The Sims 20 years: Learn the history of the most famous simulator

The Sims is easily one of the most successful PC simulation franchises in the world. The first game was already a big fever and quickly became one of the best selling PC games in the world. After 20 years, The Sims continues to gain new fans, whether with its main games or the Spin-offs.

If you know the game very well or want to know more about it, you can take advantage of our article today to know the full story over these 20 years. Check out the retrospective below!


The Sims SimCity

Before talking about The Sims, of course we need to talk about SimCity. Creating simulation games was a good idea in the 1990s, as they were on the rise and SimCity was one of the biggest at the time.

The game created by developer Will Wright was a city management simulator. You basically started off with huge terrain and could create and expand your city over several years.

It was only after losing his home in a fire that Wright considered the possibility of taking this idea further. The whole experience of thinking about the structure of the house and its decoration made him think about what it would be like to make a game with this theme.

In the beginning, he had more in mind the idea of ​​making a type of virtual dollhouse. But it ended up focusing more on the people we would control and their lives, wants and achievements. These virtual people would come to be known as the Sims.

the Sims

The Sims 1

In the late 1990s, Will Wright took the idea of ​​the game to his bosses at developer Maxis. They didn't take much faith, but the company's owner, Electronic Arts, thought it was worth investing since SimCity had been so successful before.

With that, the first The Sims hit the PCs and was an almost immediate success. The game itself had no exact purpose and the player could do whatever he wanted with his Sims.

As a result, many communities began to create very cool challenges involving Sims' lives and careers. This was further exploited later when the game won each of its seven expansions.

As they added new worlds, items, careers and gameplay types, it was only natural that new challenges and goals would arise among players. Something that still exists today with the newer versions.

Almost 5 years after its release, the game had already sold around 16 million copies. Not to mention the separate sale of expansions.

The Sims 2

the sims 2

The phenomenon was so great that Electronic Arts and Maxis did not take long to think of its sequence. The second game in the series was released in 2004 and totally changed the way we knew the franchise.

The game was all in 3D instead of the dimetric view of the first. Other than that, Sims had more careers, interactions and life stages. Before, it was possible to play only with adult and child Sims.

In this game, you could follow a Sim's entire life from birth to old age. Even a good part of the game's initial marketing revolved around this great aspect.

The game also received 8 expansions and 9 nine object packs. To this day, he is considered the best of the series for everything he added and established as classic elements of the franchise.

the Sims 3

third game of the franchise

If The Sims 2 is still considered the best game in the franchise by many people, its successor is in a somewhat strange position. It was launched in 2009, had a more realistic look, had great customization tools and nothing less than an open world to navigate with your Sims.

For all these reasons, it was very complicated to run on computers even with only the base game. Its 11 expansions and 9 object packs did not make its performance much better.

In fact, the developer itself did not recommend having everything installed on the same PC. Still, the game was a huge success and is still loved by fans who loved the added news.

the Sims 4

The latest game in the franchise is The Sims 4, which was released in 2014. Unlike the others, it is not only available on computers but can also be played on modern consoles, such as the PS4 and Xbox One.

This made it very popular, not least because it is easy to run on even weaker PCs. Considering the mess that its predecessor was in that regard, this is a huge victory for fans who can't keep switching PCs.

The game still returned to the more cartoonish look of the old ones and has been quite successful. It is worth mentioning that he had a troubled start with several classic items and certain elements missing from the launch.

Everything was resolved with free updates later, but the lack of customization tools and the open world left some fans with a bitter taste to this day. Fortunately, its 8 expansions and no less than 30 game or object packs manage to solve some of that.

Other than that, the game totally changed the way of creating characters and building houses. All for the better, since the process has become much more intuitive and easier to learn.

The game also has many events created by EA itself. Whether inspired by celebrities or important holidays, they are usually a lot of fun to check out.

Despite not revealing the total number of copies sold to date, EA has already mentioned that The Sims 4 grossed more than $ 1 billion. This includes the base game and its expansions.


What has not been missing in these 20 years were spin-offs from The Sims. For those who do not know the term, they are basically parallel games to the main line games of a franchise.

In general, most games of this type were released on consoles or as mobile games. The coolest of them is that many were focused on a main story instead of having no goal.

In this way, you ended up having a character as the protagonist and you had to advance in the given objectives. Among the most loved are Bustin ’Out, The Urbz, Castaway and Medieval.

Bustin ’Out

In this game, the big news was leaving home. As the game came out even before The Sims 2, it was not so simple to just get a car and take your Sims for a walk, something that this game allowed.

In it, you also had to make progress in a very cool story focused on your career and revenge against your stepfather. The game had a version for desktop and portable consoles.

The Urbz

Following the great success of Bustin 'Out, EA published another 3D console game from the franchise. This time, we had The Urbz, which took our Sims to a totally urban life.

It also had a very interesting history, but urban mechanics were totally different than before. The game also had versions for desktop and portable consoles.


In this spin-off, our main Sim was trapped on a tropical island. There, it was necessary to find a way to survive and try to return home. Perhaps one of the most interesting games in terms of history. It was definitely quite different from what we were used to when it comes to The Sims.


Finally, it is worth talking about the game that took Sims to the medieval era. This was one of the last console spin-offs we've seen, as EA started to focus more on major titles and mobile games.

Its main story was simpler, as was the gameplay. Still, it was a lot of fun to upgrade his castle and try out the different ideas it brought.


We have already commented that games in the franchise always receive many expansions, but this is not the only content available for the game. As we said before, the fan community has always been very united and this is also reflected in the changes they create.

Also known only as "mods", these modifications are simply objects or elements of gameplay made and shared by fans. They can be furniture, wallpapers, customization of Sims' appearance, clothes, careers or something that adds a kind of gameplay.

No mod or creator is officially supported by EA, not least because they cannot be responsible for the content created by third parties. Still, the company has always supported the creation and installation of game mods.

This has been present since the first game and should continue in any sequence in the future. It really is a good way to improve your game, just like the tips and tricks do in The Sims 4, so it's worth checking out.

Without many competitors

Believe it or not, there are no competitors for The Sims even after 20 years of its original release. Of course, we've seen other simulation games over the years, but none of them did or offered anything like that all along.

We can even think of the famous Second Life, but this was more of an online experience than a simulation game in the style of The Sims. This is probably one of the factors for the franchise to remain so relevant.

The problem is that players also never had the option. Even if they didn't like something in games, there was nothing to do: play The Sims or nothing.

Only that may change soon. An independent game called Paralives is currently being developed and has already caught the attention of most of The Sims fans.

It is made and funded by fans of the franchise who want something different. Who want more freedom, options and something that is not so linked to so many additional paid content, the infamous DLC.

The game does not yet have a forecast to be released, but it already looks very promising. You can check more about it by accessing the link.

The future of the franchise

Currently, The Sims is still very active in its fourth main game. The Sims 4 generally receives some expansions and item packs every year since its launch.

Not to mention the free updates that come with each new feature, always giving more content to players who can't afford to spend a lot. This makes it difficult to know when the next game will be announced.

Of course, as this title is already approaching its sixth anniversary, fans begin to suspect that its successor is already on the horizon. We have to remember that most of the expected expansions have already been launched.

With that, we can only think about what the new game could add to the franchise, either as a novelty or improvement. Many players want to see old mechanics back, especially the views in The Sims 2.

Since this specific game, fans have noticed that various details and types of gameplay have gradually disappeared. There are even many comparative videos showing everything that The Sims 2 had and that its successors never had again.

Part of this may be due to the fact that its developers wanted to focus on a good experience for everyone. After all, old games needed powerful PCs to run well, while The Sims 4 works on almost any old notebook.

However, the lack of competitors may also have left the franchise in a comfort zone. Thus, giving space for features, functionality and gameplay elements to be removed with each release.

Electronic Arts is known for listening to fans more when sales drop, so the arrival of Paralives and negative fan reaction can help bring a more interesting The Sims 5. The way for now is to wait and see.

Where to play?

game screen

Now that you've seen so much that has happened in these 20 years of The Sims, you may be wondering where you can play games. To tell the truth, some are simple and others not so much.

Currently, there is no way to purchase the digital version of The Sims 1 or The Sims 2. The second game was even given away for free with all its expansions by Electronic Arts for all players who redeemed it in a certain period of time.

Unfortunately, that was in 2014 and the company never gave copies of the game or sell it in its store again. If you want some of these games, you will need to get it by other means, even if you buy a used version.

It is only good to say that games can have serious compatibility problems on more modern PCs. The good news is that fans have already posted many ways to address specific Windows 8 issues going forward.

The Sims 3 and The Sims 4 can be purchased with their expansions in several online stores. The most obvious is Origin, Electronic Arts' own store, but there is also Steam and Humble Bundle if you prefer.

At Origin, there are several promotions throughout the year. Therefore, we recommend waiting before buying to guarantee the best price on the games.

Did you like to know more about The Sims on its 20th birthday?

Did you take advantage of our article to learn more about the history of The Sims and its 20 years of existence? Don't forget to leave a comment telling us what you think and the trajectory of the series.

Also be sure to know how to take a screenshot or record games with our respective tutorials.

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