The Sims series was originally created by SimCity developer, Will Wright . It is said that he was inspired to create a game simulating life after he lost his home in the Oakland firestorm and his family had to relocate. He described the series as a "virtual doll house" to Maxis back in 1993. The idea was met with skepticism, but EA offered him a chance to publish it so he continued to develop the idea. The first Sims game was released on February 4, 2000 and went on to have multiple games and countless expansion packs such as, The Sims: Vacation, The Sims: Unleashed, The Sims: Superstar, and The Sims: Makin' Magic.
The Sims is a game where the players create virtual avatars, called Sims, and take them into a 3D world. The purpose of the game is to interact with other Sims in the game, obtain new decorations for your home and keep your Sim alive. While the Sims do certain things autonomously, the player's command will override their AI. These actions include exercise, reading, creative activities, and interacting with other Sims. Basic needs of the Sims must also be met, like going to the bathroom, personal hygiene, eating, and sleeping. If these needs aren't met the Sim will starve, wet himself, or if they don't have enough fun, they will get depressed. Each of the actions performed by the Sim changes his personality for better or worse.
The Sims Online
The Sims Online was EA's plan to carry the Sims experience online and it was released in December of 2002. Instead of interacting with an AI, each Sim the player could meet is a real person. Critically, it failed to capture the success of its predecessor, garnering criticism that equated it to a glorified chat room. In 2008 it was revamped into EA Land, but that did not successfully reinvigorate the game. EA then stated that EA Land would be shut down on August 1, 2008.
The Sims 2
The Sims 2 was a fully 3D edition of The Sims that introduced many new features, as well as a story line. This game takes place 25 years after the original and families from the previous game can be seen, such as the Goth and Pleasant families. Some of the new game features include Sims that age from infancy to old age and eventually die. It also added distinct days of the week, allowing for more realistic experiences like kids staying home on the weekends. An "Aspiration Meter" has also been applied so that the player needs to achieve certain goals to get "Aspiration Points". These Aspiration Points can then be spent on various rewards.
MySims is a Sims game for the Wii and Nintendo DS. The game's objective is to attract more people to move into a rundown town by improving the houses and creating custom furniture. As more people come back to the town the player will get stars that unlock areas of the city. Special costumes and blueprints can be unlocked by completing certain quest for in-game characters; befriending these characters also grants new rewards. The DS game features the same gameplay, but with the goal of attracting people to a hotel.
The Sims Stories
The Sims Stories is a series of Sim games created to be "laptop-friendly" and more story driven. The system requirements are less demanding and they also include a pause function for whenever the laptop is closed. These games feature distinct scenarios where the player has to accomplish certain tasks in that character's life. The Sims Stories series currently includes: The Sims: Life Stories, The Sims: Pets Stories and The Sims: Castaway Stories.
The Sims 3
In November 2006, EA announced The Sims 3 to be released in the fiscal year of 2009. It is said to feature seamless towns with no loads, Sims realistically aging and gaining weight, and players actions that will affect things inside and outside of your home. The traditional bladder and energy motives are said to be revamped, and new jobs are slated to be added as well.
The Sims 4
The Sims 4 is the upcoming next major installment in the Sims franchise. Not much is known about the game at this point, except that it is slated to release for PC and Mac in 2014. In a reveal blog post, it was mentioned the game will feature "new and intuitive tools" as well as the option to share creations with "friends and fans", and that Sims in this game will be "the most expressive, surprising and charming Sims ever". Moreover it is known the game will be a "single-player offline experience", unlike Maxis' previous title SimCity which requires an internet connection to be played.