There’s just something about The Sims that makes it so addicting. Perhaps it’s the god-like ability to control other people. Maybe it’s just fun to decorate the houses. It could just be that people like to do goofy things in an unstructured environment. Whatever the reason, The Sims has remained popular since its February 2000 release.
Now, almost eighteen years old, the franchise is still going strong. Though The Sims 4 had its hiccups and criticisms upon release, the title has continued to sell. Something about the game just draws players back time and time again. Players upload ridiculous stories about their sims, cheats, game help, and other cool content. With all the games and expansions, it seems nearly impossible to find every collectible, interaction, and path your sim can take. The game is massive and there’s a level of randomness to the gameplay. Even seasoned Sims players may not come across something after hours of gameplay that others come across in the first few minutes.
There’s no wrong way to play The Sims. Just like in real life, it’s all about events (random or planned) and reacting to them. Whether players use cheats or earn their achievements and simoleons the old-fashioned way, the game offers something for every playstyle and player. The games offer so much that it’s astonishing the series has been able to keep offering the players new content with every release. And, within those releases are hidden secrets and mind-blowing trivia.
30 What Is A Plumbob Anyway?
The plumbob (the diamond-shaped thing that floats above your sim’s head) is one of the most iconic visual indicators in the game. It shows the player which avatar they are currently controlling, and the design is unique to The Sims games. The plumbob can even indicate a sim’s mood in an easy visual way for the player.
The name is actually taken from a plum bob, a measuring device. Though it does not measure mood, it’s usually similarly shaped. A plum bob is a weighted tool attached to a string used as a vertical reference. In the past, they have been used to provide building measurements. More recently, they have been used to find the vertical axis of the center of gravity in 2D drawings.
29 Picking Their Gender
In The Sims 3, there aren’t many cheats to affect pregnancy and childbirth, but some actions make certain outcomes more likely. Sims must use the “try for a baby” interaction and then woohoo. If they successfully woohoo, then a baby or multiple babies can be born.
There’s no way in The Sims to pick the gender of your baby. However, eating certain foods will increase the likelihood of having a boy or girl. For some reason, eating apples increases the likelihood that a sim will give birth to a boy. Likewise, eating watermelons may lead to having a girl. It’s not clear why these foods correlate with the baby’s gender, but many players have had success using this method. In order to guarantee the gender of a child, sims also have the option to adopt.
28 The Sims Censored
The Sims series is extensive, and because of that, some players want the content, but don’t always want to pay for the latest release. So, players sometimes resort to other options. Pirating is an issue with the sims games, and EA has taken precautions against it, including adding codes to discs to prevent multiple downloads. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and pirated versions of the game are still distributed.
EA has taken in-game measures against piracy. In pirated versions of The Sims 4, the game starts out completely normal. However, when the sims use the toilet, shower, or do something to cause the game to pixelate the sim, the pixelation doesn’t stop. It’s not simply limited to the sim, however. The pixelated box grows until it has taken over the entire screen, rendering the game unplayable. This is not able to be fixed by going back in saves.
27 Breaking A Sim's Heart
Sims seem to mostly do and react to silly things, but the developers researched human emotion and reaction before the first game’s release. Though sims have their own personalities, the game needed a consistent system by which to measure happiness. It’s hard to quantify happiness since the factors that make people are so complex, but some psychologists have theories of what makes people happy and fulfilled.
Specifically, The Sims uses Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to measure sim happiness. This hierarchy is demonstrated as a pyramid, with the bottom levels being more essential to happiness. From the lowest to highest, the levels are physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. For sims to be happy, all of these needs need to be met, but it’s most important for them to be physically well, safe, and loved.
26 Defeating The Grim Reaper
In The Sims 4, The Grim Reaper (an NPC in all four main games) is effectively immortal. He cannot be starved to death as he will produce food out of his bag. He can also not die of old age, drown, or any of the other mishaps that befall sims. While he can be interacted with and even woohoo, he lives through the entire game.
However, one gamer found a way around this without outright killing The Grim Reaper. PrettyGrumpyBearGame discovered that, while he could not die in the usual ways, he could die after some well-placed cheats. Rather than simply using a cheat to kill the NPC, PrettyGrumpyBearGame uncovered a way to make him mortal instead. By adding traits to The Reaper’s character, he becomes mortal and can die in the usual ways. However, after this is completed, the game is basically broken, as the player can no longer save or enter build mode.
25 The Secret Of The Goth Family Tree
The Goth Family is an ever-present feature in The Sims games. From the very first game, Cassandra, Mortimer, and Bella appear. The family is a founding family of the original neighborhoods in the games, and their extended family is credited with founding other locations as well. They have an extensive family tree, and players often use the family history to figure out the timeline of the games.
It’s unclear why the Goths are so important, but it’s implied that the women in the family possess magical powers. Even in The Sims 4 in the alternate timeline, the Goths are present, though not in their usual form. The ages of the Goth family are different. Namely, Bella is younger and Cassandra is older. Also unlike the other games, their home in The Sims 4 does not prominently feature a graveyard.
24 The Secret Mysterious Netherworld
In The Sims 3, the player first starts to interact with the Netherworld. The Netherworld is present in the first two games, but never mentioned. The game simply releases the ghost sims into an unplayable state. However, in The Sims 3 and 4, the ghost sims have the option to go to the Netherworld. This takes them from SimNation, and they leave the game. It is possible to retrieve sims from the Netherworld, but it is difficult.
The Sims is for the living. It seems that the player isn’t supposed to know what happens in the Netherworld. The sims don’t know much about it, except ghosts can choose to pass on to it. If a ghost’s tombstone is deleted from the game, they are unable to go to the Netherworld, but it also means that they will be unplayable forever with no chance of resurrection.
23 Insulting Everyone's Life
The Sims 4 makes broader use of the franchise’s already in-depth emotional system. In the game, sims can feel a range of emotions. When the sim feels a particular emotion, a moodlet appears. This is a visual indicator of the sim’s needs and reactions to the world around them. While most of these moodlets are clear (a sim will get a hunger moodlet if they have not eaten in a while), some are incredibly shocking. Sims can feel inappropriate joy when an enemy sim has died. In fact, Sims can get a happy moodlet for laughing at their enemies’ graves. As odd as it seems, this morbid act can be of great benefit to your sim’s overall health. However, with the emotional system, your sim also runs the risk of dying from being too happy about their enemies’ deaths.
22 Getting Pregnant With Alien Babies
Normally, only the female sim can become pregnant when two sims of the opposite gender woohoo together. However, there is one way in the game to get a male sim pregnant. It does not happen every time, but, if the criteria is in place, there is a chance that a male sim can have children.
Using the most expensive telescope in the game, Sims must use “stargaze.” Alternatively, sims can use the “summon aliens” benefit using any telescope. Both of these actions carries a chance to become abducted. Then, there is a small chance that the male sim will become pregnant by an alien. When the sim is returned to earth (usually only a few hours later), the sim will discover he is pregnant. Interestingly, only male adult sims can become pregnant from abductions.
21 In The Arms Of A Sim Angel
Due to cheats and especially lucrative careers, many sims can live an extremely lavish lifestyle. However, not everyone in the sims world is so lucky. Sims still suffer from emotional, physical, and financial issues. A Sarah McLachlan commercial featuring sims may not be terribly compelling, but, in the game, the issue exists.
A sim’s morality can dictate if they care about these causes or not. Good sims have the option to donate to charity while neutral or evil sims do not. To donate to a charity, a sim simply needs to go to their mailbox. If the sim has the correct moral alignment, an option to donate to charity will appear. If the sim is not good, the option will simply be unavailable.
20 Beyond Pleasantview
The Sims game have always had a number of neighborhood options. Through expansions, sims could explore an entire city. However, The Sims 4 added a new feature that expanded the locations even further. Now sims could explore themed areas beyond the expansions. By meeting certain criteria, sims have the option to find hidden neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are usually whimsical or mystical in nature and offer rare collectibles.
Sims can find the entrance to these neighborhoods by leveling up certain skills. Once the skills is adequately leveled, the sim needs to find the hidden entrance. For example, The Forgotten Grotto is found in Oasis Springs. When the sim’s handiness level reaches 10 or higher, the sim can find a boarded up mine entrance. Once inside, the sim must adventure through the cave to find the grotto at the end of a ledge.
19 Hidden Dangerous Careers
In The Sims 4, one of the career paths is Secret Agent. This path leads the sim on an exciting path of espionage and secrecy. The sim starts at a relatively normal office job. However, the content of their desk job is exciting. The sim browses through intelligence. Slowly, they make their way up the ranks. They go from agency clerk to secret agent. Once they become a secret agent, there are two paths the sim can take.
The first is to continue to work for their agency and become an international super spy. This involves wearing fancy clothes living like James Bond. The other path, however, is much more unique. The sim has the option to become a supervillain. Interestingly, the villain route is the only career that has 11 levels. On the 10th level, the sim becomes the ultimate bad guy and gets a commemorative freeze ray. On the 11th level, the sim becomes good again, showing that their moral alliance has the ability to change.
18 Cow Plant Dance Party
The most famous plant by far in The Sims is Laganaphyllis simnovorii, also known as The Cow Plant. This enormous plant can swallow sim whole if it is not fed every twelve hours. Players must manually instruct their sims to feed the plant, as the sims will not do it themselves. Another odd feature of the plant is that it produces milk after consuming its victims. If drunk, this milk extends the life of the drinker.
In The Sims 4, several new features are added to The Cow Plant. For the first time, the plant can be grown from a seed. Interestingly, The Cow Plant will also dance if a radio is placed near it. Even if the radio is turned off, The Cow Plant will still dance.
17 The Sims: Toilet Edition
Developing an entire world modeled after the real world is a difficult task. Sims need to have complex emotions (more on this later) and be able to interact with the world in believable ways. In real life, people and animals can interact with some objects in a variety of ways, while other objects have a single function. For instance, chairs are primarily used for sitting. One could argue that chairs could be a replacement table or ladder, but it isn’t the usual function.
However, what the original developers found to be the most versatile staple object in a home is the toilet. The early game was developed around toilets. Sims could use toilets, flush toilets, and clean toilets. The first version of the game was so involved in toilets that it was called “The Toilet Game.” Obviously, this wasn’t a huge selling point for game companies, but the developers continued to work on it and created The Sims
16 SuperstarDOOM And Katy Perry
The Sims 2 and 3 had a wide variety of musical talent. Sims could listen to music in just about any genre, and there were even some Top 40 hits mixed in. Sims could listen to Katy Perry, Lily Allen, or even Seether. The most fascinating part about this is that the songs were performed by the sim’s real-world counterpart.
In most games, this would mean that the rights to the song would be acquired and played mostly unaltered in the game. However, in The Sims games, these popular songs are recorded by the original artist in Simlish, the gibberish sim language. In the games, fans can hear the artists sing nonsensical phrases like “Epsa berp ta bur/Aza pipty shner zaroo” (translated from Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night”).
15 Pattern Simlish: Inspirations For The Sims
As established previously, a great deal of research went into creating The Sims. Many of the big influences that helped set the game apart from other simulation games were taken from outside the game development world. The game took heavy inspiration from A Pattern Language, one of the all-time best-selling books on architecture.
The book compares architecture and urban design to programming language and other methodical patterns. It seeks to educate its reader not only on the basics of design, but how architectural design fits into other aspects of city planning. When the patterns of design are combined, the authors posit that they form a language. Architecture, it argues, can inhibit or enhance human freedom through design. In the terms of The Sims, this means that the neighborhoods and items are designed to give the player and their sims architectural potential.
14 Even Sims Love To Play The Sims
The Sims is meant to mimic reality. As a life simulation game, it comes with the territory. Sometimes, however, The Sims gets meta to a crazy degree. In some games, sims have the ability to play The Sims. In The Sims: Freetime, sims can use their computer to play The Sims. Similarly, sims in Sims 2 and 3 can play My Sim.
This opens up a lot of questions about the sims world. How deep does this inception go? If the sims can play The Sims in The Sims, then can the sims in The Sims in The Sims play The Sims? If that’s so, are we simply one of the many layers in the sims playing The Sims? It’s unclear when and if this cycle ever stops. Of course, it’s likely that it’s just a fun Easter egg, but it still causes the player to pause and think about what is happening.
13 Baby, Talk Simlish To Me
Game dialogue can be a really compelling feature of games. It can also be really, really annoying. When dialogue is bad, it’s distracting. Even good dialogue can become irritating if it’s repeated too much. Dialogue can become more about the meme of the dialogue than its relation to the in-game world. For example, in Skyrim, guards tell the player their background, but it quickly turned into the “arrow in the knee” meme more than evidence of a complex world.
To combat this problem, the game developers and voice actors developed Simlish. Simlish is a gibberish language (rather than a constructed language like Klingon or Esperanto). Though there’s only a limited number of dialogue options, because no meaning can be derived from Simlish, it seems like the dialogue is more diverse than it actually is. Additionally, developers don’t have to worry about translation issues in international editions
12 The Life Of Mime
Sims have a variety of careers they can pick from. Some are fairly typical careers while others are more unusual. In each game, sims can even choose to become criminals in lieu of a more traditional career path. From simple pickpocketing to becoming a criminal mastermind, sims can progress through the dirty underbelly of Pleasantville.
However, in China, this career path was altered. Though the Showtime expansion allows sims to start as mimes before becoming acrobats, the crime career path was entirely altered to be about mimes. The sim starts as a mime and gets progressively better at miming. It seems odd to change the career path to something that just rhymes with the original name, but international distributors were satisfied with the change. There are some similarities between mimes and criminals: both wear mostly black and many people are suspicious of them.
11 Not Quite Patrick Swayze
Sims can woohoo with many different types of NPCs, including The Grim Reaper. In The Sims 3, sims can even have ghost children. If an alive sim and a ghost woohoo, there is a chance to create a ghost child. In Generations, ghost babies can be made if sims woohoo while under the effects of a ghost potion. When a ghost child is born, they age like an alive sim. However, they can only naturally die from old age. However, in a morbid twist, ghost children can use their tombstone to choose to cross over into the Netherworld. Additionally, if a ghost child chooses to move onto the netherworld, the player can still resurrect them. Ghost children functionally act as a sim who has died. On the family tree, they are marked as dead even though they were never alive.
10 The Non-Sequential Games
Many casual players may not know that The Sims series has a continuing timeline. The games are about the story of SimNation, the fictional land in the franchise. The games date back to medieval times in The Sims Medieval. Hundreds of years later, The Sims 3 occurs. Fans speculate that The Sims 3 happens in 1954. Though there is modern technology in this game, there is also hyper-futuristic technology, which makes the timeline hard to place. Next is The Sims, which takes place approximately in 1979. Finally, The Sims 2 takes place in the summer of 2004.
The Sims 4 and The Sims Freeplay take place in an alternate timeline. Fans speculate that The Sims 4 takes place at point between 1979 and 2004. The existence of time machines in the series may explain the alternate timeline.
9 Multi-Tasking Sims
Though the game was heavily criticized, The Sims 4 had important innovations for the simulated world. In previous Sims games, the sims could only focus on one activity at a time. Before moving onto another task, they would have to fully complete whatever they were doing. However, this isn’t completely reflective of life. In real life, people are able to do two or more tasks at once. Though this is more simple to do with some tasks rather than others, it is important to getting things done in a timely manner.
In The Sims 4, sims could now do multiple things at once. While physical limitations are still in place in the game, sims could do things like listen to music while doing homework, watch TV while eating, or even use their phone on the toilet. However, these other tasks still have the potential to distract sims and slow down the process of completion.
8 The Disturbing Thing Players Wanted All Along
Death is a staple part of The Sims franchise. Though the game is a life simulator, the sadist side of Sims fans tend to lead them astray in the pursuit of happy lives for their Sims. After all, what’s life without risk or misery. While deleting ladders from the pool is a classic, the developers of the game have revealed in interviews that players are always asking for more ways to kill their Sims.
In Sims 4, the latest game in the franchise, sims can no longer be killed by deleting the ladders in pools, but the developers did answer fan requests to include new ways to die into the game. Classic methods like setting sims on fire are still available, but now sims can die from new natural causes, including dying from intense emotions.
7 The Sims Movie
Movies based on video games have a torrid past. Films based on beloved games like Super Mario Brothers and Assassins Creed have largely flopped and were panned by critics. Sometimes, the media just doesn’t lend itself to a cinematic format. It’s mystifying why anyone would want to invest millions of dollars into buying the rights to and making another video game movie. Still, in 2007, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights to a Sims movie.
The movie was set in Pleasantville. The main character would slowly discover that the town’s residents were hiding dark secrets and that the whole world was actually a simulation game played by millions worldwide. A writer and director were chosen, but eventually, the film was scrapped. However, Fox still currently owns the film rights.
6 The Sims: Drew Carey
The first Sims game has a house party expansion where Sims can throw parties for their friends and neighbors. It also added new party-themed items like buffet tables, DJ booths, togas, campfires, and more. There were also several NPCs added to the game in this expansion. If certain criteria are met, NPCs will appear. Interestingly, if your sim is throwing a particularly good party, Drew Carey will appear.
In the expansion, if the party is rated above a 55 and has lasted for at least 135 minutes, a limo will appear. The sims will gather around the limo and Drew Carey appears. The sims are all excited to meet Carey, and that’s what they will discuss for the rest of the game. In the real world, The Sims was featured on The Drew Carey Show twice.
5 Esports On The Sports Channel
Being in a game, it’s unsurprising that sims would watch eSports instead of traditional sports. Perhaps it’s not eSports in the traditional sense, but it’s certainly electronic sports. Eagle-eyed fans have noticed that the sports channel sims watch is just Madden 10 highlight reels. It makes sense as both games are distributed by EA, and it’s ready-made sports footage.
Watching the sports channel becomes available in the Superstar expansion pack. When purchased, sims can browse channels based on their interests. Sims interested in sports and physical activity will be drawn to this channel. It can also help sims raise their enthusiasm about sports. Along with playing and talking about sports, television can be a useful tool to improving your sims sports skills.
4 Glued To Their Phones
Cellphones are a staple item in The Sims 4. Every character automatically receives a smartphone. There are no home phones in the game, so other sims must be reached via cellphone. However, the sims will not answer phone calls between 11 PM and 7 AM. Sims can send text messages during this time. They can still call various services, but they may not respond or charge a higher rate for the late hours.
Sims can also use their phone for various other tasks. Sims can play music, games, and browse the internet. Interestingly, the cell phones are prominent in the multi-task feature. Sims can do thing like play music while working or take pictures of their food while eating. It’s yet another way The Sims mirrors real life.
3 The Simulation Of The London Metropolitan Orchestra
A lot of video games have beautiful soundtracks. The swells of music set the mood for the game, and often, the soundtrack is musically sound enough to be listened to and enjoyed on its own. The music is written and recorded by professional musicians known for their craft. Some games take a less serious approach to their music, however. While cinematic RPGs may spend a lot of time developing the music, other games may just have simple electronic tracks.
The Sims has always included a lot of music. Because sims listen to music, a wide selection is available to the player. In addition to the sims’ music, the player also listens to a soundtrack. In The Sims 4, this soundtrack is recorded by The London Metropolitan Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. This is quite the accomplishment for a simulation game, and the soundtrack adds to the new emotional aspects of Sims 4.
2 The Sim In The Pool With The Missing Ladder
Drowning sims in pools is a classic way to get rid of unwanted sims. The usual trick is to tell the sim to get into the pool and then delete the ladder so there is no way for the sim to get out. Players are such a fan of this feature that they were extremely upset when sims in Sims 3 had the ability to climb out of pools without the ladder and Sims 4 didn’t have pools at all.
However, life—or, in this case, death—finds a way. A patch added pools to The Sims 4 and players could go back to finding new ways to drown their sims. The common solution is to build walls around the pool once the sim is swimming. If the sim cannot exit the pool, they become exhausted and drown.
1 Played Longer Than Any Other Social Simulation Series
It was mentioned earlier that The Sims was reaching its eighteenth birthday. This is an important milestone not just for the series, but for social simulation games as a whole. The Sims is the longest-running social simulation series ever. Though it isn’t the first social simulator, it definitely defined the genre. Most social simulation games that have come after The Sims take many pointers from the classic game.
Throughout many games and expansions, The Sims has always continued to improve. Though there were heavy criticisms for Sims 4, various features were expanded like never before. Additionally, missing fan-favorites like pools were later added in patches. The Sims isn’t a perfect franchise, but it is definitely a trailblazer. The series shows no signs of slowing down yet, so players may be finding new ways to kill their sims in another eighteen years.