroy factories on an island, but Mr Wright realized that he had more fun in the process of creating the city than when he was destroying it.

But this just wasn't enough for the creation of his greatest creation yet, after all the process of creating the city is reserved for game developers, so he wanted to gather this feeling and convey it to the player, which process led him to creation of Sim City.

-- Advertising --

Sim City is already a step closer to The Sims, but in turn it was a paradigm shift, its publisher did not understand how a game without cinematic scenes and direct objective would be considered a game, not caring about the amazing features of the game they decided don't publish your game.

The concept of a game is just a matter of perspective.

Sim City would only be created when by chance Wright met Jeff Braun, who already had simulator projects which he hoped to publish as well, as expected he loved the idea of ​​Sim City and together Wright and Jeff will create the developer Maxis, publishing Sim City in 1989, and reaching one million sales in 1992, it was acclaimed by critics as well as fans.

Noting that games like train sets or dollhouses have always been favorites among children, Wright knew that if there was no clear objective in a game the player would be free to define it for themselves as well as the conditions of victory or defeat.

And so after releasing a series of simulators and a fire that destroyed Wright's house in 1991, the idea for The Sims was almost complete, because at the same time 3d home and bedroom development software was on the rise, realizing that just like him who needed to rebuild their home other people wanted to create their dream homes.

-- Advertising --

And so the development of The Sims began, but just building a house with all its furniture wasn't exactly a game, it needed to fill that void after the game was over, so they created the Sims. Virtual people who would live in the house made by the player and could perform daily tasks that result in the need for time management.

So the idea for The Sims was ready, but a new problem had arisen, Maxis could not produce any other game with the same initial potential as Sim City, only when Maxis was bought by Electronic Arts (EA) in 1997 that Wright had the resources and the necessary team to create The Sims.

In February 2000, The Sims was released for Computers, giving players the freedom to choose to create their own. sims or already select pre-defined ones, distributing personality points which would influence the way they interact with the world.

The Sims
south south

All current games can be seen on your main page of EA.


Some fun facts about The Sims, Maxis and Wright its creator:

-- Advertising --
  • Wright created the initial idea for The Sims while playing with his daughter.

The whole adult dollhouse idea came from an actual play between Wright and his daughter while they were playing.

  • Maxis has created sequel games to Sim City including "Sim City 2000, "Sim City 3000", "Sim City 4", "Sim City Societies" and "Sim City (Rebot)".

Despite not having the same popularity as The Sim, SimCity was the one that led to its creation and yet it maintained its own popularity and had sequels.

  • Maxis has also created more than 10 “Yes” titles including on topics like Golf and even ants.

From the first SimCity to The Sims were created several other titles that despite not having been so popular they were still important for the creation of The Sims.

  • The “Sim Ant” game that simulates the behavior of ants took the complexity of Sims in "The Sims"

Among the games before The Sims, the anthill simulator worked by category and its respective function, which generated a lot of interest in Wright on Time Management.

  • Maxis also created a game that many remember, “Pinball 3D espace cadet” for Windows.

If you had a computer in the early 2000s, you have a good chance that you will remember this game, a dear one by the Minesweeper.

-- Advertising --
  • The Sims has its own language called simlish.

What led The Sims to create their own language were two factors, the first, this leaves all the conversation to the player's imagination, creating their own stories and increasing the fantasy of the game, the second, if The Sims were left with phrases being repeated all the while he could be irritating and cloying.

  • The Sims was released only for PC, having to be re-released for consoles like PS2, Xbox and Game Cube.

Despite its extreme popularity on the computer, The Sims was not that popular on consoles, mainly because in the beginning the game modes were different from the computer, there was the story mode and the creation mode had a limit on the items that could be put into their games. houses.

  • The Sims used methods that mixed 2D and 3D for better optimization.

As it's a 2000's game, The Sims had to adapt some things to improve performance for the devices of the time, so only the Sims were 3D while the symmetrical objects were 2D.

  • The Sims was and is extremely popular with women, making up almost half of the players in the first game.

Especially for the 2000s, women were a minority in the gaming market, so a game with 50% of base players being women was a big topic and a great introduction for many to the gaming world.

  • The Sims even announced an animated series, which ended up not being made and shelved.

Despite being announced, the project was abandoned without further explanation.

-- Advertising --
  • The Sims had may also have a movie.

With all the popularity The Sims had a movie announced in 2007 by 20th Century Fox, with the participation of real characters being a live-action, but in 2019 Fox was bought by Disney who abandoned the project, in 2020 Legendary Pictures created a new project unrelated to the previous one for a movie.

  • The Sims Online had its own economy, which was eventually lost to a bug that doubled the money.

The Sims online cost $9,99 a month and had an entire guild system and players made their own in-game mafia, along with their own economy which was "broken" by a bug in a wardrobe that doubled the money .

  • The Sims 2 was voted best twice strategy game of all time.

The site Metacritic, is famous for gathering critics of games and the like, gathering in one place and distributing in several categories among which the best of each modality, The Sims 2 took first place as best strategy game of all time twice.

  • The Sims 3 was the first game in the franchise to be created by The Sims Studios.

After the creation of The Sims Studios, The Sims 3 was the first game in the The Sims franchise to be created by a studio completely dedicated to its creation, which was one of the reasons behind its great success.

  • The Sims 3 did not have Wright's participation in its development.

Despite the absence of its original creator in the development of The Sims 3, Wirght no longer participated directly from the creation of The Sims 2, but from The Sims 3 is when he has no involvement, officially leaving EA and consequently Maxis to dedicate himself to an old project, the Stupid Fun Club.

-- Advertising --
  • The Sims 4 was not that popular on its release, after several patches was becoming the phenomenon it is today.

After the spectacular success of The Sims 3, expectations were very high for its successor, which did not meet them, at least initially.

  • The Sims 4 has had over 40 Patches of Updates and Fixes, started with a dwarf.

Shortly after the release and over the years several patch updates have added to the things that were missing in the game initially and thus starting to meet the expectations of players, however the first item to be fixed in-game was a garden dwarf.

  • On The Sims 20th birthday, he gave all The Sims 4 players a whirlpool.

Many players were not so happy with this gift, despite being a highly requested item due to its absence at the start of the game, the whirlpool had already been added to the game years before, with the result that by the time they received the in-game item the vast majority of players already owned the item.

  • In its first year of The Sims 4 players had created 92.800.000 billion of Sims.

At the end of the first year an information banner was released containing how many characters had been created in The Sims, as well as the number of deaths, marriages and even divorces.

  • The Sims 4 is currently the game with the most players in the franchise and will turn 7 years old in 2021.

Passing the 30 million player mark, The Sims 4 is surprisingly not the most popular game, in fact despite all players it ranks 7th in popularity among the franchise.

-- Advertising --
  • Across the entire The Sims franchise has sold over 107.000.000 copies.

The 100 million mark is a huge achievement, and shows how much this franchise has managed to affect people's lives as well as how important its creation was for a new genre.

Mentioned by Wright, in response to modern life there are several functions in every person's subconscious, managing the time that was transmitted to the game.

There is a whole layer of time management in our subconscious.

At its core: Our life is a real-time strategy.


Some of the main games in the franchise, having been on the market for over 20 years for several titles, but some are more popular than others, let's focus on that.

-- Advertising --

The Sims (2000)

The first game that broke several paradigms, without winning conditions, it was still possible to "lose" if your Sims died, lost a job or friendships with neighbors, but whether this is seen as a defeat is entirely up to the player.

In addition, the game has great direct and indirect influences on the state of your Sims, he could be happy and healthy depending on his diet, as well as disliking a specific type of person to interact with made him anxious.

The Sims Online (2002)

Sequencing the franchise, The Sims Online has not had any graphical improvements but more depth has been added to the game, making controls over the Sims was much more complex and continuing with tasks that were just extra like going to work.

Now you could perform tasks that were automatic and more than that, the fact that the game was online was something extraordinary at the time, making everyone able to have their perfect families in the digital world and interact with the family of friends and relatives.

The Sims 2 (2004)

Now it had a significant graphical improvement, and to give even more depth to the game, the system of aspirations was introduced, such as goals and desires of its users. Sims, when completed gave rewards, making the player look even more focused on certain aspects.

-- Advertising --

The Personality system was so important in the game as it didn't just make it the way your Sims she saw the world change but it was also possible to pass on traits of her in their families, making the children of a couple could have their own personalities with looks and appearance that reminded them of their parents.

In addition The Sims 2 had 8 expansions over time, among them the most popular were "college life" self-explanatory and "Pet" putting various breeds of animals from the real world and with customization option.

The Sims 3 (2009)

It was developed by The Sims Studios, a division created in 2005, specifically for the development of The Sims Games of the franchise within EA, being the first "open world" game, so far players have only moved to their backyard. houses.

The Sims 3 also had 11 expansions, among them the most popular were "Around the World" bringing 3 new places to travel based on real countries, Pets keeping the improvements of The Sims 2 and only in its first week it sold more than 1.4 Millions of copies.

The Sims Medieval (2011)

What would happen if they turned The Sims into a game with rpg elements? The Medieval Sims is your answer, cutting the basic 8 stats to just 2, hunger and energy, now the game had a mission system so you could build your own empire and aspects of the era complete with plagues and riots.

-- Advertising --

Including different castles from different cultures, which you could fully decorate, but if you would like to build your own castle, you might be slightly disappointed.

The Sims Social (2011)

A craze that generated multiple game invites from your friends within Facebook, The Sims Social was a browser version that was extremely popular, reaching 16 Million players in its first week, The Sims Social featured a 2D graphic which it made it look nostalgic and pleasant.

But despite its popularity, it was discontinued after only 2 years, a short time compared to other games in The Sims franchise, and its discontinuation was given by lack of additional content and some bugs, making the game fall in popularity over time.

The Sims FreePlay (2011)

2011 was a great year for The Sims, and complete with the mobile version of the game, which is continued until today, being the first mobile game has a great particularity, being real time, this means that every hour in the game is exactly an hour in the real world, their actions were time consuming and needed to be well ordered to be efficient.

The Sims 4 (2015)

Being the biggest and most complete game in the series it is also a fan favorite, however on its release it was so criticized that its biggest flaw was said to have been having The Sims 3 as its predecessor.

-- Advertising --

Over time The Sims 4, which already had the most complex system of emotions and personalities, gained all the graphical and playable depth that its predecessor had, with several neighborhoods and secrets with each added expansion.

The Sims 4 also changed the house creation system by adding pre-molded rooms, which you could still change every aspect including the distances to walls and the location of items, making players who would rather spend more time in the game than in construction. as well as those who prefer this aspect to be satisfied.

The Sims: 20+ Years of Defining a Genre | 0d9891f1 01 | maxis, the sims, the sims 2, the sims 3, the sims 4, the sims mobile | the sims reviews
The Sims Mobile


What to say about the popularity of a franchise with more than 20 years in the market whose games were not only popular but defined their own genre, simulator of life.

The Sims 4 doesn't seem to have any signs of stalling or losing its popularity, in fact plans were announced on 17/05/2021 for updates planned for 2021, including news on Sims creation features and a summer expansion .

The Sims: 20+ Years of Defining a Genre | d9eff187 03 | maxis, the sims, the sims 2, the sims 3, the sims 4, the sims mobile | the sims reviews
The Sims: 20+ Years Defining a Genre | Maxis, the sims, the sims 2, the sims 3, the sims 4, the sims mobile | the Sims

You can follow the official page of The Sims on Twitter and stay on top of the news.

-- Advertising --

Dlc's and Easter eggs

Over time it's no wonder The Sims had some dlcs that stood out more than others, including secrets and Easter Eggs, such as the participation of famous musicians making songs in The Sims' official language, simlish.

The Black Eyed Peas, in The Sims Urbs, a variation set in town and aimed at becoming a famous rapper.

Paramore also had the song pressure included in The Sims 2 game.

My chemical romance with the song “Na Na Na” was another big hit, being part of the “Late night” expansion on The Sims 3.

Katy Perry not only sang the song “friday night” in Simlish, she had an entire expansion pack dedicated to the singer, which was priced twice as much as other packs.

-- Advertising --

There were also other contestants throughout The Sims franchise, such as Lily Alen and Neon Trees.


A favorite of the Ths Sims franchise is the College Life expansion, added in The Sims 2 first, it was such a hit that it secured a spot in the franchise's upcoming games, making it a completely necessary item.

Star Wars Journey to Batuu was one of the latest additions giving fans of the series the opportunity to create an environment filled with references, including clothes, lightsabers, races of the universe and your own droid companion, customizable and with multiple interactions, including a favorite , O Driod series BB, present in the last trilogy.

And the "Seasons" dlc including climate change is the number one among The Sims most popular dlc's, initially included in The Sims Urbz, having a weather system that was loved by fans, has been tweaked to have all of the four seasons of the year.

Easter Eggs

There's not enough room to include all the easter eggs throughout the series, and you can also take some of the fun out of exploring the world, so let's just introduce two of The Sims 4's main ones:

-- Advertising --

The Sims second world includes the Oasis Springs area, which includes an abandoned mine with its text exploration game mode, to access the mine you need the mechanic skill at level 10, but after exploration you find one. very beautiful hidden area, being a small reward for curiosity.

In Willow Greek, there is a mushroom covered tree that you can interact with, keep interacting until you release the option to water the tree, then do the same until you can praise the tree, repeat the process until you can explore, when presented with the option to travel, travel and you will find a special area where you can improve your fishing skill.

See too:

-- Advertising --

Learn All About The Sims 5

New content from The Sims 4 leaks on Microsoft Store

The 40 best Mods of The Sims 4 for PC and how to install

Discover now 15 Fun Facts About The Sims You Won't See Around

-- Advertising --
Avatar of Lucas

Enthusiastic student of games, with hobby of reading and hobby of writing. She loves doing research and taking care of the documentation.