There is no doubt that The Sims played a huge impact by helping mold the casual gamer. More and more people are introduced to gaming every day. The Guardian speaks out on the unexpected success of The Sims and how Maxis is stepping out to take a huge risk with The Sims 3.
The fact that the franchise has spread out in so many directions surprises even Rod Humble, the expat Briton who heads up The Sims studio. “If you think back to when The Sims launched, as a game design it was utterly insane,” he says. “There was no end, there no win or lose – but it absolutely fitted with a ‘what if’ scenario that we all have in our heads.”
Back then, at the turn of the millennium, the project was championed by its creator, Will Wright. He has now moved on to another project – the much-anticipated evolution game Spore – but at its heart the Sims has remained the same. Along the way it has been a core part of the rise of so-called “casual gaming” – typified by Nintendo’s Wii and a plethora of web-based games. Humble quietly disagrees with the “casual” monicker, however, and suggests that there is more going on than just a widening market.
“I think the ‘casual’ label is pretty much meaningless now,” he says. “You’ve seen a big shift in perception … it’s got to the point now where we’re on our own, and we’re able to do all sorts of things in terms of mass entertainment and themes. A few years ago I don’t think people would have thought about a game where you run a business or have a family.”
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