If you’ve been keeping up with all the hype around The Sims 4, you know that these aren't the same Sims you played with when you were 10. A lot's changed since EA Maxis first debuted The Sims in 2000, and not just in terms of how computers have changed, or how and where you’re playing the game (we won’t tell if you’re using your work PC to get your Sims fix. We get it).
So, what exactly has changed since the beloved first version of The Sims? The short answer is: mostly everything. Though at its heart The Sims will always be the game that lets you escape reality and micromanage other people’s lives for change, if you haven’t played the game since the early 2000s, I doubt you'd recognize your beloved Sims in its current form.
If you haven’t played the Sims in a few years — or just want to take a trip down memory lane — here are a few notable ways that The Sims have evolved over the past nearly 15 years.
They look more like humans
In the first version of the game, designing your Sim’s appearance was essentially limited to choosing between two genders, four hair colors, three hair lengths, two or three shades of skin tones, and a few dozen snazzy outfits. I might be exaggerating, but not by much. The original Sims game could be frustrating if you wanted to build a character that looked exactly like you because, well… the Sims characters didn’t look exactly like anyone.
Each subsequent version of The Sims has made strides to expand your choices in customizing your Sim, with the latest Sims 4 coming a long way from the original basic design package that made every Sim look the same. The Sims 4’ s updated control features break away from the sliding scale model, now allowing you to directly manipulate your Sim’s body type, facial features, hair color, and even voice with the click of a mouse. You can even adjust where the wrinkles are placed on your Sim’s face. Now that’s precise.
Thanks to these newly fine-tuned tools, you can essentially make a virtual clone of yourself and set her free in the Sims world. To prove it, one of Sim’s producers, Ryan Vaughan, tried his hand at creating a Sims clone of himself and his colleagues around the Sims studio with The Sims 4.
Houses got smarter
In the early 2000s, the original Sims seemed pretty high-tech as far as architectural design goes. You could build houses that somewhat resembled your home in shape, size, color, and window placement. You could install that pool that you always wanted, with a diving board and everything.
The extensive catalog of furniture and decorating tools was a little hard to navigate (where did I just find that lava lamp? The grandfather clock? The dog bed?) but the choices felt endless.
Little did you know back then — the choices were about to become nearly infinite. The Sims 4 now allows you to give your home a little more personality through a faster, simpler building interface.
Long gone are the days of the original Sims, when you had to painstakingly construct one wall at a time.
Now, Sims 4 users can place pre-constructed room shapes on their open lot, pulling and pushing the boundaries of the room to create their ideal room shape and size. Even better — if you have a change of heart mid-play and decide to change the size of your room after furnishing, no worries! The Sims 4 intelligently adjusts the placement of furniture to accommodate the new wall positions.
If you’re really pressed for time, you can place fully furnished, pre-designed rooms like the “Queen Anne Style” room onto your lot (even though that kind of takes the fun out of the whole Sims experience, in my opinion).
But, unfortunately, no more pools.
Death became more imminent
In the first version of The Sims, your Sims could meet death in a limited number of expected ways, such as by drowning in a pool or being trapped in a building with no doors and a blazing fire. In other words, they were relatively safe.
Each version of the game since 2000, however, has added more ways for the Sims to meet their demise, with The Sims 4 taking the crown for including the most extensive and bizarre list of ways to kill your Sims. Methods include death by laughter, flies, satellite, or man-eating houseplant.