The Sims is an isometric open-ended life simulation game developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts for the PC and Mac on February 4, 2000. Players are given indirect control of one or more Sims (semi-autonomous suburban dwellers) as they try to satisfy the Sims' basic needs while guiding them towards an effective life. Players also have the ability to construct and furnish the houses of their controlled Sims.
Along with numerous expansion packs and re-releases, the game spawned several sequels and numerous spin-offs (such as The Urbz: Sims in the City, MySims, and The Sims Medieval). The original game was also released on consoles (PlayStation 2 on January 12, 2003, Xbox on March 24, 2003, and GameCube on March 25, 2003), featuring full 3D camera controls, a full 3D environment (with the limitation of a certain amount of items and one floor story), and a new single player campaign known as "Get a Life" mode.
There is no concrete objective to The Sims. By interacting with objects and making choices, players indirectly control one or more Sims (semi-autonomous suburban dwellers), attempting to meet their personal needs while experimenting with new opportunities (such as social relationships and career advancement). Players can also become architects and home decorators by constructing and furnishing the homes of each Sim family (at the cost of the family's funds, known as Simoleans, or §).
Players start out by choosing a Sim family (either a pre-existing family or one created from scratch) from the "family bin" and, with §20,000 to start, picks a vacant lot (either completely empty or pre-constructed and pre-furnished) in the ten-lot street of Sim Lane.
Characteristics and Personality Traits
Each Sim has basic physical characteristics, such as gender, age (Child or Adult), body tone, facial features, and casual clothing, and have five customizable personality traits (on a scale between 0 and 10, first determined by a chosen Zodiac sign):
- Cleanliness (from Sloppy to Neat)
- Social Skills (from Shy to Outgoing)
- Physical Activity (from Lazy to Active)
- Playfulness (from Serious to Playful)
- Friendliness (from Grouchy to Nice)
Each personality trait dictates how each Sim responds to certain situations, while sometimes granting them extra options in social and object interactions. There are no positive or negative sides to each trait, as both have benefits and drawbacks. For example, Sims that are more Active tend to excel in careers based on physical exertion (thanks to faster gain in the Body skill) and has slower Energy depletion (at the cost of faster Hunger meter depletion) while Sims that are more Lazy tend to excel in careers based on mental exertion (thanks to faster gain in the Logic skill) and has slower Hunger depletion (at the cost of an Energy meter that is fast to deplete and slow to replenish).
Needs and Moods
Each Sim has eight basic needs, which affect both the vitality and the mood of the Sim. These needs are usually replenished by interacting with objects, and usually deplete over time. If the 'Free Will' option is enabled, then the Sim will automatically perform actions to satisfy needs that are in a critical state.
Sims with a negative mood are affected in everything they do. Irritable Sims lack the motivation to do things, even if indirectly controlled by the player. These Sims also have negative social interactions with other Sims, especially if those Sims are also irritable. (At some points, these Sims may even fight, sometimes leading to neighbors moving out).
- Hunger - The Sim's physical nourishment, which depletes over time. Can be replenished by eating food. The satisfaction of the meal (determined by the quantity of the meal and, if cooking, both the skills of the chef and the quality of the preparatory objects) determines how much of the Hunger meter replenishes, If the Hunger meter fully depletes for some time, then the Sim dies of starvation.
- Comfort - The Sim's physical comfort, which depletes over time as he/she stands and moves around. Can be replenished by sitting or lying down. The quality of the object the Sim is sitting/lying down on determines how fast the meter replenishes. If the Comfort meter fully depletes, then the Sim becomes irritable.
- Hygiene - The Sim's physical quality, which depletes over time (and by performing certain actions such as eating and using the toilet). Can be replenished by bathing, showering, washing hands, or gussying up in the mirror. If the Hygiene meter fully depletes, then the Sim becomes irritable and automatically has negative social interactions with other Sims.
- Bladder - The Sim's digestive state, which depletes over time (and by drinking coffee). Can only be replenished by using toilets. If the Bladder meter fully depletes, then the Sim attempts to make a mad dash to the closest toilet and, if not successful in time, urinate on the floor (severly depleting his/her Hygiene meter).
- Energy - The Sim's mental metabolism, which depletes over time (when they are awake). Can only be replenished by sleeping or by drinking coffee (adult Sims only). If the Energy meter fully depletes, then the Sim collapses from exhaustion for some time (and, if swimming, dies from drowning).
- Fun - The Sim's mental pleasure, which depletes over time. Can only be replenished by performing activities (such as watching television or swimming). If the Fun meter fully depletes, then the Sim becomes irritable.
- Social - The Sim's fulfillment of social interaction, which depletes over time (along with having negative social interactions). Can only be replenished by positive social interactions with other Sims. If the Social meter fully depletes, then the Sim becomes irritable.
- Room - The Sim's appreciation of the current environment, which changes as the Sim enters different rooms. Environmental problems, such as untextured walls and dead plants, have a negative impact on the Room meter, while expensive items have a positive impact on the Room meter. If the Room meter fully depletes, then the Sim becomes irritable.
Careers and Skills
Throughout the game, the player may allow their Sim to become employed, and climb the career ranks. To excel in their careers, Sims would have to gain a certain amount of skill, so that they may gain the necessary skills to advance (much like real life).
The skills are:
A Sim's personality would determine how fast they would be able to build a skill. For example, a serious Sim would excel in the Logic skill, an active Sim would excel in the Body skill, and so forth.
Sim children didn't have careers, but they did have to go to school. Too many school days missed or constant low grades would result in military school.
As mentioned before, there is no objective in the game (which means there is no winning), but there is a way of losing. The most obvious would be starvation, or burning up in a cooking accident (more are added on as the expansion packs were released). Once a Sim died, their grave remained on the lot, and would float through the house during the night times. A living Sim could interact with a dead Sim, though not directly - for example, if the dead Sim had a bad relationship with the living Sim, the ghost could easily haunt them.
The main neighborhood of The Sims (also known as Neighborhood 1) features a community of ten large lots set around a large, circular street known as Sim Lane. The neighborhood was later expanded in The Sims: Unleashed to be part of a larger neighborhood called Old Town. Eight of the ten lots are vacant from the start, with the other two being occupied by the Newbie and Goth families.
- 1 Sim Lane - Small empty lot. Default priced at §3,500.
- 2 Sim Lane - Large two floor, three bedroom, one bathroom mansion. Default priced at §50,777.
- 3 Sim Lane - Medium two floor, two bedroom, one bathroom house. Default priced at §24,793.
- 4 Sim Lane - Medium empty lot. Default priced at §5,500.
- 5 Sim Lane - Occupied by the Goth family. Medium two story, two bedroom, one bathroom house with a unique graveyard in the backyard.
- 6 Sim Lane - Small one floor, one bedroom, one bathroom house. Default priced at §10,206.
- 7 Sim Lane - Occupied by the Newbie family. Small lot with a one floor, one bedroom, one bathroom house. Default priced at §19,000.
- 8 Sim Lane - Large empty lot. Default priced at §7,000.
- 9 Sim Lane - Large empty lot. Default priced at §10,500.
- 10 Sim Lane -Small one floor, two bedroom, one bathroom house. Default priced at §14,144.
The game comes with five pre-loaded families that the player can choose to control. Two of these families already start in the neighborhood (the Newbies and the Goths), while the other three are in the "family bin".
Living on 7 Sim Lane, the Newbies are an unemployed couple that serves as the tutorial family for new players. The tutorial starts with only Bob, with Betty entering the family at a later point. (If the player ends the tutorial before Betty joins, then the player can continue playing the normal game with only Bob).
Living on 5 Sim Lane, the Goths are a typical family of three (with scientist husband Mortimer, wife Bella, and daughter Cassandra).
- Mortimer Goth (Male Adult, Taurus) - Science career (Test Subject).
- Bella Goth (Female Adult, Cancer) - Unemployed.
- Cassandra Goth (Female Child, Cancer)
From the family bin, the Bachelor household starts out with only one member: a recent college graduate named Michael.
- Michael Bachelor (Male Adult, Libra) - Unemployed. Sloppy, Outgoing, Lazy personality.
From the family bin, the Pleasants are a stereotypical "perfect" upper-middle class family, consisting of a military husband (Jeff), housewife (Diane), son (Daniel), and daughter (Jennifer).
- Jeff Pleasant (Male Adult, Cancer) - Military career (Elite Forces). Shy personality.
- Diane Pleasant (Female Adult, Aries) - Unemployed. Outgoing personality.
- Daniel Pleasant (Male Child, Sagittarius)
- Jennifer Pleasant (Female Child, Sagittarius)
From the family bin, the Roomies household consists of two female roommates: Chris and Melissa (known in the console versions as Chris Jones and Melissa Smith).
- Chris Roomies (Female Adult, Taurus) - Unemployed. Playful personality.
- Melissa Roomies (Female Adult, Aquarius) - Unemployed.