Like most fans of The Sims PC Game, I’ve played ALL of them. I remember the excitement of playing The Sims 1 for the first time. I spent a solid 2 and a half years playing it more than my consoles. The only game I played more was Pokemon. Who can forget the shenanigans you could get into in a game where you literally get to play God with your virtual avatars? Expansions like Hot Date, House Party and Holidays opened up new opportunities for you and your sims to exploit.
Then I got The Sims 2.
When it was announced, the three most requested features missing from The Sims 1 were added to the game: Pregnancy, Toddlers and Teenagers!
…As a bonus, Seniors were added to the game as well. Those who got The University Expansion could also use the Young Adult age group, which is the happy medium between Teenager and Adult. Oh and of course, unlike The Sims 1, starting in The Sims 2 Sims who got up there in years would eventually die of old age.
The Sims 2’s modding community is alive and well 10 years later. This was what made the game so insanely popular for fans of the game. User-created content made playing the game even more fun. Not just clothes but objects, cars and lots as well.
We thought the good times would continue in The Sims 3.
Man, were we wrong.
Not even international megastar Katy Perry (who was “just” a superstar at the time) could save this thinly veiled premium-bloated Sim-tastrope. No wonder Will Wright left Maxis (2nd party company within EA).
Perhaps in an effort to reign in sites like Mod The Sims and The Sims Resource (the two largest Sims 2 fansites on the internet), EA created an online store where folks could buy stuff they’d have normally gone to one of the aformentioned sites to get with The Sims 2.
The Sims 3 was two steps forward but three steps back:
- EA pushing Origin (which they launched with The Sims 3 and made it a requirement for all online digital purchases) onto consumers. On the one hand yes, it made it easier to update the game but on the other hand it was useless to you if you didn’t use the Online store much.
- The living world engine introduced prettymuch eliminated loading screens, which was one of the few complaints folks had for The Sims 2. Since time doesn’t stop for the households you had to be careful if you were managing more thsn one household: The Sims in the households weren’t directly controlling aged without you and did other stuff according to their personality.
- Going with the above: One Save Slot per town instead of one save slot per household. This was both good and bad. It was good as it meant you didn’t have to keep switching between households if you didn’t want to. It was bad if you created a few households and left them for a while, when you went back to it many of the Sims had grown up and/or married or and/or got their own place.
And of course, there were the expansions. Unlike The Sims 2, it was painfully obvious much of what the Expansions brought to the game could have been added via patching to the base game. Most of the folks who bought The Sims 3 were vets of The Sims 2 and saw it for what it was: A cash grab on EA’s part.
This brings us to The Sims 4.
Gamespot reported today EA has announced The Sims 4 Premium Service. Translation: Season Pass. Add to this the announcement two weeks ago that Pools and Toddlers were being excluded from the base game and it’s easy to figure out what this means: The Sims franchise as we knew is is history. If Will Wright followed fellow lead programmer and Sims fan Hideo Kojima’s example and made his own studio after The Sims 2…well, who knows.
There’s a reason EA is universally viewed by gamers to be the worst company in the industry. They just don’t get it. Their only concern is milking consumers for every dime they have and the sad thing is other companies have started to adopt this widely hated practice. It’s one thing to pay extra for cosmetics or exrra items but it’s another to intentionally leave out popular features just to sell it as DLC.
Oh, and I’m NOT getting The Sims 4. Today’s announcement is the deal breaker.
In my book, The Sims 2 is the most balanced game of the three I’ve played so I’ll stick with that one. I’ll buy the rest of the Expansions for The Sims 3 at the same time, though.
Good by, Maxis. It was a good 20 years but all good things must come to an end. See my review of Sim City 5 for more on what I’m referring to.