Sims: 20th anniversary – from The Sims to The Sims 4 – a brief history

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The Sims story – a speedy history!

It’s the 20th anniversary of The Sims today!

That’s right, it’s been 20 years since the game was first released to the world on 4 February 2000.

Now, 20 years later, it has sold around 200 million copies, been translated in 22 different languages, and is one of the best-selling game series of all time!

So, Ooboo Vroose Baa Dooo The Sims! (That’s Happy Birthday in Simlish!)

Lyndsay Pearson, general manager of Maxis, the develop team which makes the game, told Newsround it was “hard to believe” it was marking its 20th year.

“And we still have so many things we want to do,” she added.

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We chat to one of the makers of The Sims

But how did the game start, and why is it so popular?

The Sims – Humble beginnings

the-sims-game-characters.EA/Maxis/The Sims

Players could interact with iconic characters like the Goth, Newbie and Pleasant families.

The idea for The Sims came from game designer Will Wright, who in 1991 lost his home when it burnt down in a fire.

Whilst pretty sad, this experience gave Will the idea for a game where players can build and decorate their own homes.

So 18 years later, game developer company Maxis teamed up with EA to publish The Sims on PC – the first game in the franchise.

will-wright-sims.Getty Images

Will Wright developed the idea for The Sims, as well as the game Spore

Players could design their own characters, give them personalities and try to keep them happy.

The game had its own language – Simlish – and currency – Simoleons (§) – which players could use to buy houses, or the game’s 150 different items.

Six months after its release, the developers brought out the first of many expansion packs: The Sims: Livin’ Large.

It saw the introduction of alien abductions, Sunny The Tragic Clown and The Grim Reaper.

The Sims quickly became the best-selling PC game in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 until it was dethroned in 2004… by The Sims 2!

Lyndsay thinks one reason for the game’s popularity is that it allows people to be a better version of themselves.

“The Sims has continued to try and represent a better vision of the world, that we wish it were,” she said.

“We’re a little more optimistic, we have this slightly more positive version of the way things are and I’m really proud of that.”

The Sims 2 – The world expands

sims-2-game.EA/Maxis/The Sims

In 2004 The Sims 2 was released into the world bringing with it a host of new options and environments.

The new game introduced 14 locations, including Pleasantview and Strangetown, over 400 buildings and designing options, 350 new objects, and 10,000 available fashion options.

Children could now grow into adults in the game, and players also had more power over a Sim’s life to help them reach their goals, or create a bit of chaos!

In 2006 the Pets expansion introduced cats, dogs, guinea pigs and even birds into the game for the first time.

The Sims 3 – Expansions galore!

the-sims-3-game.EA/Maxis/The Sims

In June 2009, The Sims 3 hit PCs around the world, selling over a million copies in its first week.

This new game offered more diversity, creative possibilities and more expansions.

Its expansion packs included ‘Showtime’, featuring popstar Katy Perry.

katy-perry-the-sims-3.EA/Maxis/The Sims

The Showtime expansion featured Katy Perry

Customisation and the open world feature were two of the big things added to the game.

Since its release it has sold more than 10 million copies to date – making it one of the best-selling PC games of all time.

The Sims 4 – No boundaries

the-sims-4-gameEA/Maxis/The Sims

The fourth game was released in 2014 and featured some groundbreaking new changes.

The biggest of these was getting rid of the gender boundaries in the Create-A-Sim tool.

This meant that players could create Sims with any kind of clothing, body-type or voice, regardless of their gender.

However, the game did receive a bit of criticism at first from fans, for not including the toddler life stage, or swimming pools. The makers did introduce these features into the game at a later stage though.

New Game Packs like ‘Vampires’ and ‘Realm of Magic’ became super popular, and allowed players to experience things in a completely new way.

“I love that The Sims continues to be so flexible in dealing with the issues that affect the world,” Lyndsay said.

“It’s a place to escape real-life challenges but also process them and explore them in a safe way.”

The Sims 5?

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The Sims 4 has recently passed 20 million unique players around the world.

But many fans are speculating if there is a Sims 5 in the works, and if so, when it might be coming out?

Many people even created their own fake Sims 5 trailers on YouTube which confused a lot of people!

The company has not revealed anything about a new game yet, so until then, fans will just have to wait and see.

But Lyndsay says she’s excited to see how the players will continue to help change the change.

“Content creators – the people making their own objects or outfits or mods – I’m very interested to see how that could develop or where that could go over the next 20 years,” she said.

“I can’t even imagine, they continue to amaze me so in 20 years it will be astonishing.”


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