The game focuses on reward rather than punishment, and how you can succeed rather than how you can fail. First of all, the Sims doesn’t have any lose conditions. It’s possible for all your sims to die, but extremely unlikely unless you help them along. If you ignore their needs you will simply lose control over them, which in itself can be entertaining. On the other hand, there are rewards for pretty much anything in the game – working, hobbying, socializing, or really just mucking about. It’s not all “xp” or something generic like that either – you develop relationships, get money, items, job levels, skills, and just plain funny reactions. Humor is a big part of this too! Whether it be a frowny face, suggestive pose or uncontrolled laughter, even events that might be considered “failure” are funny, so you still get a good experience out of it.
Gamasutra – Intimidating freedom, and how to avoid it