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Well Slap Me With a Fish: The Undying Appeal of the Sims

Well Slap Me With a Fish: The Undying Appeal of the Sims

Remember the days where you could flip the bird? Slap other sims, sometimes with a fish, or even make asteroids fall from the sky? What about the world literally not existing outside of your home?

If you play The Sims in any capacity be it PC, Mac, or Console, it’s pretty safe to say you have a strange addiction to a game that has given ALL of its players an unhealthy god complex. But who hasn’t set a neighbors’ house on fire or crushed a sim with a satellite to blow off some steam? Follow me through the odd play cycles, obscure cheat codes, and lost interactions of a game that won’t be going away, or losing any popularity, anytime soon.

When The Sims was released in 2000 its big brother, Sim City, had already been a popular computer game for ten years. (released for the Mac in ’88 and PC in ’89) Acting as town mayor, it was the players job to expand the city, build a stable economy, and keep citizens (sims, duh) safe. While playing as the leader of a sprawling city had its notable entertainment value, the question soon became “What about the lives of the sims?”

the sims cover artMaxis, the development company behind Sim City, answered the question with The Sims. You as the player were now in charge of not an entire city, but directly responsible for the life/lives of one or more sims living in  a suburb neighboring a fictional city. See what Maxis did there?Taking the player away from the hustle and bustle of the city allowed for total focus on one or more households in a more or less nameless area. Sims living in Sim City were completely autonomous, going about life on their own and making the necessary decisions in order to stay alive. In The Sims, it was now solely the players job to keep sims going and from setting everything on fire.

But we all know the beauty of the game was that it was the player’s choice to either be a nurturing provider for the sims or their worst nightmare. The Sims birthed a cult like following of players and coders alike who enhanced game-play through the years with bountiful mods and cheat codes allowing for both outlandish and realistic game-play options and interactions. Follow me through the many facets of The Sims that make the game such a unique way to play with life.

In Game Shenanigans: Who Needs Cheat Codes?

For The Sims original game, Sims1 as it was referred to as more iterations were released, interactions were already set to the raunchiest possible. Flipping the bird, slapping, streaking and using “choice” words were all base game interactions that always had hilarious results. Unfortunately most of these have passed on, but the option to WooHoo in “inappropriate” places shall forever reign.

But Cheat Codes Though…: [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+C

You may not have needed cheat codes to have a good time in any of The Sims titles, but let’s not pretend they didn’t sweeten ride. Whether you were “Kaching” in or pulling in the “Motherlode” cheat codes relieved in game money woes, remedied problem neighbors, and raised the dead. Good on Maxis and EA to also pre-code some cheats into the game in recent years. If only I could [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+C real life…

Gender Roles? Nah son!: Be whoever.

Nothing about The Sims marketed the game to one sex or the other. The same stood with creating sims and playing through life. You could fall in love with whoever, have a baby with whoever and work any job you wanted (without a pay gap). Can we also take a moment to applaud Maxis and EA on The Sims4 option for trans sims? Gender is a myth and we are here for it!

Modify, Modify and Modify Some More!: Did you not know that’s what “Mod” meant?

Mods followed the sims almost immediately after it landed but didn’t gain popularity until The Sims2. For those who want just a slightly more realistic play or even to add more questionable game-play options, Mods delivered. Maxis and EA even went as far as to code around them for more recent games. Allowing mods galore without crashing and ruining the game…as long as they’re coded correctly.

An Architects Dream: You Can Literally Skip the “Life” Part

One of my personal favorite things to see are the people who could care less about the lives of sims and would rather focus on the world around them. Something surprisingly not offered in SimCity is the ability to build and customize homes and business. Now when I tell you these people have SKILLS! Woo child! If you follow The Sims on any social platform you can revel in this talent with their #BuildsoftheMonth videos. *shivers* Just. So. Good!

See Also

Fantasy baby!: Because Vampires are Totally Real

Play with life and with fantasy! The Sims would never DREAM of just restricting you to a mundane human life. While the fantasy game-play options were broader in past iterations of the games (werewolves and zombies and aliens oh my!) The Sims still brings the magic. Currently you can only be an Vampire and the Alien option hasn’t been fleshed out too well in Sims4, but the option is fun for a game session shakeup.

Did someone say structure?: A Homage to the story-lines of old.

You read that right. There was once a point in time where there were underlying story-lines to The Sims. While we haven’t seen this since The Sims2, games like “Bustin Out” and “The Sims” introduced us to the Goth and Landgraab families. The Goth family stood as the dark pillar of luxury over an otherwise bright and sunny neighborhood of Pleasantview; more or less the Addams Family of the franchise. In later games a player could get a kick out of locating the “missing” Bella Goth; although the game never quite touched on why she had disappeared. (In The Sims3 you can even catch her wandering around as an NPC) The Landgraab family was just a dysfunctional mess. They owned everything and were the stars of the Bustin’ Out arm of the franchise where you spent the game getting to the top of every career branch in order to take over Pleasantview, drive out the evil Malcolm Landgraab and win back all the stuff he’d stolen from the town’s citizens. Long time players may even remember build mode items bearing the Landgraab Industries name.



Feeling the urge to spend 12 hours babysitting the perfect family now? Yeah…me too.

Tell us about your favorite expansion! Memories of past games long forgotten! Your longest play streak! Don’t play The Sims? Well maybe you should!
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