The Sims franchise has actually been around for close to two decades at this point, having been launched on January 31, 2000. Over that time the game has come a long way, with huge improvements right across the board.
While for many it may seem like most of these changes took place in the earlier part of the franchise's history there have been just as many highs and lows in the last decade. From badly thought out content, through removed features and controversial decisions, we explore the very best and worst of The Sims during the last decade.
10 Best: Sims 3 Generations Adds Everyday Features
Generations is the fourth expansion pack for The Sims 3 and it's one which still has an impact today. It contained elements from several Sims 2 packs and combined them all with generational gameplay we're yet to see fully replicated in Sims 4.
The pack fleshed out every life stage by theming them. Imagination was a focus for children, rebellion for teens, relationships for young adults and adults, followed by reminiscence for elders. It also added pranks and after-school clubs as well as tiny touches like canes and body hair which brought huge realism to the game.
For many simmers, Generations was the pack that felt most like it fleshed out the everyday things, easily ranking alongside Seasons in terms of being a game-changer. It brought a new sense of reality to players and its features that are currently absent from Sims 4 are still much desired.
9 Worst: Katy Perry Sweet Treats Makes Its Sticky Debut
The Katy Perry Sweet Treats pack may go down in Sims history as the worst decision ever made, although Sims 4 has attempted to rival it.
The saccharine design of the cover reflected the garish candy-covered items that resided in this celebrity-endorsed spin-off. I use the past tense because just a year after release, the pack was officially retired and removed from the Origin store, with no more physical copies being produced.
Everything in the pack was sickly, sweet, garishly colored and almost universally deemed unnecessary. This pack marks the low point of Sims 3 packs for the majority of simmers, at least those who aren't fans of eye-piercing decor.
8 Best: Sims 3 Store Offers New Ways To Play
While it could be overpriced, the Sims 3 store reflected a new and different way to acquire DLC content. You could purchase new and exclusive worlds, objects, clothing, skins, and even hairstyles. There were also options to purchase some of the special objects found in packs, such as washing machines, separately.
While it had its faults, offering a way to acquire extra worlds, in particular, is something that enabled players to truly customize their game experiences. It also reduced the need to buy an entire pack if you just wanted the gameplay item from it. The store was a game-changer for many and is often missed, despite its absence being understandable.
7 Worst: Technical Issues With Sims 3 Cause Chaos
As The Sims 3 grew so did the issues, marking a decline in the gameplay experience for many. With each new expansion, the game became glitchier and more unpredictable. For a huge number of players, the problems became so numerous that the game wouldn't run at all, unless a good chunk of content was disabled.
This meant that, for most, choices had to be made as to which content you would play with in any given save. While the store had added the ability to install a vast amount of DLC the reality was most people's systems couldn't actually run it all. By the end of the game's active release schedule, players were being advised to disable packs before playing.
6 Best... Or Worst: The Sims 3 Open World Is No More
Back in 2014, The Sims 4 was released and one of the biggest comparisons drawn between that and The Sims 3 is the loss of an open world. During The Sims 3, you could freely move around without loading screens ruining your immersion, offering a more streamlined experience. This was a feature many still miss to this day.
However, the open-world was also one of the major reasons why The Sims 3 could not be played with all its DLC installed. The processing power required to keep on top of it was huge and was often cited as one of the biggest causes of crashes. Hence why it was abandoned when the franchise rebooted in the form of Sims 4.
5 Best: Sims 4 Shakes Up The Franchise
The Sims 4's release in September 2014 rebooted the franchise once more. Due to advances in graphics and development, the jump in terms of looks and capabilities was much larger than we'd seen previously. While core gameplay remained the same the game offered many changes.
Create a Sim offered more flexibility with clothing choice as well as new ways to customize sims as well as ways to filter clothing choices. Build and Buy were combined and offered features including the ability to move entire rooms and buildings on a lot.
The best feature of all was that The Sims 4 was a new and stable beginning, offering a reliable gameplay experience that felt like a relief to many.
4 Worst: The Base Game Was Basic
While The Sims 4 base game was a solid release, it was very much lacking in features we now take for granted and which many deem essential to the game's enjoyment. The missing aspects of base-game we now enjoy include ghosts, pools, basements, half walls and most surprisingly, toddlers and the world of Newcrest.
Thankfully over time, these features (and many more) were added as free updates but when the base game shipped they were missing and very much missed.
3 Best: Seasons Is A True Game Changer
One of the biggest and most significant game changes came with the release of Seasons. While adding seasons to the game has always made a huge impact across the franchise, the Sims 4 version was bigger and more in-depth than we've seen previously.
As well as the seasons themselves, we were given holidays, traditions and a new in-game calendar. The seemingly innocuous calendar has proved to make a huge difference in gameplay. It allows players to not only celebrate holidays but also to schedule everyday events such as birthdays, playdates and more.
2 Worst: My First Pet Stuff Causes Controversy
My First Pet Stuff caused a huge amount of social media backlash when it was announced. The pack was released just over 4 months after Cats & Dogs in March 2018 and contained many items that required Cats & Dogs in order to use them, including pet beds and pet clothing.
DLC that required the purchase of previous DLC was a bizarre choice and many accused EA of making a cash grab. This was heightened by the fact that the pack was the third DLC release in as many months, with Laundry Day Stuff and Jungle Adventure released in January and February respectively. People had time to recover though, as for the rest of 2018 we saw no other releases except Seasons in the summer and Get Famous just before Christmas. The release schedule of 2018 being another low point for fans.
1 Best... Or Worst: Diversity Is Evolving
The Sims has always been a diverse franchise. The Sims 3 allowed all couple pairings to get married and even introduced same-sex pre-made couple Dylan and Audrey Shear. This was taken up a notch in The Sims 4 and has continued over the last five years.
The Sims 4 has had themed updates based upon Diwali, Day of the Dead and Carribean, Polynesian and Muslim cultures. It also has more gender-based customization than ever before and there are gay, lesbian and transgender pre-made Sims in-game, including LGBTQ+ representation on the game's new cover art.
However, there are still some who are vocal about a lack of diversity when it comes to skin tones, calling the darker tones out for being ashy and unrealistic.
The Sims team is very passionate about diversity and these changes have been ongoing so there's hope that moving forward the game will only get more inclusive.