What Are The Sims? Explained

There is more to The Sims than meets the eye.

What are The Sims
Image via Maxis

Looking back over three decades ago to 1989, a game released that would be the start of a long-running life simulation series known famously today as The Sims. Let’s talk about The Sims series, including where it all began and how it’s evolved.

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What Types of Games are in The Sims Series?

At its core, The Sims is a life simulation game series where you can create and control a household of virtual characters. With these characters, known as Sims, you can do day-to-day household tasks like cooking, cleaning, socializing with others, and going to work. As The Sims games evolved, game packs and updates have been released to broaden the activities and character types you can control, from communicating with the Occult to exploring different worlds.

The Sims originated from the SimCity series, with the first game released in 1989. Over time, the SimCity series expanded, leading to the 2000 title, The Sims. Since then, four The Sims games have launched, the latest being The Sims 4 in 2014 and The Sims Mobile in 2018.

What Do You Do in The Sims Games?

In The Sims, your initial goal is to create a household of Sims and help them fulfill their needs and desires. You enter a character creator, where you can customize your Sims’ appearances and personalities before placing them in a pre-built home or a house you create yourself. From here, your Sims spawn in their house, where they’ll live their daily lives, with you able to control their every action. Your Sims can also age, have children, and pass away for various reasons.

While your Sims will mostly go about their daily lives and have free time to work, relax, and socialize with others, you’ll also have to get them to cook, clean, and care for themselves and any children they may have. How you care for a baby will vary from an adult, and how you care for an animal will differ from your human characters.

During your playthroughs, you’re responsible for making enough money through your Sims’ lives to pay for food, bills, and other expenses while keeping their needs high and their wants, wishes, or whims fulfilled.

Outside events also play a role in your Sims lives, from neighbor Sims coming over to befriend you to thieves attempting to break into your home. Depending on the game you play and any game packs you own, you can also find various events like holidays, paranormal interactions, and other miscellaneous encounters.

Similarly, you can interact with outside characters and turn them into friends, enemies, or lovers, and even engage in fights, romance, and other events that influence your relationships with others.

What is the Goal of The Sims Games?

Playing The Sims games, you create your own objectives and stories with your households. The games don’t have an overarching quest line to complete; you can go whatever route you want with your Sims. If you want them to become rich, you can pursue high-paying careers or explore various money-makers to accomplish this. If you want your Sims to live a life of crime, every game gives you options for doing this.

In short, The Sims games are designed to challenge your creative skills by offering an endless number of routes you can go during your playthroughs.

By playing The Sims, you get the opportunity to express your creativity through creating your own characters, building your own houses, and trying different activities with your Sims to accomplish your goals. While some may have a family of actors and actresses to become rich and famous, others burn their houses and Sims to the ground minutes after starting their playthrough. Whatever your objective is, you have dozens of avenues to pursue it in The Sims games, with these paths changing throughout each entry in the series.

Along the way, you can also get to know NPC Sims in the game, discover their family history, and dive into the lore of each game. Although each The Sims game differs from one another, some details carry over between them, connecting each world and its secrets. While a household like the Spencer-Kim-Lewis family was first introduced in The Sims 4, others, like the Goth family, have been around since the first game and have deep layers of history you can explore as you compare them in each entry.

If you’re ready to start your journey in a The Sims game now, check out how to go to work in The Sims 4, or click the tags below to browse our growing article lists.

About the Author

Madison Benson

Madison was a staff writer at Prima Games who has played video games for over twenty years and written about them for over two years. Her love for video games started with turn-based strategy games like Heroes of Might and Magic and has since extended to casual farming sims, MMORPGs, and action-adventure RPGs.