The Sims: 20 years in the game

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It is very hard to believe that it has been 20 years since, ‘The Sims’, was first released on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. Due to the game’s success, ‘The Sims’, was later released on Linux, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube and Xbox. It became so successful around the world to the point where Time Magazine recognised, ‘The Sims’, as being placed 31st in its ‘50 Best Video Games of All-Time’ list.

 ‘The Sims’, became one of the best-selling video games in gaming history; with the franchise selling nearly 200 million copies of its games worldwide and it’s easy to see why.

So, why did it become so popular when it is just a game about life? Well, Radar is here to help you answer that question!

‘The Sims’, first existed as an idea in a man’s head. This man is called Will Wright, a game designer. He got inspiration for designing, ‘The Sims’, after the events of the Oakland Firestorm of 1991, in California, took place; losing his home in the process. He then thought of turning a variety of life experiences that people can have into a game. However, his vision looked to be shattered by the Board of Directors at Maxis who doubted that the idea would have enough interest from buyers if it turned into a game. Wright’s luck turned around when Electronic Arts took over Maxis and the directors of EA were in favour of his proposal.

After the success of the first game, three sequels spawned. ‘The Sims 2’, was released in 2004 on Microsoft Windows and later, on other platforms such as the Nintendo DS and the PlayStation Portable. ‘The Sims 3’, was released in 2009 on Microsoft Windows and OS X. Then, it was released on mobile devices, the Nintendo Wii, DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo 3DS. The latest instalment of the franchise, ‘The Sims 4’, was released in 2014 on Microsoft Windows then on macOS, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

‘The Sims’, was originally intended to be a play on American consumerism and the culture surrounding it, after being inspired by many sources. One of which was psychologist Abraham Maslow’s 1943 paper, ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’, and his humanistic theory surrounding the 'Hierarchy of Needs'. Maslow’s theory was integrated into the game, with the game now being famous for having the requirement to fulfil your Sims’ needs, otherwise they could die in the game like in real life.

Even though technology has developed rapidly over the years, whenever, ‘The Sims’, release a new game in the series, they always release on Microsoft Windows first before any other platform without fail.

The idea of a stimulated version of real life appeals to many people, worldwide. It can give them an escape from the stress of the real world. They even get to have their very own Sim (and identity that they can associate with). Players can create whoever they want: whether it is their ideal selves, Sims based on their friends and families or someone who doesn’t exist. Players can use their imagination to build stories of their own that they can control the outcome of. It can also promote creativity by allowing players to build their own homes and other buildings – even entire neighbourhoods in ‘The Sims’!

'The Sims', has had many spin-offs due to its popularity. One thing hasn’t changed about, ‘The Sims’, regardless of the latest technology, and that’s the formula of how the game works. It lets players build their own idyllic lives and the act of story-telling never gets old! With the game's popularity proving just that. Let’s hope that, 'The Sims',  stays that way for the next two decades as well!


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