Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Twenty years after their release, The Sims marked an entire generation

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Two decades after the release of the very first The Sims game, a new opus is in preparation and the enthusiasm of the fans does not weaken. The reason for the success? An adventure with infinite possibilities, which you can’t get enough of.

A character in his image or an alien, a luxurious residence or a modest house, a spouse, children, a pet, friends… The possibilities are almost endless. For twenty years, a game has offered millions of people the opportunity to create a second life behind their screen.

1.6 billion Sims created in 20 years 

The Sims franchise, made up of four games, marked several generations. At the origin of this crazy project, a certain Will Wright. In the 90s, this American created a city-building game that had become cult, SimCity. Legend has it that in 1991 his house burned down, prompting him to think about building and decorating his new home. The idea of ​​a new game was born and after several years of work, the “life simulation” dimension of virtual characters was added to it. 

The figures published by the publisher Electronic Arts on the occasion of the anniversary date of January 4 testify to the popularity of the game. In two decades, 1.6 billion Sims have been created, 1.3 billion sessions of “crac -crac” – understand “parts of legs in the air” – took place, leading to 37 million marriages and some 173,000 toddlers. 

“Build the perfect home” 

On YouTube, entire channels are dedicated to the gaming world, such as that of BellePinte , a 26-year-old Belgian. Her first encounter with The Sims dates back to when she was 13, but it wasn’t until a year ago that she decided to devote herself fully to it. 

“In 2017, I bought The Sims 4 but it’s an opus that I shunned for a very long time. Besides, I hated playing with the characters so much that I turned to something else. I don’t had almost never built on the game and there, I discovered an ultra-successful tool”, says the youtuber. 

Her credo: construction, one of the pillars of the game. On her channel which has 46,000 subscribers, she reveals castles at 2 million simoleons (the virtual currency of the Sims) or analyzes on the new features to come thanks to her status. of EA Game Changers, which allows him to receive the games in advance. Each video requires between 10 and 30 hours of work.

“It’s not profitable, but I have a lot of fun and my brain is in perpetual turmoil!”, Puts the Belgian videographer into perspective. 

A game with endless possibilities 

For Noémie, at the head of the NS channel which has 145,000 subscribers, the success of the game is explained by the absence of rules. 

“All players play differently. The fact that there is no specific goal awakens creativity. We look for a goal and we play to achieve it. When you get tired of it, you can find another one. We then discover another facet of the game, whether in the creation of character, house or story. That’s why I still play it today”, explains the student at the School of Audiovisual Production (Esra). 

The simulation game is deliberately realistic. You have to deal with the work of the adults, the school of the children, the desires to go to the toilet, to eat or to sleep of the characters. 

“Certain aspects are highly researched and the developers draw inspiration from many cultures to make the game look like the most players. But there are still completely crazy interactions, even if it is no longer enough to remove the ladder [de la piscine, ndlr] to drown our characters… They had to learn to climb back over the edge in 20 years!” , laughs Noémie. 

The sadistic dimension of the game has also contributed to its popularity. On the Reddit forum , Internet users had fun listing the worst things they had done to their Sims: removing the door and letting them die, turning them into slaves, creating a black widow… Tutorials called  “How to kill a Sims easily” also exist on YouTube. 

A female game?

On the Google-owned video platform, videographers specializing in The Sims are often women. Is this a game for girls?

“I have often heard that it was an easy game, even that it was not a real video game. But for me, the people who say that do not have enough creativity to create constraints and to set goals. It’s certainly easier to play a game where everything is predefined than to have to rack your brains to create our own way of playing”, tackles Noémie.

The fifth part of The Sims is in preparation, confirmed this week Andrew Wilson, the CEO of Electronic Arts. But he has not announced any release date. 

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