The Sims is a video game series developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. It is the most successful video games series of all time. As of April 16, 2008, the franchise has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, and as of June 22, 2010, is the best-selling PC franchise in pc history.
The games in The Sims series lack any defined goals (except for some later expansion packs which introduced this gameplay style). The player creates virtual people called "Sims" and places them in houses and helps direct their moods and satisfy their desires. Players can either place their Sims in pre-constructed homes or build them themselves. Each successive expansion pack and game in the series augmented what the player could do with their Sims.
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As of February 2005, The Sims franchise had shipped more than 52 million copies globally. As of April 16, 2008, the franchise has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. As of March 19, 2008, The Sims franchise is the best-selling PC franchise in history. Along with celebrating its 10th anniversary on February 4, 2010, Electronic Arts announced the franchise has topped 125 million units sold.
The Sims is the first game in the series. Developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts, it was released for Microsoft Windows in February 2000. The game uses isometric projection and features open-ended simulation of the daily activities of one or more virtual persons ("Sims") in a suburban neighborhood near SimCity. Seven expansion packs and two bonafide deluxe editions with exclusive content have been released for this game. It was repackaged in several different formats and different versions of it were released on several different platforms. By March 22, 2002, The Sims had sold more than 6.3 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling PC game in history, surpassing Myst. The original game, all seven expansion packs, and the two exclusive deluxe edition content packs constitute the first generation of the series on the PC. All PC releases in this generation were developed by Maxis.
The Sims 2
Electronic Arts released The Sims 2 on September 14, 2004. The sequel, developed by Maxis, takes place in a full 3D environment, as opposed to the dimetric projection of the original game. Other additions to the original gameplay include aging through six life stages from infancy to old age, which eventually leads to death. In addition, this game features clear "days of the week" with weekends when children could stay home from school, "vacation days" when Sims could take time off work, an "Aspiration Meter" that fills up or empties according to the desirable or undesirable experiences of a Sim, and "Aspiration Rewards" which could be purchased using "Aspiration Points" which are earned each time a Want is successfully fulfilled (thereby creating a desirable experience).
The Sims 2 is set some 25 years after the original game. For instance, the Pleasant family (available in the family bin in Sims 1) has settled in a suburban neighborhood, and their family tree panels reveals relationships with the original Pleasant family from the Sims 1. Additionally, the Goth family has aged significantly with Bella Goth mysteriously vanishing in the 25-year period (suggestively from an alien abduction). Brandi Broke (the daughter of Bob and Betty Newbie) is mourning the loss of her husband and has to raise two children alone. Johnny Burb has become an adult and is married to Jennifer Pleasant. Michael Bachelor (deceased at the start of The Sims 2) is revealed to be Bella Goth's brother.
The entire game has progressed from 2-D sprites to 3-D models, thus all content in The Sims 2 had to be created from the ground up. Some objects and features were ported from the original game to the sequel. Due to this, The Sims 2 was not made backwards-compatible with any content from the first generation of the main series.
Electronic Arts has released eight expansion packs and nine stuff packs for The Sims 2. Over 400 exclusive items have also been released for this game via The Sims 2 Store. All of these releases constitute the second generation of the main series. It is noted that development of this generation was handed over from Maxis to The Sims Division sometime during 2008, with the former studio focusing its resources on its next project - Spore. In 2008, EA announced that sales of the franchise (including all games released under The Sims brand) has surpassed 100 million.
The Sims 3
The Sims 3 was announced by EA in November 2006. It was available at retailers worldwide and available by digital download on June 2, 2009. The production of The Sims 3 started after the release of The Sims 2. It is believed to be set 25 years before the original game, and features improvements to the User Interface as well as an open, seamless neighborhood. This core game and future releases will constitute the third generation of the main series.
Two expansion packs and two stuff packs have been released thus far for the third generation of the series. A new expansion pack, The Sims 3: Late Night, has been announced and will be released in October 26, 2010. In addition, many items are available online for additional fees at The Sims 3 Store.
It is noted that Maxis is no longer involved in the production of the franchise since its handover to The Sims Division back during the second generation. Maxis will instead be focusing its resources on developing its new franchise: Spore. In addition, EA announced on April 8, 2009 that Will Wright has left Maxis to run Stupid Fun Club, which is an entertainment development studio founded in 2001 to develop "new intellectual properties to be deployed across multiple fronts including video games, movies, television, the Internet and toys".
The Sims 4
On April 7, 2010, an EA employee confirmed over Twitter that production of The Sims 4 had started. This release will lead the fourth generation of the series. Most likely the game will be confirmed at a trade fair in Japan, which will start on September 15, 2010.
The Sims Online
In December 2002, Electronic Arts shipped the Maxis-developed The Sims Online, which was later named EA Land. This online game recreates The Sims as an MMOG, where actual human players can interact with each other. This spinoff did not achieve the same level of success as the original The Sims game that the producers and developers anticipated. Reviews for EA Land were extremely lackluster. Many reviewers likened The Sims Online experience to an enormous chat room where few participants, if any, had anything worthwhile to say. On August 1, 2008, EA-Land's servers were closed permanently. There have been many attempts to revive the game, all of which have been so far unsuccessful.
The Sims Stories
The Sims Stories is a series of computer games from The Sims series released in 2007-2008 that is based on a modified version of The Sims 2 engine. This modified game engine is optimized for play on systems with weaker specifications such as laptops. As such, its system requirements are lower than that of The Sims 2, but it can still be played on desktops. One feature of this game, if played on a laptop, is the auto-pause function, which stops and starts the game according to when the laptop lid is closed. This series is introduced mainly for 3 segments of the market: those who wish to play The Sims 2 on their laptops (which usually have lower specifications); those who wish to engage in other activities such as instant messaging while playing the game, and; those who are new to the franchise. In addition to a Free Play mode with classic, open-ended game play, the games also contains a structured, linear Story mode where players are required to complete a series of goals in order to progress in the storyline. While Life Stories and Pet Stories each contain two separate stories, Castaway Stories contains one story that is double the length of any one story in the first two games. As an introductory series, major features are removed or modified from that in The Sims 2. For example, fears are completely removed in all three games, and the elder life stage is completely removed in Pet Stories. Officially, the save files from this series are not compatible with the main The Sims 2 games. However, players have experienced success at adapting some files.
Three games have been released to date. Currently, no new games have been announced for this series.
MySims is series of console games created by EA exclusively for the Wii and Nintendo DS. They feature Chibi-like characters (a tiny bit smaller and similar to the Wii's Mii avatars). The first game in the series was released in September 2007. It is also known for being the first Sim game released in Japan. MySims SkyHeroes, the newest addition to the MySims line of games, will be released in September 2010.
The Sims Carnival
The Sims Carnival is an online community, based on the award-winning series The Sims, that allows its users to create and share their custom-made games created with its Flash based game editor.
The Sims Medieval
The Sims Medieval is the first in a series of standalone games that allows The Sims to explore different themes, space, and time. This means the new series of games, much like The Sims Stories line, will not be additions to the main series, but rather separate entities that bring forth a departure in gameplay from the main series. In The Sims Medieval, the game will take place in medieval times. The character creation, simulation, and architectural features from the main series will be significantly altered and reduced to allow a sharper focus on role-playing gameplay. Players will choose from a variety of pre-defined "hero" characters to play through the game.
Console and handheld versions
The Sims era
The Sims is the first console release that shares the same name as the base game in the first generation of the main series.
The Sims Bustin' Out is the second title in The Sims console series. Bustin' Out was released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance and N-Gage in the fourth quarter of 2003. As the title suggests, Sims can get out of the house to visit other locations such as Shiny Things Lab or Casa Caliente. There are two modes. Bust Out Mode which has mission based gameplay and Freeplay Mode which is open-ended gameplay very much like the original The Sims PC game. It was the second Sims game to not be on the PC; it was a follow up to The Sims, which was very similar to Bustin' Out, except the aims were shifted to getting job promotions and constantly fulfilling goals to get ahead in the game. The PlayStation 2 version also features the option to play online, though EA no longer supports it.
The Urbz: Sims in the City is a game focused on sims living in an urban setting, presumably within Sim City. The player must earn reputation and complete tasks for characters. It was released for Xbox, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance. It features The Black Eyed Peas as NPCs.
The Sims 2 era
The Sims 2, The Sims 2: Pets, and The Sims 2: Castaway have all been released for various platforms including the Wii, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and Nintendo DS systems. The Sims 2: Apartment Pets, considered a sequel to The Sims 2: Pets by Electronic Arts, was only released for the Nintendo DS.
The Sims 3 era
The Sims Movie
June 6, 2007 -  Producer John Davis gives classic 80's flick Weird Science a nod in the movie concept, which involves a couple of kids getting their hands on something called The Sims Infinity Pack.
"What they realize is that they can scan their world in, because this is the most life-like, real Sims game ever. As they are playing this, they are all of a sudden realising [that] what they are playing on the game is having an effect on the real world. So in effect, through the game, they are able to control their world. It's wish fulfillment, and obviously it turns against them."
September 21, 2008 -  Interview with slated director John Davis.
The success of The Sims resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series 5 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include "World's Biggest-Selling Simulation Series", and "Best Selling PC Game of All Time" for the original The Sims game, which sold 16 million units, 100 times EA's original projection of 160,000 units.
EA has revealed the development of 3 future The Sims titles. MySims SkyHeroes for consoles and handheld is scheduled for release between July 1 and September 30, 2010. The Sims 3 for consoles and handheld is scheduled for release between October 1 and December 31, 2010. The Sims Medieval, announced on August 4, 2010 is scheduled for release between January 1 and March 31, 2011.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Electronic Arts (2008-04-16). "The Sims Celebrates 100 Million Sold Worldwide" (PDF). Press release. http://info.ea.com/news/pr/pr1052.pdf. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 IGN: The Sims 3 Set for Global Launch in 2009
- ↑ The Sims Franchise Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary and Continues to Break Records. TMC Net (2005-02-07). Retrieved on 2007-05-19.
- ↑ The Sims turns 10, tops 125 million units. GameSpot (2010-02-04). Retrieved on 2010-07-01.
- ↑ Walker, Trey (2002-03-22). The Sims overtakes Myst. GameSpot. CNET Networks. Retrieved on 2008-12-05.
- ↑ http://www.thesims3.net
- ↑ http://www.simprograms.com/sims-4-in-production-and-a-note-to-those-in-the-community/
- ↑ About - The Sims Stories. The Sims 2 (EA). Retrieved on 2007-10-31.
- ↑ About The Sims Stories: Coming Winter 2008. Yahoo! Games. Retrieved on 2007-10-31.
- ↑ http://kotaku.com/5053209/the-sims-movie-concept-explained
- ↑ http://www.collider.com/entertainment/interviews/article.asp/aid/9244/tcid/1
- ↑ http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/62278