Released roughly fourteen years apart, The Sims and The Sims 4 mark the first and the most recent games in the highly popular series that has defined a generation of life simulation gaming. Over the years updates and new features have seen the light with every new Sims game and expansion, which has sought to bring the game even further towards the ideal. Although the graphics and the general performance of the game has improved quite a bit since its early days, there is still so much that the original The Sims does infinitely better than the brand new and glossy The Sims 4.
Who doesn't know and love The Sims' soundtrack? Since its release in 2000 the tunes of the original game have become so well-known they're frequently used in television shows as background music. The music was meant to be both catchy and have the ability to help the player focus on creating their family or building their house, which is why it was so well designed in the first game. The Sims 4 has good tunes, too, but nothing beats the epic songs heard in The Sims.
First of its kind, The Sims was able to establish the universe the player would be controlling and all the characters in it. We have the Newbies which we get to play during the first tutorial of the game. We have the odd Mashugas in their brightly furnished octagon-shaped house. And most importantly, we have the Goths in their dark mansion house equipped with a graveyard. In The Sims 4, many of the households from previous games are almost unrecognizable, and simply fail to have the same quirky feel as in the first game.
Although they were improved significantly after The Sims, the original neighborhoods were still better with customization than the ones in The Sims 4. If a player has all the expansions to The Sims, there are a total of eight nearly identical neighborhoods. Moreover, The Sims Unleashed expands the basic neighborhood in size with tons of new households. The Sims 4 has been too restrictive with its neighborhoods, some of the newer ones even having fewer lots to build on and leaving the players wishing for something more.
There's no doubt about it, there was a certain dark wit in The Sims and its humor. Everything in the game has a slightly darker, somewhat adult undertone compared to the later games in the series which solidified The Sims as a family friendly game.
In the original game, however, receiving creepy random phone calls or suddenly watching your Sim die from a burning stove or even receiving a visit from the Sad Clown were fairly common things that players would have to put up with.
Speaking of frightening or stressful events, The Sims was full of them compared to the games that followed after. There were significantly more randomized events, often negative in nature, that would come to ruin your family's idyllic life or generally just make the gameplay a bit of a nightmare. Burglars and raccoons sneaking up to your house in the dead of night are a classic example of this, something which just remains blatantly nonexistent in The Sims 4. However, even though these events were upsetting, they gave the first game that unique color it has.
On top of randomized events that could completely change the course of a typical day in your Sim's life and make the experience truly unique every time you open the game, The Sims was also much more challenging and as a result more rewarding than The Sims 4 is. It's much more difficult to keep up with your Sim's needs and advance their careers.
With no weekends available, players need to be grinding to be successful in this game. Although cheats were available for those who despised challenge, for the most part the difficulty made the first game much more interesting and rewarding to get through in the long run.
The Sims may have been overall more challenging, but it was by no means a complicated game to get into. The later games have been become increasingly more intricate with the amount of features and details that are available for players to customize, which is impressive, but sometimes less truly is more. The Sims became iconic precisely because it was easy for anyone of almost any age to pick up and get into. Intuitive gameplay and great game design turned it into a generational success, which then took a tumble on how complex it aspired to become in its later versions.
Closely related to its wacky sense of humor, The Sims was stock full of strange objects and bizarre interactions. More were added as new expansions came out on the market, further spicing up its world. A few notable examples were Bonehilda from Makin' Magic and The "Concoctanation Station" chemistry set from Livin' Large.
These objects added some interesting events and weird consequences to the game that made the player want to try them and play different scenarios out. This is somewhat lacking in The Sims 4, where interactions are fewer and the scope of objects is greatly reduced.
The Sims 4 is roughly five years old now since its release in 2014, and from past experience this usually means that a new game would be soon announced. Is anyone going to really miss The Sims 4? Time will tell, but given how current community favorites tend to be The Sims and The Sims 2, this is highly unlikely. The Sims 4 failed greatly where its predecessors did so well and The Sims will always win in nostalgia factor due to being the first of its kind and truly revolutionary. It is nearly impossible for another game of the franchise to do as well, although The Sims 2 is the exception to the rule with how it perfectly upgraded the original game.
The biggest gripe that Simmers have with The Sims 4 is how it has split some of the biggest and most wanted gameplay features into smaller packages that separately cost more money to buy. The Sims however, published big expansions regularly, with tons and tons of new objects, gameplay features, areas, interactions, create-a-sim outfits and so on. Nowadays expansions only add a few major things to the games, and could be easily combined with some of the Stuff and Game Packs for The Sims 4. This is undoubtedly the worst mistake the franchise has committed since its first game.