The Sims

The Sims
The Sims
The Sims cover.
North American box art
Developer(s) Maxis
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Designer(s) Will Wright
Series The Sims
Engine Custom
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube
Release date(s) Windows
  • NA February 4, 2000
  • PAL February 11, 2000
Macintosh
  • NA July 25, 2000
  • PAL August 15, 2001
PlayStation 2
  • NA January 12, 2003
  • PAL January 31, 2003
Xbox
  • NA March 24, 2003
  • PAL April 4, 2003
GameCube
  • NA March 25, 2003
  • PAL April 4, 2003
  • EU September 21, 2003
Genre(s) Life simulation
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s)
Media/distribution CD-ROM (Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux)
DVD (PlayStation 2, Xbox)
Nintendo GameCube disc (Nintendo GameCube)
System requirements

The Sims is a strategic life-simulation computer game developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. Its development was led by game designer Will Wright, also known for developing SimCity. It is a simulation of the daily activities of one or more virtual persons ("Sims") in a suburban household near SimCity.

Contents

Gameplay and design

Instead of objectives, the player is encouraged to make his or her own choices and engage in the interactive environment with non-player characters. This has helped the game successfully attract casual gamers. The only true intended objective of the game is to direct and organize the Sims' time to help them reach personal goals, such as job promotions and relationships.

Life Stages

There are three life stages in The Sims: infant, child and adult. While babies spawn into children, children and adults never age. This means children and adults remain in their life stage indefinitely. All sims, however, can die from various causes (e.g. burning to death in a fire, drowning in a pool, starving, or dying from disease). If the player owns the Livin' Large expansion pack, a Grim Reaper will appear after the death of a sim. If a relative of the dead sim wins against him in Rock, paper, scissors, the dead sim will be revived. If the relative loses, the dead sim will remain dead and his/her tombstone will appear. The tombstone will appear where the sim died, unless the player decides to move it to another place, or just delete it.

Neighborhood screen, Build and Buy modes

While gameplay occurs in the game's Live mode, the player may enter Build mode or Buy mode to pause time and renovate the house or lot.

When the game begins, each family will start off with §121,000 (regardless of its number of members). These funds can be used to purchase a small house or vacant lot on the Neighborhood screen. Once a lot is purchased, a house can be built or remodeled in Build mode, and/or purchase or move furniture in the Buy mode. All architectural features and furnishings customizable in the Build and Buy modes follow a square tile system in which items must be placed on a tile. Walls and fences go on the edge of a tile and can follow the edge of the tile or cross it, but furniture items cannot be placed on either side of a crossed tile. The base game contains over 150 items including furniture and architectural elements.

Sims' Lives

Sims are instructed by the player to interact with objects, such as a television set, or other sims. Sims may receive guests, invited or not, from other playable lots or from a pool of unhoused NPC sims. If enabled in the game's options, sims can have a certain amount of free will, allowing them to autonomously interact with their world. However, the player can override most autonomous actions, by cancelling them out in the action queue at the top of the screen. Unlike the simulated environments in games such as SimCity, SimEarth, or SimLife, the sims are not fully autonomous. They are unable to take certain actions without specific commands from the player, such as paying their bills, finding a job, working out, and conceiving children.

A lazy and sloppy Sim

The player can make decisions about time spent in skill development, such as exercise, reading, creativity, and logic, by adding activities to the daily agenda of the sims. Daily needs such as hygiene maintenance and eating can and must also be scheduled. Although sims can autonomously perform these actions, they may not prioritize them effectively. Much like real humans, sims can suffer consequences for neglecting their own needs. For example, sims can die from starvation if they do not eat for prolonged periods of time. Needs govern the overall moods of the sims. The sim will complain to the player in most cases when they are suffering from neglect. If the needs are not fulfilled, the sims can become grumpy and unwilling to obey certain player-directed commands, particularly ones that further deplete the needs in question. This system follows the Maslow's hierarchy of needs, in which physiological needs must be satisfied before other needs can be attended to.

In addition to fulfilling their needs, sims need to maintain balanced budgets. The most conventional method of generating an income is to obtain a job. The game presents various career tracks with ten jobs (levels of promotion) in each. The original careers include Business, Entertainment, Law Enforcement, Crime, Medicine, Military, Politics, and Science. Sims may earn promotions by fulfilling skill and friendship requirements of each level. These promotions lead to new job titles, increased wages, and different work hours. The Sims: Livin' Large and The Sims: Unleashed introduced additional career tracks including those of Paranormal, Cooking, and Education. Other means of generating an income include creating and selling various items such as artworks and gnomes at home, or growing produce at home and selling them at a nearby farmers' market. The latter option is introduced in The Sims: Unleashed.

The inner structure of the game is actually an agent based artificial life program. The presentation of the game's artificial intelligence is advanced, and the sims will respond to outside conditions by themselves, although often the player/controller's intervention is necessary to keep them on the right track. The Sims technically has unlimited replay value, in that there is no way to win the game, and the player can play on indefinitely. It has been described as more like a toy than a game.

A neighborhood in The Sims consists of a single screen displaying all playable houses.

In addition, the game includes a very advanced architecture system. The game was originally designed as an architecture simulation alone, with the Sims there only to evaluate the houses, but during development it was decided that the Sims were more interesting than originally anticipated and their once limited role in the game was developed further.[1]

The first game of The Sims series has several limitations, most notably that children never grow up to become adults, though babies do eventually become children. Also, adult Sims never age (or die of old age), and there is no concept of weekends. For example, adults and children are expected to go to work and attend school respectively, every day. In particular, adults receive a warning if they miss one day of work, but they are fired if they miss work for two consecutive days. Children can study at home to keep their school grades up. If they miss too many days of school or fail, they are transported away to a military academy indefinitely. Because children cannot prepare food or earn money, nor room with another adult sim, they cannot sustain life on their own if their adult guardians die.

While there is no eventual objective to the game, states of failure do exist in The Sims. One is that sims may die, either by starvation, drowning, perishing in a fire, electrocution or by virus (contracted from a pet guinea pig, which can happen when its cage is left dirty). When a sim dies, a tombstone or an urn will appear in place of him/her. Their remains can be sold, or placed anywhere, inside or outside the building. At night, the ghost of the deceased sim may haunt the building where it died. In addition, sims can leave a household (and game) for good and never return, if fed up with another sim; two adult sims with a bad relationship may brawl, eventually resulting in one of them moving out. Children will be sent away for good if they fail their classes. Sims can also be deliberately killed by the player by various means, such as removing the steps to a pool they are in, removing the doors to a room they are in, or surrounding them by objects. They can also be locked into an "undead" state, by blocking them from exiting a hot tub or bed, where they will remain to interact with other players, despite having few or none of their requirements left.

The Sims uses a combination of 3D and 2D graphics techniques. The sims themselves are rendered as 3D objects, but the house, and all its objects, are pre-rendered, and displayed dimetrically.

Reception

In 2002, The Sims became the top-selling PC game in history, displacing the game Myst, by selling more than 6.3 million copies worldwide.[2] As of February 7, 2005, the game has shipped 16 million copies worldwide.[3] Critics praised it with positive reviews. It has been a success in many ways—attracting casual gamers and female gamers (the latter making up almost 60% of players).[4] Open-ended gameplay has been done before in games, such as the farming-based simulation series Harvest Moon, but The Sims has certainly gained popularity for this particular style of gameplay. In March 2009, Electronic Arts announced that The Sims, as a franchise, has sold more than 100 million copies.

Music

The game music was composed by Jerry Martin,[5] Marc Russo , Kirk R. Casey,[6] and Dix Bruce. The game disc contains 37 tracks, of which 15 were published in 2007 as an official soundtrack album.[7] Most of the tracks contain no vocals, but some of them feature Simlish lyrics.

Simlish language

Simlish is a fictional language appearing in Maxis' Sim series of games. Inspired by the code talkers of World War II, the Maxis development team created the Simlish language by experimenting with fractured Ukrainian, French, and Tagalog; Sims creator Will Wright also suggested experimenting with Navajo.[8] Debuting in 1996's SimCopter, the constructed language is prominently featured in The Sims series, and, albeit less frequently, in SimCity 4 and Firaxis' Sid Meier's SimGolf. Conscious of the need for in-game dialogue, designer Will Wright dismissed using a modern language due to repetition during gameplay and financial costs for international translation. Currently, on both The Sims 3 and all of the MySims games, the startup screens feature a clip of a Plumbob and the EA logo, along with a voice speaking in Simlish, which are the same "words" that a Sim uses to greet another.

Expansion packs

A Sim using a virtual reality simulator

The Sims is one of the most heavily expanded computer game franchises ever. In all, a total of seven expansion packs were produced for The Sims (listed in chronological order):

The Sims: Livin' Large

Release date: August 31, 2000 (North America)

The Sims: Livin' Large (known as The Sims: Livin' It Up in the United Kingdom) is the first expansion pack released for The Sims. This expansion pack focuses on adding new characters, careers, items, and features that allow for more obscure and extreme gameplay. Many of the games new additions may seem a bit out of place. For example, sims can transform into Frankenstein-esque monsters by ingesting certain potions made from the chemistry set.

The Sims: House Party

Release date: April 2, 2001 (North America)

The Sims: House Party is the second expansion pack for The Sims. House Party gives players the ability and facilities to hold elaborate parties and gatherings in their sims' homes. For example, sims can purchase dance floors, costume trunks, and buffet tables complete with hired caterers. Interestingly, if a Sim throws a really good party with a lot of guests, Drew Carey will make a guest appearance and mingle with the guests at the party. Conversely, if the guests at the party become bored, a mime will show up to entertain them with his act, only making them more angry.

House Party was reissued in October 2002, not only to mark the release of The Sims Deluxe Edition, but also to match the box covers of the Hot Date and Vacation expansion packs.

The Sims: Hot Date

Release date: November 12, 2001 (North America)

The Sims: Hot Date is the third expansion pack released for The Sims. Hot Date adds a significant new feature not present in previous versions of the game: the ability for sims to leave their homes and travel to new destinations. In this expansion pack, the new destination is composed of ten new lots and is called "Downtown". This new feature sets a new legacy for the franchise as all of the following expansion packs for The Sims add new destinations as well. At this city, sims can enjoy various activities such as eating at a restaurant, shopping at a store, and going out on dates. Hot Date introduces other new features such as a revamped relationship system involving daily (short term) relationship and lifetime (long term) relationship scores. Sims can also carry inventory and give gifts to other sims. As with other expansion packs, Hot Date also adds a variety of items such as the heart-shaped hot tub, cuddle swings, and items used to build eateries and shops. New characters such as the blonde bombshell, the matchmaker, and lounge lizards are introduced.

The Sims: Vacation

Release date: March 28, 2002 (North America)

The Sims: Vacation (called The Sims: On Holiday in the Republic of Ireland, the UK, China and Scandinavia) is the fourth expansion pack for The Sims. Vacation introduces a new destination called "Vacation Island" where Sims can take vacations with family members or with other Sims. This marks the first time sims can stay on lots away from home. In other words, the game can be saved while a sim is on Vacation Island. Vacation Island is split into three distinct environments: beach, forest, and snow-capped mountain. Sims can stay at a hotel or rent a tent/igloo to rough it in the wild. They can also purchase or find souvenirs. As with other expansion packs, Vacation introduces new items, characters, and features pertaining to the theme of vacations.

The Sims: Unleashed

Release date: November 7, 2002 (North America)

The Sims: Unleashed is the fifth expansion pack developed for The Sims. Unleashed introduces pets into the game. While dogs and cats are treated as sims, other pets are treated as objects. However, dogs and cats cannot be controlled directly like human Sims are, and can only be directed to move around by the player. Small pets introduced by the expansion pack include scarlet macaws, Greater sulphur-crested cockatoos, iguanas, box turtles, Fischer's lovebirds, and budgerigars. Furthermore, Unleashed introduced gardening, allowing sims to grow and nurture plants that could later be harvested and consumed. In Unleashed, the original ten-lot neighborhood that was featured in all previous games was expanded to over forty, and also provided an option to re-zone lots into residential or commercial. In commercial lots, one can build shops and cafes which sims can visit by calling the Old Town trolley to take them there. The theme of the game is considered to be Cajun or Zydeco. One could compare it to New Orleans' French Quarter with voodoo shops and jazz musicians appearing on commercial lots.

The Sims: Superstar

Release date: May 13, 2003 (North America)

The Sims: Superstar is the sixth expansion pack of the seven released for The Sims. This expansion allows the player's sims to become entertainment figures and includes representations of several famous personalities. A number of celebrities make cameo appearances but cannot be controlled by the player, and include Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, Jon Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah McLachlan, Richie Sambora, and Avril Lavigne. Along with new work items such as the runway and leisure items such as the mud bath tub, Superstar includes a new destination called "Studio Town" in which celebrity sims can utilize these work items to generate simoleans and fame.

The Sims: Makin' Magic

Release date: October 29, 2003 (North America)

The Sims: Makin' Magic is the seventh and final expansion pack released for The Sims. It introduces magic to the game and allows Sims to cast spells, forge charms, and buy alchemical ingredients. Dragons are also made available as pets to hatch from eggs, and can destroy a Sim's home and garden as well as provide spell ingredients. Makin' Magic introduces the Magic Town lots, which house vendors of magical ingredients and items and a number of magic-related mini-games. Additionally, Sims with enough MagiCoins (the newly-introduced currency) can buy lots to build houses in Magic Town, which provide special magical benefits and abilities. In addition, it introduces baking and nectar-making. This expansion pack includes a disc containing a preview of The Sims 2.

The theme of the game is Mediterranean and Eastern European/gypsy carnival.

Compilations

Core game with expansions

The Sims has been repackaged in numerous editions. These are not expansions in themselves, but compilations of the basic game plus pre-existing expansion packs and additional game content.

Name Windows
release date
Features Region(s)
The Sims Collector's Edition March 23, 2001 Core game, The Sims: Livin' Large. Europe
The Sims Party Pack 2002 Core game, The Sims: House Party. Europe
The Sims Triple Party Pack 2002 Core game, The Sims: Livin' Large, The Sims: House Party. Europe
The Sims Deluxe Edition October 4, 2002 Core game, The Sims: Livin' Large, The Sims Creator (an editor used to create custom Sim clothing), Deluxe Edition exclusive content (includes 25+ exclusive objects and 50+ clothing choices). Worldwide
The Sims Double Deluxe October 10, 2003 The Sims Deluxe Edition, The Sims: House Party, Double Deluxe bonus content. Worldwide
The Sims Triple Deluxe 2004 The Sims Double Deluxe, The Sims: Vacation. Europe
The Sims Mega Deluxe May 25, 2004 The Sims Double Deluxe, The Sims: Hot Date. North America
The Sims Complete Collection November 1, 2005 Core game, all seven expansion packs, Deluxe Edition exclusive content, Double Deluxe bonus content, The Sims Creator. North America, Europe
The Sims Full House 2005 Core game, all seven expansion packs, The Sims 2 preview disc. Australia, New Zealand

Expansions only

There have also been compilations of expansion packs without the core game released in only North America, and some parts of the UK.

Collection Name Windows
release date
Volumes
The Sims Expansion Collection March 15, 2005 Volume One - The Sims: House Party, The Sims: Unleashed.
Volume Two - The Sims: Hot Date, The Sims: Makin' Magic.
Volume Three - The Sims: Vacation, The Sims: Superstar.
The Sims Expansion Three-Pack November 1, 2005 Volume One - The Sims: House Party, The Sims: Unleashed, The Sims: Superstar.
Volume Two - The Sims: Hot Date, The Sims: Vacation, The Sims: Makin' Magic

Legacy

The Sims was first released on February 4, 2000.[9] By March 22, 2002, The Sims had sold more than 6.3 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling PC game in history;[2] the game has shipped 16 million copies worldwide as of February 7, 2005.[3] Since its initial release, seven expansion packs and sequels The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 have been released. The Sims has won numerous awards, including GameSpot's "Game of the Year Award" for 2000.

Sequels and spinoffs

Current The Sims logo. It was inspired by The Sims 3 logo.
  • The Sims Online — Online version of The Sims, where players can interact with other players in real-time
  • The Sims 2 — Sequel of The Sims; second generation of the main series - Set 25 Years After The Sims
  • The Sims Stories — Spinoff series featuring goal-directed Story Mode
  • MySims — A Wii spinoff focused more on building objects
  • The Sims 3 — Pre/Sequel of The Sims; third generation of the main series - Set 25 years Before The Sims
  • The Sims Medieval — First title in a line of spinoff products set in medieval times.
  • "The Sims Social" — Facebook Spinoff.

Other versions

Ports

  • The Sims and all its expansion packs were ported to the Mac by Aspyr Media, Inc..
  • The Sims was ported to Linux using Transgaming's WineX technology (now known as Cedega) and was bundled with Mandrake Linux Gaming Edition. However, the WineX engine is unable to run the Windows version of the game. Transgaming also acknowledges that the original port will no longer run on modern Linux distributions as is. It is important to note that a guide is available to get the game working with Cedega 4.4. The Linux port is unable to accept the various add-on packs intended for the Windows version.[citation needed] It was released on March 12, 2003.

Console versions

The Sims was ported to the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube in 2003. (It was originally for the Nintendo 64 and the PlayStation but was moved to later consoles) Gameplay is similar to that of the PC versions and retains many of the core elements. Notable changes include a full 3D camera perspective (instead of the original 2D isometric viewpoint), more detailed appearances of Sims, and the introduction of a "Get A Life" goals-based story mode. However, a number of limits are placed on the simulation to keep within the more restrictive system requirements on a video game console.[10] The ports enjoyed a generally favorable reception, with Metacritic scores ranging from 83-85 as of August 2009.[11][12][13]

The console ports were each followed by a sequel, The Sims: Bustin' Out, and a spin-off game, The Urbz: Sims in the City. These versions incorporate some features of later PC expansion packs, and add a multiplayer mode supporting two simultaneous players.

Film

The Sims (working title) is a live action, drama film currently in preproduction.[14]

On May 25, 2007, it was announced that The Sims film rights had been purchased by 20th Century Fox.[15] It will be written by Brian Lynch, the writer of Angel: After The Fall. The film will be produced by John Davis, who has worked on films such as Norbit and Eragon.

Website

The website made by Maxis for The Sims, is now disconnected after 11 years. It has now been replaced with just The Sims 3.


References

Inline

  1. ^ Thompson, Bob (2002-04-14). "Guys and Digital Dolls". The Washington Post. pp. W08. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A23856-2002Apr10&notFound=true. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  2. ^ a b Walker, Trey (2002-03-22). "The Sims overtakes Myst". GameSpot. CNET Networks. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/simslivinlarge/news_2857556.html. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  3. ^ a b "The Sims Franchise Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary and Continues to Break Records" (Press release). Electronic Arts. 2005-02-07. http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2005/feb/1114806.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  4. ^ Patrick Huguenin (April 15, 2008). "Women really click with The Sims". NYDailyNews. http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/2008/04/16/2008-04-16_women_really_click_with_the_sims.html. "But unlike other popular video and computer games, almost 60% of the people playing The Sims are female" 
  5. ^ Jerry Martin Music - The Sims
  6. ^ Kirk Casey's TayMusic.net - Credits
  7. ^ * The Sims: The Original Game Soundtrack at MusicBrainz
  8. ^ "The Sims Bustin' Out Designer Diary #3". http://uk.videogames.games.yahoo.com/ngc/previews/the-sims-bustin--out-e72277.html. 
  9. ^ The Sims at MobyGames
  10. ^ "The Sims (console)". The Sims Wiki. http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/The_Sims_(console). Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  11. ^ "Sims, The (cube)". metacritic.com. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/cube/sims. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  12. ^ "Sims, The (xbx)". metacritic.com. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/xbx/sims. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  13. ^ "Sims, The (ps2)". metacritic.com. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/ps2/sims. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  14. ^ "The Sims Coming to the Big Screen". ComingSoon. 2007-05-25. http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=20635. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  15. ^ ""The Sims" to move from PC screen to silver screen". Reuters. 2007-05-28. http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSN2519868120070528. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 

General

External links


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