I’m ten years old, sitting before a hulking CRT television. I’m gripping the controller, cable snaking away to my trusty, chunky PlayStation 2 console. The glittering excitement in my eyes may suggest I’m playing an action title. No, an adventurer? A racer! I must be, as I seem to be enjoying myself immensely.
In reality, I’ve just moved out of my Mom’s house. I pocketed as many simoleons as she’d give me, sold all her furniture (and walls), and ran for the hills.
It is 2003. I’m playing The Sims.
I have an immeasurable number of fond memories from the various Sims titles that have launched in the last 20 years. It’s one of those franchises that I got involved in at the start and have adored ever since. Yes, I even enjoyed The Urbz – fight me.
It’s a timeless and omnipresent franchise that’s accessible to all. The ability to live whatever life you desire is at your fingertips, quite literally. I’ve personally played every main release (and some side content) and would happily go back at any moment. They’re fan favourites and – despite a few hiccups over the years – are always well-received and brilliantly built.
But which was my favourite?
That’s easy – The Sims 2 Castaway.
It may sound like a strange pick, but I absolutely loved Castaway. It was a Sims game like no other – marooned on a tropical island. It had monkey companions, a volcano, pirate wrecks and palm hut buildings. You didn’t buy furniture, but foraged, scavenged and hunted for the parts required. You didn’t pull a meal from a fridge, you climbed, dug and fished for it.
I was something like 12 years old, I can get away with loving that.
Honestly, it was fantastic! If you created more than one character, you’d find the others at random on your journey around the island. There were puzzles to solve, secret areas to access, and quite an ‘open world’ feel about it all! It also employed the Sims 2 ‘movement method’ in that it was direct control and not ‘point and click’.
So, where is it now?
Currently, the main iteration is the fourth – and it’s doing quite well. There’s a stack of expansions and stuff packs present to enjoy, and the base game itself is altogether quite enjoyable.
As a franchise, The Sims is quite literally record-setting. It holds the Guinness World Records for both the most expansions for a series and best-selling PC series. It’s estimated that over the course of its lifetime, The Sims as a franchise has accrued more than FIVE BILLION DOLLARS in sales! That’s something like 200 million copies!
That’s a lot of simoleons!
We can more or less assume there isn’t going to be a new Sims title in 2020. Although the games release once every four or five years, EA haven’t so much as teased a new title as of yet. Further, they’re still releasing new packs for the current iteration – Sims 4.
However, it won’t be long before rumours of the fifth instalment are circulating! There’s still great potential for The Sims as a franchise, such as:
- Revisiting the online aspect, and having a persistent world players interact in.
- Building a more open, expansive world for Sims to explore.
- Deeper interaction in activities, particularly transport, skills and sports.
- Better construction and manipulation opportunities for the ‘neighbourhood’.
What do you think? Is there anything you’d like to see from the next Sims title?
Let us know in the comments!