A series of people simulators from Maxis, the creators of the insanely popular SimCity. Players are in charge of the lives of everyone in a neighborhood, though you can only play one household at a time. For that household, mind the Sims' needs (food, sleep, fun, socialization, hygiene, and the like) as they guide them through the daily grind of dealing with work, chores (and the kids, if you're inclined to get your Sims to start a family). Sometimes things go awry, and your Sims won't listen to you, or they'll have nervous breakdowns. It can be more fun to let this happen if you're feeling sadistic, or just like to see your Sims implode, have their house catch on fire, or die en masse. Alternately, you can set up your own little Soap Opera, or recreate your favorite fictional characters, or even just play normally.It's a series of games about Real Life. It Will Never Catch On.Here are the main titles in the franchise so far:
The Sims (2000). The first game introduced the core features of the franchise: simulation of households; a large neighborhood of families you could control and intercontrol; purchasing increasingly-expensive and increasingly-efficient household objects; a comprehensive house-building feature which even trained architects enjoy using. Sim personalities worked on a Point Build system using five ten-point scales with a total of twenty-five points to distribute between them: Outgoing/Shy, Grouchy/Nice, Playful/Serious, Neat/Sloppy, Active/Lazy, which tied in with star signs based loosely on the astrological signs of the Western Zodiac; an engine that is very receptive to Game Mods. Having said that, there was no aging in the game: children remained children forever, nobody died (unless you caused them to), and once you had made your Sims fat and rich there wasn't much else to do to or with them.
The Sims 2 (2004) introduced three interconnected concepts: aging, Wants and Fears, and Aspiration. Sims now age through various stages—infant, toddler, child, teen, adult, elder —and could be created in any stage except the first. (College aged Young Adults were added in the first expansion pack.) They also came with an "Aspiration," an overall goal for their life: Family, Romance, Wealth, Popularity, Knowledge, and (eventually) Pleasure. Starting with the first expansion pack, this would assign the Sim a (randomly-generated) Lifetime Wish, which keeps them happy for the rest of their lives if they achieved it. In the meanwhile, it also controlled what Wants and Fears would pop up; these were general life events, from "Have First Kiss" to "Eat Trademark Favorite Food". These would contribute not only to a Lifetime Aspiration Score, which could be used to purchase various loosely realistic in-game objects (the most basic of which being a literal Money Tree), but also to the Sim's real-time Aspiration meter. This corresponded roughly to self-esteem or general mood, and could override a Sim's physical-needs total if it was high enough. Of course, it also lost XXX points every few hours, and if it hit bottom the Sim would have a Heroic BSOD (Played for Laughs). Fulfilling the Sim's lifetime wish would fill their Aspiration bar to the max for the rest of their lives, but (of course) you get a certain amount of time to do this before they croak. Meanwhile, personalities continued to be calculated on the five scales/star sign model, but gradually more features were added through expansion packs, such as the ability to gain or lose personality points under certain circumstances and the introduction of memories, turn-ons, turn-offs, attraction/chemistry, interests and hobbies.
The Sims 3 (2009), placed more emphasis on the neighborhood by making it all accessible in realtime and making all families age and evolve along with yours, but this could be turned off. It did away entirely with the Aspiration meter and removed Fears; instead, when you fulfill a Want, it just adds a positive "moodlet" to your physical-needs total, thus streamlining gameplay immensely. Lifetime Aspiration Score is retained, but the prizes you get from it are mostly modifications to the Sim's capabilities instead of physical objects (Bottomless Bladder, The Casanova, etc). The Point Build Personality was removed in favor of five "Traits" which had direct and practical effects on gameplay: for example, an Athletic Sim learns the Athletic skill faster and gets more enjoyment out of their workouts; a Clumsy Sim trips everywhere, which can add a lot to transit times; and an Evil Sim can gain enjoyment from messing with other Sims, or use a coffee machine to make Evil Lattes. Relationships were simplified, with Sims sharing a relationship bar so both parties have the same opinion of each other, no longer allowing unrequited feelings. Finally, The Sims 3 added significant flexibility to the Sim and object design and customization options, though at the cost of very reduced support for user-generated, made-from-scratch objects, clothing and hairstyles.
The Sims Medieval (2011) is a standalone Total Conversion that put the Sims in a Medieval European Fantasy. The game departs from The Sims formula to some extent, increasing the strategy and roleplaying aspects and removes the daily hindrances, such as the need to urinate, but still retains much of The Sims gameplay. The "Sim" the player nurtures throughout the game is the kingdom itself, though the populace can be customized as well. It is also one of the more violent games, featuring Religion, Alcoholism and Murder, themes not present in the older series without mods.
The Sims 4 (to be released in 2014). EA and Maxis have announced that this iteration of the Sims series will celebrate "the heart and soul of the Sims themselves" and have the Sims show more personality than in previous installments. The game will feature new tools to customize worlds and share them with others. Unlike SimCity (2013), The Sims 4, to be released in 2014, is being billed as a single-player offline experience.
If you want altered forms of play, there's My Sims for the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS, which has the dressings of The Sims but lacks a lot of the essentials of the game. Instead, it's more like Animal Crossing, but for people who prefer to work with cute chibi humans instead of a bossy tanuki.
There's also The Sims Social on Facebook. It combines the stamina meter and profusion of pickups from Farmville with a more social and collaborative gameplay experience, including several forms of currency and various crafting reagents that either Randomly Drop or must be donated by friends of yours who also play the game.
The three mainline games have had, as of 2013, at least seven Expansion Packs each, all of which add new features, permutations and gameplay options (such as the ability to become vampires or plant-creatures, go to college or on vacations, own pets, open your own business, and so on). The two sequels also have a number of "Stuff Packs" associated with them; these only provide new objects as opposed to gameplay functions. According to EA, the franchise passed the one-hundred-million-units mark during the Sims 2 era, but they're probably counting the expansion packs, which they maybe shouldn't.The Sims series is known to be extremely addictive in most and/or all of its variants. The game includes tools which allows you to export your houses, Sims, and neighborhoods as Downloadable Content for other people; and, as mentioned, there is a huge variety of unofficial Game Mods which change the way the game functions. It has been used to create several works of fiction: Rooster Teeth Productions, creators of Red vs. Blue, were employed by EA to make "The Strangerhood" using The Sims 2 as a marketing effort; and a British college student created a homeless-father-daughter drama blog called "Alice And Kev" using the third game.
Any Medium or Dark Sim in TS1 or TS2, would probably qualify as Ambiguously Brown, since Sims don't really have any ethnicity unless you give them a name that implies they have one. (This also makes the lighter-skinned Sims Ambiguously White.)
However, the range of customization options in The Sims 3 makes it perfectly possible to create a classically African-looking, or northern Chinese-looking, or Japanese-looking, or whatever, Sim if you so wish.
In the first game, Sims always seemed to be programmed to take a dip in your pool...when they barely know you.
The third game has a couple weird quirks. Sims always follow you to public lots whenever you visit them. Specifically this is to keep say, the city park from being too empty. The problem comes in when you come in at weird hours and people with no reason to be there show up. They proceed to mill around until their schedules take them elsewhere.
Toddlers regularly sit on the doorstep in their houses.
They will also crawl over to the top of the stairs and sit there, if they're on the second floor, for example. This almost always happens when someone else has been told to pick them up.
In the first and second games, visitors would sometimes play with a baby without even knowing the baby's parents. This was fixed in the third game.
Sometimes the friends of your Sims can break into your house for no reason when your Sims are sleeping, and then proceed to mingle around and annoy your pets, and then go home only when they get exhausted. This can also fit in Artificial Stupidity.
Artificial Stupidity: In spades. In the original and both of its sequels, Sims are very, very stupid creatures: running towards a fire and doing a panic dance two feet away from it instead of pulling out the fire extinguisher, screaming and panicking when a burglar breaks in instead of grabbing the phone and calling the police, pigging out on the contents of the refrigerator when their hunger bar is full but the others are critically low, and many more equally idiotic stunts that would get a normal person killed fairly easily.
Sometimes the Sims do things that no sane human would ever do, ranging from the mildly eccentric to the vaguely creepy to the batshit insane. These include:
Having no circadian rhythm. They will go to bed at eleven AM if that's when they're tired, and then wake up at ten PM the next night fully rested and not mind at all. They will never have any trouble sleeping, except for Sims with the Light Sleeper trait in The Sims 3.
If you put them in a swimming pool with no ladders, they will swim around until their motives drop, they get exhausted, and sink. They don't even have the artificial intelligence to float on their backs autonomously, which would probably use up less energy.
Sims with the "Absent-Minded" trait in The Sims 3 sometimes will "forget what they're doing" while they're panicking because there's a fire. Or forgetting that they are going to the Hospital because they're currently in labor.
Sims never seem to have heard of "stop, drop, and roll". It takes them an hour to burn to death, and they jump up and down screaming the whole time, not even trying to put out the fire.
Playing some game until they're about to wet themselves, and then ''do'' because it takes them an hour to walk inside.
And finally, the motherof all stupid actions, running directly towards a burning fire or other disaster, then standing shrieking until the fire burns out. Fire safety is not big in SimNation.
They can study Fire Safety, but the only difference between a Sim who has studied Fire Safety and one who hasn't seems to be that one who has will carry babies and children out of the house, then resume screaming about the fire indoors.
If your sims are woken up by a robber (which usually doesn't happen, despite his hammy laughter), they'll panic about the robber instead of calling the police. Even funnier, is if the robber sets off an alarm, who then panics and wakes up any sleeping sims, who then come into the room just to panic about the robber, who happens to be panicking over his inevitable arrest, instead of trying to bolt out of the house.
Subverted somewhat in the first game in that the descriptions for railings in build-mode state: "[Railings] keep Sims from walking off the edges of balconies and stairs," continuing: "(Really, Sims aren't that dumb, but balustrades are pretty all the same.)" At least that's something to their credit.
The third game has improved their intelligence a bit. Rather than igniting their kitchen when they try to cook, they'll more likely just burn their food or cook really bad quality food. That is, unless you forget about the food in the oven or deliberately steer them away from it...(This is common at University, where your dorm mates will abandon their cooking at class time. They also break everything.)
Brave and Dare Devil Sims will quickly grab the fire extinguisher and put out the fire before the Fire Fighters arrive.
Cowards are actually smart enough to run away from the fire, which is pretty impressive.
And unlike the previous two games, Sims in The Sims 3 can climb out of pools without ladders. They can't climb out if you surround the pool with objects, though.
The Sims Medievallampshades this in the opening cinematic. As it turns out, Sims aren't too good at maintaining a civilization without outside help.
"Watching these events led you to an epiphany: people are dumb."
This actually happened in The Sims 3. A Sim's house was being robbed, so the Sim called the police, the police entered the same time as the robber was leaving. Passing each-other. Then when the police enters seeing no robber he chews out and fines the Sim for wasting his time.
All careers require you to have a certain amount of friends. However, later on they were changed so that you could have your working sims go out and work their jobs, while one (or two) sims stays at home and mingles with the neighbours and get friends, which count towards the friendship requirement.
Friendships in general. The Sims 3 streamlined the relationships so that their relationships didnt' have to be mutual. This removed a massive headache.
Allowing your sims to actually chat with other sims over the phone. Surprisingly this was not included in the first game, which confused a lot of people.
Allowing you to set relations with your own sims via the Create-A-Sim. In the original Sims game, you'd create sims who are supposed to be a family yet barely know each other, so before sims who were supposed to be married could even sleep in the same bed, you had to devote about 10-15 minutes making them talk to each other and do things to make their relationships up. After Sims 2, you could preset their relationships so that married Sims will have a romance with each other, and sims with children will actually know who they are.
Sims 4 actually is adding some in the form of a smart phone. Sims in The Sims 4 are able to look for a job from their phone and look for what job. Originally, you had to get lucky and find a job in the career path you wanted.
Bottomless Bladder: Averted; you have to help your Sims fulfill needs for things like food, bathroom use, sleep, fun, and social interaction. Although it's more like inverted — Sims seem to have bladders the size of peas since they have to go to the bathroom roughly every couple hours for about five to ten minutes each time. It's not as egregious in The Sims 3, with Sims generally only needing two bathroom trips a day.
Also played straight in The Sims 3: one purchasable lifetime reward, Steel Bladder, gives your Sim a literal bottomless bladder.
Boy Meets Ghoul: Particularly in the second and third generations. Your normal human Sims can fall in love, and have sex with various undead creatures, including zombies, vampires, mummies, and ghosts.
Breakout Character: Basically any pre-made character who becomes popular with the fans. In the original PC game in particular, the intended focus was very much on the player creating their own characters and thus only twelve pre-made Sims were included: The Newbies (Bob and Betty), The Goths (Mortimer, Bella and Cassandra), The Pleasants (Jeff, Diane, Daniel and Jennifer), The Roomies (Chris and Melissa), and Michael Bachelor. All proved to be incredibly popular with players, particularly the Goths and the Newbies, and got a fair amount of back-story and development in later games. (With the exception of Chris and Melissa, whose follow-up appearances were limited to having their surnames confirmed in the console version before developing Chuck Cunningham Syndrome in the sequels, much to the displeasure of their fans.)
Bug Catching: Sims can catch bugs and get a collection box with pictures of the species they've caught in 2 and 3.
The Sims 3: That opportunity the Science Lab gives you to resurrect the dead? Take a wild guess what happens. If you choose this, the sim will become a playable character and be able to do everything normally, but will be a ghost. They can be brough Back from the Dead or choose to return to "The Netherworld".
Can't Have Sex, Ever: Not until you're an adult, so that's never if you've disabled aging. It makes sense when it comes to young children, but lacks verisimilitude when it comes to teenagers - and this in a game where physical assault and profiting from crime are acceptable.
This can be disabled with mods in Sims 2 and 3, most famously the Inteenimeter mod in Sims 2.
The Sims 3 has several, although they're usually more Casanova Wannabe to begin with, with two or three romantic interests at most. Tied in to the Heartbreaker Lifetime Wish, which involves having ten consecutive romantic relationships.
Surprisingly subverted by Castor Nova. Even though he's being romantically pursued by every girl on campus, he's actually just very friendly and charismatic, and seems unaware that the attention he receives from his female friends goes beyond the platonic.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Quite a few Sims from TS1 do not appear nor are even mentioned in TS2, and tons of Sims from TS2 don't appear in TS3.
Cloudcuckooland: The entire 'verse, in the original and both sequels. Planting eggs in your garden and growing "eggplants", garden gnomes that come to life at night, men giving birth to alien babies...and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Creepypasta: Is the subject of a few of these. Notably Sonny the Tragic Clown, Your Friend: Sims 3, Sim Albert, and Why You Should NEVER Make Sims Based Off Of People You Know.
A lot of "aversions" in The Sims 2. Thanks to Seasons, streakers at University will run around fully clothed if it's cold outside. University in general was forgotten about a lot in the later expansions.
Averted in The Sims 3. Let's put it this way: By the time your Sim is promoted to an executive chef, your boss is still going to be a line cook.
Does Not Like Shoes: You can make your Sims go barefoot all the time. Originally, this was tied to legs overall, and work uniforms overrode this temporarily, forcing your Sims into footwear; however, The Sims 3 has footwear as its own category and patch 31 added the option to fully customize your work uniform(s), so you can now invoke this even at work.
Everyone Is Bi: Sims can engage in romantic interactions with members of either sex, although there's a couple of places where, given the same relationship values, it assumes a romantic relationship for opposite-sex pairs and a platonic one for same-sex pairs. The Sims 2 changed this by providing a sliding scale of sexuality. Pregenerated characters start with a given sexuality and the sexuality value is primed for initial pairings in a family, but after that, their interactions with other Sims determine whether their value increases or decreases. Notably, this only impacts a few things, such as their Wants and their autonomous behavior; a player-controlled Sim will never turn down a romantic interaction, or refuse to do one if directed by the player, with anyone (aside from direct family members) that they have a sufficient relationship with. A happily married male Family Sim with three children will readily accept his male friend's romantic behavior toward him while his wife is in the room, no questions asked. (Said wife may not be so tolerant of this behavior.)
There are mods which allow the player to give Sims specific sexualities; Gay, Bi, or Straight and mods to allow checking the internal value, and there are several premade characters that are generally played gay, most notably Pascal Curious (who is actually set as straight), Beau Broke, Nervous Subject, and Frances Worthington III.
Frances actually starts out with no sexuality. Him being gay seems to have become fanon though. (Could be the fault of Strangetown, Here We Come. Frances and, by affiliation, Beau, are almost the mascots. Besides Jo Phe Ripp and Sugar Tits the World's Most Useless Servo, anyway.)
Strangetown especially is a breeding ground for this. Most of the characters there are "passively" bisexual without the player's input(They won't autonomously flirt with someone of the same gender, but will not react negatively to one flirting with them). Buzz and Tank Grunt, as you probably figured, start the game rigidly straight, and they're pretty much the only ones. Nervous Subject, on the other hand, very much prefers men and reacts negatively to women flirting with him.
There are no premade women in TS2 who have strictly gay scores; Circe Beaker, Titania Summderdream, and Ariel Capp are all bisexual, while the former two are in love with/married to men. Meanwhile, Nervous Subject, Kent Capp, and Jason Cleveland are arguably bisexual because while their preferences suggest they're exclusively gay, they have storylines pairing them with women with no hint that there is a conflict there.note Nervous is given a girlfriend in The Sims 2 PSP and cares deeply for her. Jason is married with a child and starts with a near-perfect relationship score with his wife. Kent does not start with any romantic attachments but is nudged toward Bianca Monty anyway in the household descriptions — although it's only said that Bianca has affections for him, not the other way around, and Kent's bio calls it a friendship.
In The Sims 3, Gobias Koffi is preset as gay (though, as with anyone else, it's possible to have him fall in love with a woman.)
This page of The Sims Wiki provides a few more examples of premade Sims with preferences of the same gender.
Fictional Currency: The simoleon is the series' standard currency and its mark is represented as a section sign (§).
Forum Pecking Order: The official forum has its own variations and categories. The Gurus (those on The Sims team) are highest in the pecking order. Users with popular designs on the Exchange and users with technical know-how are also high rankers (and possibly the most likely to answer posts concerning glitches and bugs).
French Maid: The maids wear this costume. The female ones anyway.
Frothy Mugs of Water: Likely intentional as the Sims has always had a sort of tongue-in-cheek nature to the world in which it's set but there are two examples from the third game; Nectar (a 'censored' wine expy) and Juice bars (which apparently involve Flare bar tending for making cocktails when a mixologist is at work).
Averted in The Sims Medieval, where there's not only beer and wine, Sims can also get drunk.
Gasshole: Sloppy Sims (or Sims with the "Slob" trait in 3) burp and fart randomly.
Gayborhood: Possible with The Sims 2 and The Sims 3, though it will only work so far without the use of hacks, mods and/or Sim PE.
Gender-Blender Name: A large number of pre-made examples, including Gwayne Bayless and her daughter Chase, DJ Verse, Sam Thomas and Scout Sergeant (all women), who between them demonstrate most of the ways this trope can be played. There are many more similar examples, male and female, throughout the series.
Gold Digger: Dina Caliente and Jessica Peterson from The Sims 2. Also, it's a lifetime wish in the 3rd Installment, with Kurt Shallow and June Shallow being premade Sims with this want.
Half-Identical Twins: This can be easily created by the player by making one Sim, cloning it in either Bodyshop (TS2) or Create-a-Sim (TS3), and changing the gender. While the sex differences between teen and older Sims can be dramatic enough to mask the similar facial genetics, the models of prepubsecent Sims are identical. A premade example of this are Jason and Jodie Larson from TS2: Open for Business, although even then Jodie has lighter skin.
Has Two Mommies: The Sims has no formal relationships, so any adult in a household with a child was considered that child's parent by the game engine. This led to situations where children could end up being raised by parents, step-parents, parents' roommates, two couples at once, and so on - all the while happily regarding them all indiscriminately as his or her parents.
The Curious brothers in The Sims 2 seem to be preparing to raise Pascal's alien baby between the three of them.
The Single Moms and Single Dads households (from The Sims 3 and PC and Console versions, respectively) feature same-sex friends who are single parents, share a house and appear to be raising their children together in (initially, at least) platonic relationships.
Linn Valstrom from The Sims 3: Aurora Skies DLC is being raised by her adoptive Dad and his male friend - who, incidentally, are heavily implied to be a couple, although their starting relationship values just have them as Best Friends Forever.
Dylan and Audrey Shears from The Sims 3: Roaring Heights DLC are a same-sex couple who have had a biological son together thanks to "advances in science" (this is not currently possible in-game without hacks, however).
This trope can be invoked by the player in any Sims game except The Sims Medieval, where same-sex couples are unable to have children, though they are free to marry.
It's technically still possible even then, but requires a bit of forward planning as you'd have to marry an opposite-sex spouse, have the desired number of children, divorce or kill off said spouse and marry the same-sex partner of your choosing, who would then be recognised as the child's step-parent.
Instant Gravestone: All of the games use this, specifically it will be an urn if it's indoors and a tombstone outdoors, and it will change if the player moves the grave marker. If a sim's grave is on a lot, that sim's ghost may show up at night.
Instant Home Delivery: There's no need to wait for your furniture, major appliances, or even your entire house to be delivered and installed.
Leaving Food For Santa: Since the games don't keep track of dates past the day of the week (and the first game not even that), the only conditions for invoking a visit from Santa are placing appropriate furniture items, including a nice plate of cookies.
Loading Screen: The more expansions you have, the longer it will take. The screen displays various phrases, which start out normal in The Sims, but get sillier and sillier with each additional expansion added on, with the exception of "Reticulating Splines", which has been used as a standard Maxis loading screen phrase since SimCity.
The seventh (FreeTime) expansion for The Sims 2lampshades this—-one of the phrases is "Writing Startup Scrolling Text Strings".
Splines get reticulated, re-reticulated, scolded for reticulating...
In Apartment Life, they get asked to reticulate more quietly.
The "Reticulating Splines" thing is silly too; it's a running gag that originated from the loading screen from SimCity 2000 as a placeholder for other serious phrases, which was left as the initialization step.
In "Teen Style Stuff" the Reticulating Splines line is "Like, totally reticulatiing splines, dude."
In The Sims 3, Sims can write books on their computers, where the player selects the genre and a window pops up asking you to write a title, or giving you the option to stick with a pre-generated title. One of the pre-generated titles in the "nonfiction" genre is "Reticulated Splines: A History".
The Sims 3: Ambitions gives us Sneaking Cookie Dough.
Loads and Loads of Loading: Maxis is working on addressing these with each new game, and in The Sims 3 once you are in the game there is very little to no loading. Starting the game and saving when you're finished, however, is a long wait.
The Sims 3: University Life lampshades it by displaying "Protesting Loading Screens" on the main loading screen.
The latest update has a "Find the Object" minigame to pass the time while the game loads, which the better you do you earn more Lifetime Reward Points for every member of your family.
Almost every single premade Sim has a name that means something. The Pleasant family, for example, goes far beyond just Angela and Lilith. Their parents names are Daniel (judged by god) and Mary-Sue (A term for a character who is portrayed in an overly idealized way). Mary Sue is a workaholic perfectionist, and Daniel is cheating on her with the Maid (In fact, the very first day you play the family, unless you ignore the chance card that pops up (it's rigged) , Mary-sue is sent home from work early and catches Daniel cheating on her if the player doesn't stop him from doing so).invoked
In Greek mythology Ambrosia is a food said to be the gods source of immorality. In the Sims 3 Ambrosia is a special dish that resets the life state and revives ghosts. And how do you make Ambrosia? You catch a Death Fish using an Angel Fish as bait then add a Life Fruit (who even has a halo for that matter). It should be noted that eating Ambrosia grants the Simmer the "Divine Meal"-moodlet. EA really shown their work when they came up with this.
Modern Stasis: It's always The Present Day in SimNation. This results in a bizarre "timeless" world in which the great-grandparents of the current generation grew up with exactly the same technology.
More Criminals Than Targets: You can, in fact, have every player-created Sim be in the Crime career. Of course, since everyone takes a carpool to work, maybe they're traveling to someplace that does have targets.
Most Gamers Are Male: One of the greatest subversions of this stereotype. A majority of The Sims fans are female, and the series has been credited with bringing more women into gaming and breaking down the gender divide.
Pixellation: Female Sims are pixellated shoulder-to-knee when showering or using the bathroom, male Sims from waist-to-knee.
It's a simple matter to remove it, though. There was even a console command to do it at one point, but it was disabled, for obvious reasons.
In the console ports, your Mom calls out Malcolm Landgrabb with a pixellated middle finger and bleeped Simlish.
Polar Opposite Twins: Throughout the series, several premade twin pairs are said to be this (whether their actual personalities back this up varies). In TS2 there are the Pleasants, the Curious sisters, the Rubens, the Davises, and the Cordials, while TS3 so far has the Avillas, the Durwoods, and the Nelsons. Additionally, while the Calientes are not said to be opposites, their personality points are exact opposites of each other in TS2. The player, of course, can create more of these pairs.
Real Life Writes the Plot: The game's creator, Will Wright, lost his home in the Oakland-Berkeley Firestorm. It was while assessing what he had lost and figuring out what he needed that led him to think about the value put on material possessions, which in turn led to a game where Sims constantly buy and replace their home's goods, and where those goods have a large impact on their success.
Right Through His Pants: Sims do not pull their pants down when using the toilet, and in The Sims 2, they get out of bed after Woo Hoo still wearing underwear. This is strange in that in the The Sims, which had much less Getting Crap Past the Radar (the "Play in Bed" option was only on one type of bed, babies came from lots of kissing, etc.), people got out of bed after the "Play in Bed" interaction naked.
Role-Playing Game: The Sims is seldom referred to as one, but it definitely is a Role Playing Game. It is based entirely around RPG Elements like attributes, skills, experience, personality traits and quirks, dialogue and relationships with other characters, diverse inventory and powerful customization tools. Some expansion packs (such as The Sims 3: World Adventures) even go that extra step by adding actual dungeons and combat into the mix, but these are played in just the same way as a Sim's regular work day followed by some dinner and a movie - and sometimes a regular work day can still be more challenging!
Scenery Porn: The destination spots in World Adventures. The maps make Sunset Valley look amateur by comparison.
The designers love to put lots of detail into things that aren't necessarily important.
Lunar Lakes may count as well. Many players agree that this is the best Neighborhood EA had ever made.
Lucky Palms counts as well.
Sunlit Tides counts definitely here. It's a tropical Hawaiian town with a huge blue cove, a volcano base, and a luscious green jungle.
Monte Vista, being based off of Italy, is undoubtedly beautiful with its architecture, ruins and sunsets.
Self Insert: It's possible to make a Sim based off of yourself.
Sequel Difficulty Drop: Truth be told; this was one of the more merciful examples. It was easier to make friends, but they would pretty much degrade rapidly if you didn't talk to them every single day. The later ones make it easier to keep friends, but it's harder to make friends. It's worth noting that unless you spent a bunch of hours into the game in the first one, you pretty much had to cheat.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The Goth family. Hardly a moment goes by when they aren't mentioned in a pop-up, description, or message, and more than half of the entire series' Easter Eggs are about them; the other half tends to be about the Landgraabs.
Stealth Pun: The Sims 2 introduces the possibility of giving birth to twins, and The Sims 3 allows triplets.
Castor Nova. Even though it's likely the developers intended this to be more of a pun on Casanova, fans have picked up on the more literal meaning of the name, to the point where Fanon usually gives him a twin brother named Pollux.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Most Sims' jobs in the series are done off-screen. Only some craft jobs (painting, writing etc) and hands-on careers from The Sims 3: Ambitions and further on, are visible to the player.
Too Dumb to Live: Sims left to their own devices tend to either do nothing on their own or do incredibly stupid stuff. Medieval flat out tells you in the intro that the Sims are "dumb" and have a tendency to doom themselves and their civilization without your guidance.
Trademark Favorite Food: Sims with the Grilled Cheese aspiration take this Up to Eleven, with their entire lives revolving around acquiring more of the orange stuff they crave. Their addiction is so powerful that they may eventually gain the ability to conjure a grilled cheese sandwich out of thin air!
Although favourite foods weren't properly part of game-play until The Sims 3, several characters in 2 have a note in their bios mentioning their favourite foods, for example the Caliente sisters (bread pudding for Nina, chocolate for Dina), Brandi Broke (grape juice) and Stella Terrano (cookies).
The Sims 3 adds the ability to set a character's favourite food, colour and music. When a Sim encounters their favourite food, they will briefly clap and look happy before tucking in, and the resulting Moodlet will be slightly more powerful.
Variable Mix: Each expansion for The Sims 2 remixed the original or University theme in a way relevant to that expansion's new musical genre; Club, New Wave, Country, New Age, World, Indie Wave and Techno. In The Sims 3 this theme goes orchestral.
Video Game Time: A minute of in-game time passes for every second of real-life time, so something as simple as walking from the bedroom to the bathroom can take half an hour, up to an hour if two people meet at a door and one has to step away. On the other hand, activities which in real life would take months if not years, such as building up strength through physical training, can happen over the span of a few day in-game. So, a Sim can learn to play the piano quite well in a few hours, but it takes him almost an hour to drink a coffee.
Taken to almost comedic extremes due to engine limitations in The Sims 2. It's possible for an entire neighborhood, save one person, to go through (to take a completely random number) three generations during the time it takes that one person to have a cup of coffee, and yet they'll still be able to interact with those three generations without aging a second.
The Sims 2, plus University and Seasons, equals academic years (Six days) being shorter than weeks (Seven days) which are longer than seasons (Five days).
Cars, hot tubs, photo booths and elevators in The Sims 2.
While touring some of the rabbit holes (the theatre, City Hall, the Science Lab, and the Military Base), in a sarcophagus, in a tent, and in a time machine in The Sims 3.
Also now in The Sims 3, you can woohoo in the shower and in the tree house. If you woohoo in the tree house, there's a possibility that the Sims will get a splinter.
World of No Grandparents: In TS1, this was literally the case, as there were no familialrelations at all, In TS2, where familial relations are established, this is the case for most of the families; with just a few exceptions, none of the teen sims have living grandparents. This persists in TS3.
Writers Cannot Do Math: There are a lot of age discrepancies with characters who appear in both The Sims 2 and The Sims 3.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Both Sims 1 and Sims 2 have non-natural hair colors to choose from, although in the latter's case they are not available in Create-A-Sim or Body Shop and thus can't be genetic; player-made hairs can bypass this. Sims 3 does away with that restriction and even allows all hairstyles to be changed to any color the player wants.
One of the pre-made townies at Sim State University in The Sims 2 is a blue-haired guy wearing an athletic strip. In The Sims 3 there are a few pre-made characters with blue hair, such as Amy Bull from Twinbrook.
The female Sim shown in most promo art for The Sims Online has blue hair with darker roots showing.