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2023-06-14 19:20:14

The Sims 1 - An LGR Retrospective Review

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Yeah , it's about time I cover this .

The Sims just passed its 15th anniversary , which is hard to believe .

It's hard to believe that this has grown into all that it has since then .

And I've kind of put off doing a review of this for a long time just because it's such a special thing .

And I've always wanted to do like , you know , what do I do a review , a retrospective , a making of like a Tech Tales kind of thing .

Why don't I just do a little bit of everything .

So without further ado , it's time to take a look at the Sims developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts on February 4th 2004 window P CS .

But does this game really need an introduction ?

It's a franchise that's sold over 175 million units appealing to all ages and genders .

So statistically speaking , you've probably heard of it and at least know something about it .

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Instead , let's dwell on the glory of this box art and all the promise that it promised anyone else just loved these big gatefold boxes that flipped open on the front .

It's like there was way too much cool stuff for marketing to restrain themselves to just the back of the box build , buy live .

What they do with their life is up to you .

And back in 2000 , this was a monumental event because nothing like this had been done before .

Well , except for games like alter ego , little computer people and even a bit of Jones in the fast lane .

Ok .

So maybe it wasn't completely unique , but it got a ton of attention right off the bat due to its creator , Will Wright , the man responsible for another one of the biggest games of all time Sim City .

While the impact of that game is best suited to a video on its own .

Let's just say that Sim City was a groundbreaking event and Mister Wright could have easily retired after making it .

Thankfully , he wasn't the kind of guy to just sit around and being a restless creative .

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He immediately started thinking of his next big project after Sim Earth and Sim Ant .

He had three games in the works known as Project X Y and Z .

Project Z was an in depth simulation of the Hindenburg airship .

Although this never left the early development stage project Y was a helicopter simulation that lets you fly around your maps from Sim City .

And this eventually was released as Sim Copter .

And finally , there was Project X which was an architectural simulation that eventually turned into the Sims .

There were multiple inspirations behind Project X One being the Oakland California firestorm of 1991 where Mr Wright lost his home .

The ensuing process of building a new house and filling it with stuff and determining which things were more necessary than others .

Gave him an idea for a game .

Further inspiration came from the book , a Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander , which presented an architectural theory based on function before form .

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It was also influenced by the various home design programs on the market as well as his most recent game Sim Ant , which featured a man living out his life while he was the player overwhelmed his house with ants .

All this culminated in a prototype titled Home Tactics , the Experimental Domestic simulator and eventually became known internally as Dollhouse from the inclusion of virtual people that would go around and judge the design of your home .

Focus testing for the game started as early as 1993 but things weren't looking good .

The focus group absolutely hated it .

The marketing people at Maxis didn't get it and the project was put on the back burner for years .

It wasn't until Electronic Arts bought Maxis in 1997 that the game got a second chance .

At first .

It was an uphill battle once again with E A executives not getting the idea and wanting to remove the building aspect of the game entirely .

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But thankfully , Luke Bartlett was made general manager of Maxis who saw great potential in the idea and decided to bring in all the best talent they had to work on the project and get it done .

Finally , after years of blood sweat and tears , the Sims was unleashed onto the gaming public and received nothing short of rave reviews and massive sales .

Then will Wright made spo and quit Maxis .

And it was sad .

Anyway , inside the box , you get the game itself on this delightful CD ROM as well as the manual for the game with 90 pages of information featuring tips on how to play and even an appendix of recommended reading material to better understand the social issues touched on in game .

The Sims starts off with an intro video using both pre rendered and in game footage .

The end game stuff particularly is fascinating seeing as it uses early placeholder art for things like the indicator above your Sims heads , which looks nothing like the plum Bob used in the final game .

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Then you're whisked away to the neighborhood screen which by glancing at the roads wouldn't appear out of place in Sim City 3000 .

But instead of building a city here , you're building Sims , you can play the existing newbie household if you want to go through a tutorial before diving in on your own .

But one of the biggest draws here is making your own Sims using creative family .

And I have to stress once again , this was like nothing else I'd ever played back then allowing me a level of customization , rarely seen outside of computer role playing games .

You could create yourself , your family , your friends , your high school crush , your favorite celebrities , whoever you wanted .

Granted , it's absurdly lacking in customization compared to any of the later games .

But at the time , this was more than enough to kick your suspension of disbelief into high gear .

Once you're done giving your Sims some clothing , a personality and even a detailed biography .

If you so desire , then it's off to plop them into the world .

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Sims are given 20,000 Somalians to start out with Simians being the unit of currency in the Sims also used previously in Max's games like Sim City 3000 using this cash .

You can either buy one of the pre made houses or just purchase a vacant lot and build your own .

Buying a house is selling good , but putting together your own from the ground up was always wildly more appealing to me .

Much like Mr Wright , I too was intrigued by the various home design programs on the market back then .

Even as a kid , I was always drawing room plans and designing buildings using lego erector sets and anything I could get my hands on .

My parents actually bought me my first home design program when I was about eight years old and I played the crap out of it .

Well , I say played but yeah , you get the idea .

I have always loved thinking up designing and building things and the houses were something I was familiar with since , you know , I lived in one .

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So when the Sims came along and I was able to bring these ideas to life and then also put virtual people in them to see how well it worked .

This was nothing short of revolutionary to me .

And to many , I even heard of realtors using it , recreate homes to do virtual tours with and a local radio personality going on about how they used their entire yearly vacation time to just build things in the Sims .

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And once you were done in build mode , you could move on to buy mode , which allowed you to fill your home with all the amenities of modern living , complete with the requisite and charming mid 20th century shopping music , amusingly , this music that evoked classic Americana alongside the material rewards of the game in the neighborhood setting led many to see the Sims as a commentary on American suburbia and modern consumerism .

That's an idea which will Wright actually addressed and rejected explaining that since the game was to be simultaneously released in 14 different languages that they really just needed to develop a culture generic enough that people around the world would understand its important features right off the bat .

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As a result , they created what wright called American television culture for the game , which resulted in it having a setting that mimicked what you would see in like a typical American sitcom .

For instance , the Sims themselves were also specifically designed to be anything but photorealistic allowing for the player to more easily superimpose themselves into the game without getting hung up on details that would potentially detract from that idea .

This also led to the Sims speaking Sim , a fictional language which originally debuted in the game .

Sim Copter , experimenting with fractured Ukrainian French , Latin Finnish , Icelandic English , Fijian Cebuano and Tagalog .

The team at Maxis devised a language that would easily translate around the world by not having to be translated at all .

You never really know what the Sims are saying .

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And this is by design , not only because it would be incredibly costly to translate into all the other languages , but also because it once again allowed the players to suspend disbelief by imagining what the Sims might be saying .

Hey , it also helps the game avoid the common problem of dialogue that repeats so often that it becomes grading since if you can't understand it , then it's not quite as irritating .

And that's definitely a good thing because the Sims is one of the most compelling games to play .

Period .

If you let it get its hooks into , you , just prepare to play for days , weeks , months and even longer as you progress in the game in true Sandbox form , the goal here is completely up to you since literally , all you're doing is living a virtual life as with life in general .

It is what you make of it .

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The first thing to do is make sure your SIMS stay alive and happy and you keep tabs on this by referencing the needs panel .

These motives will show that they get tired , get bored , uncomfortable , hungry , lonely , stinky need to take a dump and they need to have pleasant surroundings .

All of these need to be met or you'll have one seriously depressed sim in no time Sims have their own free will .

Of course .

So they'll do things like eat and pee on the floor all by themselves .

But any big decisions like buying a new TV set or removing the pool ladder from the pool while they're still swimming is completely up to you .

Of course , killing them by drowning or starving them as they stand in a pool of their own urine or setting them on fire is a rite of passage for any simmer to this day .

Their life is literally in your hands and that sense of God like power is intoxicating .

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It's up to you to make Sims get a job and climb the career ladder or find love and get married or even just sit around eating pizza all day and hanging around the house until they die .

And a life of sitting at home is a more viable option than you might think .

Seeing as the game doesn't actually allow you to leave your home a lot .

Sure your Sims can go to work or school , but you don't follow them there .

So you're effectively a prisoner of your own home .

Not that I was complaining at the time , mind you , I was entertained for hundreds of hours content to be living out my virtual lives and listening to that amazing soundtrack by Jerry Martin and company still , it was quite the limited experience .

And the only way to meet other Sims was to talk to them whenever they walked by your house or started constantly ringing on your doorbell .

At least that was the case until expansion packs came along .

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Yes , expansions , a point of contention among players at times , but also an invaluable resource and making the game more playable .

Especially in the first one .

The Sims was host to live in large house party hot date vacation Unleashed superstar making magic deluxe editions , a complete collection featuring everything in one box and even weird third party packs which I've covered in a review of their own .

There were also free downloadable items and programs like the Sims creator that lets you easily create custom Sims and then upload them for others to use in their own games .

This stuff was highly encouraged and the open and customizable nature of the game led to a vibrant dedicated modding scene with fan sides popping up left and right about as soon as the game launched , the Sims has fostered a huge sense of community as the years have passed with Simmers happily sharing their creations , stories and wishes for future content with others , as well as with Max's directly .

This has its ups and downs , of course .

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But overall , it's been one of the most rewarding and entertaining experience , experiences of my life .

Heck , I owe a massive amount of my own success with my You Tubing career to the Sims series .

So I am hugely grateful to anyone involved from the people at Maxis for making the game itself to the people online that have shared my Sims content over the years .

And it all comes back to this game right here .

The Sims , a monumental title in gaming history and one that has genuinely changed my life for the better the game in its original form is admittedly difficult to go back to after a decade and a half of playing more complex versions though you just run out of things to do so quickly and the scope is super limited even with expansions and their motives diminish so quickly that it makes it more of a chore than anything , but it's just a classic experience with real soul inside it .

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And you can still have a lot of fun if you can just take yourself back to a time when this was new , plus the mixture of pre rendered isometric objects and backgrounds with the 3D Sims themselves resulted in an aesthetic that's actually somewhat timeless and it's already aging better than some other games of the time .

Yeah , it spawned an army of Sequels and spinoffs and turned into a cash cow that's been milked half to death .

But all you have to do is take a look at this original incarnation to see that it was the result of pure passion .

Will .

Wright and Maxis came up with something truly special here .

And even if you don't care for the game personally , you would be hard pressed to deny the overall impact the Sims made .

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And if you enjoyed this nostalgic , look back at the Sims , even though it featured copious amounts of comic Sans just like the game itself , then you might want to check out some of my others .

I've covered pretty much all of them in some way or another including play throughs of all the expansion packs for this game in particular .

So check out my channel for those or just subscribe to be notified whenever more of them are created and you can also interact with and follow me on Twitter and Facebook for other things throughout the week as well as support L G R on Patreon to get videos early and just be awesome .

Well , I hope you enjoyed this and thank you very much for watching .


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