These milestones are getting scarier and scarier as the years go on! Can you believe that the original The Sims video game was released on the 4th February 2000? That’s 21 years ago today.
Yes, 21 years since Bob and Betty Newbie moved into 7 Sim Lane and since we first removed the pool ladder. If you need a moment to take that in I won’t blame you, as I can’t believe it either.
The game went into development following EA’s acquisiton of Maxis a few years prior, as the Maxis board prior to acquisiton were not convinced on the concept of the game. Whilst EA expected it to sell a modest number, The Sims very quickly became a phenomenon and the best selling PC game franchise of all time.
Will Wright, the designer of The Sims, was inspired to create a virtual doll house after losing his home in a fire. Originally the focus was on the architectural aspects of the game – building and decorating houses. The people who inhabited the houses were there to respond to the items you placed, but they quickly became more interesting and this led to the focus being on the Sims themselves.
Expansion, expansion, expansion…
The success of The Sims, which sold 6.3 million copies by early 2002, spawned seven expansion packs which each took the game in bold new directions.
- Livin’ Large / Livin’ It Up brought new neighbourhoods and expanded the base game with new things for your Sims to do
- House Party brought the ability to hold parties in your home – Drew Carey even makes an appearance!
- Hot Date was the first time your Sims could leave their homes and brought the downtown destination and overhauled the relationship system in-game (much to my dislike when I was younger as it made it harder to befriend Sims quickly!)
- Vacation / On Holiday introduced Vacation Island where your Sims can go on holiday and stay away from home. You could stay at the beach, camp in the forest or even stay in an igloo!
- Unleashed allowed your Sims to own cats and dogs, as well as many other animals, and expanded the neighbourhood to over forty lots
- Superstar allowed your Sim to experience the celebrity lifestyle and become famous! It also featured celebrity cameos including Avril Lavigne, Marilyn Monroe, Christina Aguilera and more!
- Makin’ Magic was the final expansion pack and brought Magic Town, a destination full of magical opportunities. Sims could buy ingredients, cast spells, have duels and even summon bonehilda the skeletal maid!
Not only this, but as you are very well aware by now, The Sims led to many sequels, spin-offs such as The Sims Online in 2002, console adaptions and truly positioned the title as Maxis’ crown jewel – which remains the case to this day.
The Legacy Continues
The Sims story never seems to end.
The fact of the matter is The Sims franchise is just as popular now as it ever has been, if not more popular than ever. The Sims 4, after a slow start, is doing extremely well and is recording its highest player numbers ever.
With rumours of The Sims 5 being in development, and the franchise remaining unchallenged in the video game space, I think the franchise still has plenty of life in it yet.
What was your favourite memory with the original Sims games? Or, if you were not able to experience them, tell us all about the first Sims game you played!
Happy Birthday to The Sims, the franchise that has brought us all together and many years of fun and creativity. And whatever The Sims team does to celebrate, let’s hope it’s more than a hot tub object like we got last year.