The Sims

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Fandom
Name: The Sims
The Sims 2
The Sims 3
The Sims 4
Abbreviation(s): TS, TS1, TS2, TS3, TS4
Creator: EA Maxis
Date(s): February 4, 2000 - present
Medium: computer games, video game
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: official website
The Sims logo
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The Sims is a franchise of life simulation games by EA Maxis. It has four main entries, The Sims, The Sims 2, The Sims 3 and The Sims 4. It has had various spin-offs such as The Sims Medieval, The Sims Social, and The Sims Stories.

Canon

The video games are sandboxes that the player can change and edit at will (to an extent of course). Each game has at least a Town, where you are able to build it up by creating new families or playing the established families already inside the game such as the Goth Family or Bachelor Family. The characters, which is called a Sim can be edited by you, changing eye color to hair to clothes and even personality.

Each game has a series of expansions that you can buy to add more to your town or Sims. The Sims 3 introduced stuff packs, which focused on added new clothes and items to the game rather than new gameplay options, in addition to having an online store where players could purchase sets of clothes, items, and worlds for real money. The Sims 4 introduced game packs, which each add a single smaller gameplay element along with more items, and kits, which add a either a small number of items or a new gameplay event. The Sims 1 series had 7 expansions, the second series had 8 and the third had 11. Several of Sims 2 and Sims 3 added new towns as well. As of March 2021, Sims 4 has 10 expansions, 9 game packs, 18 stuff packs and 3 kits.

In the Sims 1 series The Sims could only become or are ghosts and zombies, however the second series added vampires, Plant Sims, aliens, witches, werewolves, the third series added mermaids, imaginary friends, mummies, genies, fairies, and robots, and the fourth series added skeletons, although only as a temporary lifestate[1].

Fandom

The Sims have a large following, with many of the fans since the beginning (2000) still active and follow to each new series, others tend to stick to their original series due dislike some of the newer features. The Sims 4 is particularly contentious, as the base game lacked content that had been included in previous entries. There are various communities dedicated to fandom, including challenges and fan made content that are made available through various websites. As of 2021, most fan content and CC are being created for The Sims 4, but earlier entries still have active communities.

Fans often create stories and vids about their Sims. The stories are sometimes featured as like a picspam, with writing between the photos - these are often created as responses to the Sims Challenges. Sometimes fans will instead add captions on top of pictures in the style of subtitles, or will post pictures periodically to a blog without much surrounding text for context. Even the official websites accept Sims stories [1]. The Sims series is very popular as a tool to make machinimas, either with voice acting or dialogue written on screen as subtitles. Common types of machinima videos include music videos, short films, or series.

These stories may also include documenting gameplay challenges, including legacies. These sometimes take the form of Let's Plays. Gameplay challenges are fanmade rulesets for gameplay that are designed around a certain theme. The legacy challenge, adapted for Sims 2, 3, and 4, is one of the most popular challenges, and focuses on creating a successful family lineage. Some challenges are based off preexisting fandoms, like the Hunger Games Challenge. Instead of gameplay, challenges may be based on CAS and build mode, so documenting them may involve posting a video of the player's process creating the sim or build, or posting screenshots of the finished result.

There are also fanwork challenges in Sims fandom, such as gift exchanges. One prominent example is Simblreen, an annual gift exchange of sims content on Tumblr.

Modding

Modding is a very important aspect of the Sims franchise and is generally accepted by the PTB, who even have an exchange website where you can download custom content for free, provide official modding documentation and are open to (some) modding questions by creators through official channels.

Mods can be broadly divided into script mods (often referred to simply as "mods"), which make changes to the gameplay, and custom content, new items added to the game designed by users, such as furniture or clothing. Modders may also create custom poses and animations for use in screenshot edits and machinimas. One notable example is the very active WickedWhims animators community (most of it hosted on LoversLab), which adds realistic sex animations to the game.

Many of the websites available for The Sims consist of listicles of mods and other custom content, sometimes reposted without the original creator's permission. In the days of the first installment, a game company downloaded freely available custom content online and sold it as a bootleg expansion pack to the game in the European market.

It's very common for Sims modders to monetize their fanworks to varying extents. Many place download links to their content behind link shorteners or give an option to users to click on one to support the creator. Others release content on their Patreon before making it public (a practice sanctioned by EA) or sometimes exclusively. This last practice is generally considered illegitimate based on information released by EA, but this interpretation is sometimes disputed. The generally accepted reading is that content shouldn't stay paywalled for more than three weeks. Wank often ensues between fans about where the line should be drawn when it comes to monetization. Some examples of the most common arguments:

  • Link-shorteners may expose users to malware and as such they shouldn't be the only download option when it comes to CC
  • Whether creators can profit from their mods depends on how much they rely on code/resources made by others
  • All CC/mods have to rely on EA resources to be game-compatible and as such any monetization outside of EA's sanctioned three-week window amounts to piracy

Official Fan Involvement

The powers that be generally encourage fan involvement as a way to generate interest for the game. Fans have been officially involved in the game in several ways, up to and including paying fans to create content to be officially included in the base game or in packs. This has become increasingly true for the Sims 4.

Cross-Fandom Activity

Fans of other fandoms often include those fandom characters as Sims, usually dressing the Sims in their costumes (example X-Men: Evolution inspired Sims) or naming the Sims the characters names pairing them with whoever they wanted. Other times they would add different Mods such as clothes inspired, posters, pictures, or content related to another fandom (example Disney Princess Bedroom). Fans may create machinimas using sims as fandom characters, or post edited screencaps as a form of fanart or image-based fanfiction.

Some packs also contain nods to other fandoms and works. For example, The Sims 3’s Island Paradise expansion adds three characters who are considered to be inspired by The Little Mermaid - two of Ariel (Ariel Walsh, a human, and Mia Azul a mermaid) and one of King Triton, a mermaid named Triton King. A list of some sims based on fictional characters can be found here. The Sims 3 Hidden Springs downloadable world includes several Sims who parody characters from Cinderella (Disney), including Ella Carlisle (based on Cinderella (character)), Ella's stepmother and stepsisters, and Sebastian Vanderburg (based on Prince Charming (Cinderella)). In addition, the Veronaville neighborhood, which comes with the Sims 2 base game, is a parody of Romeo and Juliet and includes characters named after major characters from this play as well as others from a number of other Shakespeare plays.

In addition, the Sims 4 features the Star Wars: Journey to Batuu pack, which explicitly takes place in the Star Wars universe and features Sims of Rey, Kylo Ren, Vi Moradi and Hondo Ohnaka. The Sims 4 also features the StrangerVille pack, which appears to be based on the plot of the first season of Stranger Things.

Terminology

  • Alpha - Detailed, high polycount CC that aims to make the game look more realistic. Most commonly used for Sims 4 CC.
  • CAS - Stands for “Create a Sim”, a game mode where players can create or customise their sims before playing.
  • CC - An abbreviation for custom content, a term used for modded clothes and items added that don't change gameplay.
  • Maxis-Match - CC that mimics the style of the base game, most commonly used for Sims 4 and 2 CC.
  • Recolour - A form of CC that adds additional colour swatches to existing meshes.
  • Simblr - A Tumblr blog dedicated to Sims content.
  • Simlish - The Sims' language.
  • Simmer - One who plays the Sims.
  • Simoleons (§) - In-game currency in The Sims.
  • Sul Sul - Simlish for ‘hello’, sometimes used by fans.
  • WCIF - Stands for "Where can I find," used to ask someone where they found a piece of CC.
  • Woohoo - The Sims name for sexual intercourse, this is probably due to younger gamers.

Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fanfiction

  • Strangetown, Here We Come by Strange_Tomato. A very influential fanfiction covering most of the Sims 2 universe, but with particular emphasis on the Grunt, Nigmos, and Smith families.
  • Alice and Kev by roBurky. An original story set in the Sims world focusing on the non-human-controlled actions of a homeless girl and her father.

Machinimas

Stories

Let’s Plays

Other Videos

Script Mods

Sims 3

Sims 4

Custom Content

Fan Communities, Blogs and Websites

LiveJournal Communities

Simblrs

Websites

Resources

References

  1. ^ Life States at The Sims Wiki