For almost 20 years now, The Sims series has been one of the most popular game franchises out there. What started as a simple PC life simulator has branched out into four generations of base games, innumerable expansion packs, and dozens of console spin-offs. Millions of people around the world still play The Sims in one form or another, and this doesn't look like it'll change anytime soon. With The Sims 4: Seasons being one of the most-anticipated releases of June 2018, the Sims fandom is stronger than ever!
Since the series has been along for so long now, there are some Sims fans who've become completely obsessed with the later games in the franchise but have bypassed the earlier installments. While The Sims has far inferior graphics and far fewer capabilities than, say, The Sims 4, it has its own charms that newer players simply won't have experienced. Even long-term players might have forgotten some of its more unusual and subtle touches! The Sims may have had fewer features than its sequels, but those that it did have were game-changing—and often pretty hilarious.
While some of the best concepts from the earlier Sims games made it into later installments in the franchise, others have become nothing more than distant memories. However, that doesn't mean that these forgotten features aren't just as awesome as the once we all know and love! Here are just some of the lesser-known aspects of the Sims series of games that every single fan should know about—whether they've been Simming since the year 2000 or 2018.
25 The Real-Life Fire
Even if you've been a Sims fan from the start, you might not be aware of the franchise's interesting (and kinda sad) origin story. Turns out Will Wright, the creator of The Sims, came up with the idea of a life simulator after he lost everything in a devastating house fire. After experiencing the journey of having to quite literally build his life back up from the ground, he thought that it'd be a pretty cool idea for a video game—and so The Sims was born!
24 The Seasons Glitch
Seasons has always been one of the most popular Sims expansion packs, even since it was introduced in the game's second generation. The Sims 4: Seasons has been one of the hottest gaming releases of June 2018, so what better time to talk about the pack's somewhat rocky journey into production? Seasons were originally going to be included in the base game of The Sims 2. However, it was delayed and made into an expansion pack after a rendering error caused rain to fall inside houses! Not ideal for your poor Sims...
23 No Happiness Allowed
If you ever had the joy of playing The Sims: Hot Date, you'll know exactly who Miss Crumplebottom is. Back in the day, the NPCs in the Sims franchise could be pretty prudish about public displays of affection.
In particular, Miss Crumplebottom took things way too far!
She would hit your Sims with her handbag if they got too cozy—how rude! It was later revealed in The Sims 3 that Miss Crumplebottom acted in this way out of bitterness: her own true love passed away on the couple's honeymoon. Poor Agnes...
22 The Alien Abduction
Back in The Sims 2, a pretty interesting storyline was built into the game that involved Bella Goth, Don Lothario, and aliens. It seems that one day, Bella was abducted by extraterrestrial beings.
She was never seen in Pleasantview again.
Her last location before the incident? Don Lothario's bachelor pad. Interesting... Were they having an affair? Does Don know something about the abduction? Why does Bella seemingly turn up in the neighborhood of Strangetown, far away from her home in Pleasantview? Sims fans had a lot of fun exploring these questions!
21 Everlasting Boarding School
Back in the original Sims, life wasn't always easy for children. Not only did they have to attend classes every single day—including weekends—the threat of being sent to military school always hung over their heads. If your younger Sims couldn't keep their grades up, they were shipped off to this stricter school—and never seen again. That's right! There was no way for these kids to return once the military school had taken them, not even through gameplay cheats. It seems like a bit of an extreme reaction, right?!
20 More Than A Maid
From the first Sims game onwards, lazier Sims—or those with huge houses—could hire a maid to take on some of their domestic chores. At first, it wasn't possible to interact with this NPC character, other than to tip or fire her. However, that all changed in The Sims 2, and so much gameplay drama began! Not only could you have a friendly chat with your maid, you could romance with them—and even have an extra-marital time with them! Sims 2 players will remember the trouble that this got Daniel Pleasant into...
19 The Heart Bed
Back in the days before Sims could, er, get close—otherwise known as Woohoo—in any double bed, there was one particular Buy Mode object that made the game that little bit racier. Introduced in The Sims: Livin' Large, the Vibromatic Heart Bed gave Sims who loved each other very much the opportunity to use it. Sometimes, a baby would result from this—but only if the player wanted it to, of course! For many players, the Heart Bed is one of the most iconic objects from The Sims—just because it's so recognizable!
18 Burglar Alert!
Any Sims player who's only encountered the newer generations of the game won't understand the sheer terror that was hearing the "burglar" music in The Sims.
It's genuinely the stuff of nightmares.
Your poor Sims could have their personal belongings pilfered from their homes, although the police would sometimes intervene if they were called quickly enough. The first inclination you'd get that a thief was on you lot was that sinister little tune... Eventually, the burglar interaction was deemed to be too scary: it was removed from The Sims 4.
17 Where Did The Pool Ladders Go?
Another classic element of Sims gameplay that's been removed from newer titles in the franchise is the old "removing the pool ladders" trick. Back in the day, one of the few ways to bump off one of your Sims was to make them go swimming and then remove the ladders that enabled them to get out. Your characters would be totally trapped, and eventually, they'd perish in the water. These days, Sims who have no pool ladders do the much more sensible (but much more boring) thing of just climbing out via the sides.
16 Your Face Looks Familiar...
In all Sims games from The Sims 2 onwards, players have been provided with numerous tools, sliders, and designs to make their Sims look as unique and diverse as possible. You can change everything from the height of their forehead to the exact curve of their chin.
However, this wasn't always the case!
Remember the days of The Sims, when you could only choose from a few preset faces, bodies, and outfits? All of our Sims basically looked the same, and there wasn't much you could do about it!
15 Scandal In Pleasantview
When creating the pre-made families in The Sims 2, the designers of the game clearly chose to go as dramatic as possible. Pretty much every family that's present in Pleasantview at the start of the game has some kind of crisis going on! The Goths had Bella's abduction and Mortimer's interest in the Caliente sisters, the Pleasants had Lillith being a runaway and Daniel being a love rat... It was just ridiculous! We're not complaining, though: it made the game so much more fun to play!
14 What's A Weekend?
As we've already noted in our little discussion of military school, the concept of a weekend didn't seem to exist in The Sims.
In fact, there were no days of the week at all!
Your Sims were expected to go to work and school every single day, without fail. If you took one day off from your job, you'd get a warning—and if you took just one more, you'd get fired! There's no rest for the wicked, and none for Sims either, apparently. Many players were incredibly pleased when The Sims 2 introduced days off.
13 Charming The Headmaster
A unique feature of The Sims 2 was the ability to get your Sim's children into private school. Of course, you didn't do this through the usual means: for example, by taking an entrance exam, or even by paying extortionately high fees.
Instead, you had to schmooze your way into the headmaster's good books!
If you managed to cook him a delicious dinner, give him an impressive tour of your house, and make friends with him throughout the course of the evening, the headmaster would happily give your young Sim a free place at his school. Easy, right?!
12 Unnatural Beings
To this day, all of the games in the main The Sims series have included at least one type of supernatural being for players to interact with—or play as! These days, The Sims 4 allows you to create vampires and aliens and includes NPCs of both types that your Sim can interact with (if they can find them!). However, past games had even more options in this regard—The Sims 3 even had an entire Supernatural expansion pack! You could meet witches, faeries, and werewolves—and create Sims that fit these types! It was truly magical...
11 Beware Of The Guinea Pigs
Over the years, The Sims franchise has included some pretty weird and hilarious ways for your characters to meet their end. In The Sims 4, for example, elders can "WooHoo" to death—while in The Sims 3: Ambitions, your poor Sim could get crushed by a rogue meteor. However, the original Sims had one method of demise that was dreaded among players: Guinea Pig disease. If your character didn't clean their guinea pig's cage often enough, they'd pick up this deadly infection and be gone before you knew it.
10 A Friend Indeed
Back in the days of The Sims: Makin' Magic and The Sims: Unleashed, these two expansion packs combined to create one pretty darn nifty feature. In Makin' Magic, you could learn a spell called "A Friend Indeed" that transformed your Sim's pet into a human! Of course, there was always a risk that the human-Sim version of Kitty or Rover would be an awful person... But if that did happen, the old "disappearing pool ladder" trick worked pretty nicely. You could just create a new pet, and pretend the spell never happened...
9 Prequels, Sequels, And Alternate Universes
Fun fact: all four of the main Sims games are somehow connected in terms of their timeline! However, the series is by no means in chronological order.
Technically, The Sims 3 is actually a prequel to The Sims.
You can tell this by the fact that Mortimer and Bella Goth are both still children in TS3! In TS1, they're grown-ups with one daughter, Cassandra. By the time The Sims 2, the sequel to TS1 rolls around, they've got a son, Alexander, too. As for The Sims 4—that just takes place in an alternate universe. Simple!
8 Keeping Up With The Goths
As we just mentioned, charting the lives of the Goth family is an easy way to work out where each Sims game fits in the series' timeline. Bella, Mortimer, and their fellow Goths are some of the franchise's best-known characters, and there's a lot of in-game backstory to their clan! The game charts the family's journey from Gunther's days as the patriarch to Cassandra's romantic troubles with Don Lothario—and beyond. If Keeping Up With The Goths was a real show, we'd watch it—this family has more than its fair share of drama!
7 Emotions Are Overrated
Can you believe it took until The Sims 4 for emotions to be introduced into the game? Previously, our Sims were just unfeeling husks, who only experienced something close to an emotion when they became desperate for the toilet, hungry, or exhausted.
Not anymore, though!
Now, everything from the quality of a Sim's breakfast to the way the light shines through their windows can impact their complex range of feelings. Of course, you can also take it too far—if Sims experience emotions that are too extreme, such as being mortified or absolutely furious, it can end their lives.
6 The Temperamental Genie
The Genie is a character that appeared in The Sims: Livin' Large, The Sims 2, and The Sims 3, firstly as an NPC and then as a playable character. While his second and third incarnations could be pretty useful at times thanks to their wish-granting capabilities, the Makin' Magic Genie was notorious for being utterly terrible at his job. Most of the time, his "wishes" entailed things setting on fire, all of a Sim's plants perishing, or skills being lost. You had one job, Genie! You're supposed to improve people's lives, not cause them to burst into flames!
5 Recognize That Music?
In general, the Sims series contains some pretty iconic music. After hours and hours spent listening to each game's Build and Buy Mode music, those tunes get ingrained in your head!
However, some songs were more memorable than others.
From The Sims 2 onwards, real-life songs began to appear in the game—but re-recorded in Simlish! Huge artists like Katy Perry, The Pussycat Dolls, and My Chemical Romance allowed their songs to appear in Sims games in this totally made-up language.
4 In Fair Veronaville
In The Sims 2, players were given a choice of three pre-made worlds to play in if they wished: Pleasantview, Strangetown, and Veronaville. The third of these locations is perhaps the least-known, but it actually had a pretty cool concept! It was a Shakespeare-themed neighborhood, featuring Sims based on the characters of Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream. It all makes sense now: Romeo and Juliet was set in Verona, after all! Players could choose to end the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues, or just sit back and let chaos ensue. What would old William think?!
3 Small Town Life
In the original Sims, the neighborhood that your Sims could inhabit was tiny compared to later games. You could only really fit a handful of families into the game—not like the dozens you can play with now! As it turns out, the pre-made Sims featured in TS1 suffered from small-town syndrome. Not only did everyone know everyone, but pretty much every family was somehow related to another through marriage or blood! These connections really became clear thanks to the Family Tree function in The Sims 2. Almost every original Sim is someone's brother, or spouse, or distant cousin!
2 Starstruck Sims
Back in the days of the original Sims, the Superstar expansion pack allowed your characters the chance to become their town's hottest new celebrity. Your Sim could become a supermodel, an actor, or a singer, and rise up through the ranks until they reached A-List status. If your Sim was content with remaining non-famous, though, the expansion pack brought a very different new experience. Your Sim could encounter virtual versions of real-life celebs like Avril Lavigne and Christina Aguilera, and become totally starstruck! It's the closest many Sims players will have come to meeting these huge stars...
1 Partying Too Hard
Back when police officers were still NPC characters in The Sims, your characters had to be very careful to toe the line and respect the law. While you didn't really have the opportunity to commit any major crimes, there was one infraction that was a frequent occurrence in the game: parties that got a bit TOO rowdy. The police could—and regularly did—shut down your Sims' parties if the music became too loud or the guests too raucous. In fact, this ended up happening in the majority of in-game parties. Way to spoil the fun, guys!