Is there anything more interesting than watching people? Especially when you can control those people and tell them what to eat, what to wear, where to live and who to talk to?
The Sims is part dollhouse, part Big Brother-style social experiment, part soap opera and part god game. Of course, this was always going to be one of the most successful videogames ever made.
The genius with The Sims is not only in how mimics human behaviour but that it has something to say about it. The Sims is a game where the player observes people but also makes plenty of observations itself. The way that female characters get annoyed with toilet seats left in the upright position is something that we can all relate to, and that’s why the world warmed to The Sims – it’s true to its subject matter, human nature.
It distils human relationships down to binary but there’s still something to be learned here about how people relate to one another here and that’s part of the fascination. Players can choose to micromanage every aspect of their sims’ lives or just set them up and watch them go and the way you play The Sims probably says as much about you as The Sims says about people. Or something.
Later iterations added more detail, more options, more possibilities, but it was the original Sims and its genius premise that will live on in the history of gaming as one of the greatest ever games.