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Video Game / The Sims

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A series of people simulation video games from Maxis, the creators of the insanely popular SimCity.

Players are in charge of the lives of virtual people ("Sims") 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, or they'll be kidnapped and impregnated by aliens. 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: Bustin' Out (2003), which serves as a sequel to the console version of the first game. While the first console game was more or less a 3D port of the PC version with a story mode, the sequel had much more depth and personality. The main gimmick of the game is the ability to "Bust Out", which gave your main Sim the ability to visit their neighbors and interact with them. In the "Bust Out" story mode, your main Sim has lost everything due to the villainous Malcolm Landgraab, so they must advance to the top of their chosen career path, as well as fulfilling other goals and helping out a number of other Sims who've also been wronged by Malcolm. Bustin' Out also had a handheld version on the GBA and N-Gage systems, which was more of an adventure game with some visual sim elements, along with certain features from the main games such as fulfilling needs.
  • The Sims Online (2001) was a MMO based on the first Sims title. It went off-line in 2009. Later revived as FreeSO.
  • 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 Stories: A trilogy of spin-off games for PC built in The Sims 2 engine, designed as laptop-friendly lite versions of the main game without the weight of expansion packs slowing performance. Instead of being an open-ended sandbox, the player guides one or two Sims through a multi-chapter story mode. (After these modes are completed, the game is playable as a sandbox more or less the same as the main game.) The Pets and Castaway variations both received console ports to the Wii, DS, PS2, and PSP (usually following a very different story and without the sandbox modes).
      • The Sims Life Stories (6 February 2007)
      • The Sims Pet Stories (19 June 2007)
      • The Sims Castaway Stories (29 January 2008)
    • The Sims 2 for PSP (7 December 2005): Similar to The Sims Stories, this is exclusive console port is built using The Sims 2 engine but is heavily story-based.
  • The Urbz (2004) is a console spinoff, and a sequel game to the console game The Sims: Bustin' Out. It takes place in an urban environment named Urbzville. Unlike the main series, the characters are referred to as "Urbs" but are otherwise exactly like normal Sims. There is no romance system in The Urbz (although there are some romance-like interactions like kissing) and you cannot have children. The game follows a plot where the protagonist need to scale up the social hierarchy and befriend other characters. A sequel was in development at one time but was cancelled before an official reveal.
  • 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.
  • 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, as it features murder which is normally not present in the older series without mods.
  • The Sims Freeplay (December 15, 2011) An app game similar to The Sims 2 in gameplay but with The Sims 3 assets, and the FarmVille formula. Worth mentioning because they actually managed to alleviate the microtransactions criticism by finding a happy medium between the Farmville formula and single player gaming (the in game currency, simoleon, is easy to get, and Life Points can be earned from watching ads, hitting certain achievements, or even just completing tasks, instead of through exclusively buying them with real cash, and the wait time between actions is actually reasonable compared to many other games out in the market). The game has seen dozens of updates and new contents- many available for free or via regular simoleons if you completed the given tasks in a limited time before becoming only available via Life Points.
    • The Sims Mobile (6 March 2018), another free-to-play app similar to the above, but using assets from The Sims 4 and with a game-play style more focused on storytelling and community interaction. This has not replaced The Sims Freeplay - both are still available to download and receiving regular updates.
  • The Sims 4 (September 2, 2014). EA and Maxis have said that this iteration of the Sims series celebrates "the heart and soul of the Sims themselves" and have the Sims show more personality than in previous installments; this was eventually executed by having all Sims have an overall "mood" which enhances their facility at certain interactions and slows down others. The game will feature new tools to customize worlds and share them with others. Unlike SimCity (2013), the game is a single-player offline experience, although you do need an Internet connection to play it anyway—to appease its Copy Protection (which is based on Origin), and to connect to the "community" (which allows you to upload sims and houses to EA's servers, which would then make it available to other players for download).
  • If you want altered forms of play, there's MySims 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. And there was a Facebook version, The Sims Social, merging the game with a Farmville experience, but it was eventually closed due to lackluster player reception.
  • There are also multiple online sites dedicated to making custom mods, from new clothes, to new items, to super-realistic skins and eyes, to a Sims-based construction of Rivendell. The Sims games actually come with pre-constructed 'Mod' folders for you to put these things in.

The four mainline games have had, as of 2019, 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 game play functions. Starting with The Sims 4, there are also Game Packs, which are a middle of the road between Expansion and Stuff packs, offering one major new feature (Such as Vampires, Spas or Camping), and a smaller world and small collection of tightly focused items to support it. 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.

The series has a character page which could use some love.

The Sims provides examples of:

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  • Absurdly Youthful Parents: Starting with 2 and the later sequels, you can invoke this in the Create-A-Sim mode by making your parent Sims every bit as young as their children even when their children have aged up to their adult years. Certain items such as the Elixir of Life or Potion of Youth serve to rewind the clock of your sim's age but will not turn them back to an earlier life stage such as going from Young Adult to Teen.
  • Aerith and Bob: Obviously, you can apply this to your own Sims, but it applies to premade Sims as well. There are normal names, such as Jenny Smith and Ana Patel, and then there's Annabelle Oinkslopes, Daisy Swizzle, Goopy GilsCarbo, and Cycl0n3 Sw0rd.
  • Affluent Ascetic: Depending on the player, it's possible to have a character who is extremely well-off financially but chooses to live modestly.
  • The Alleged House: Several of the default houses in The Sims series are described this way. They generally come with the lowest tier items, which are prone to breakdowns and malfunctions. And it's entirely possible to create your own if you don't know what you're doing, or are feeling a bit malevolent against your sims.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population:
    • In The Sims 2, alien sims have green skin, while some other life states introduced in the expansion packs make the sim develop unnatural skintones. An in-game modding feature allow players to create custom skintones and there's lots of unnaturals to download in custom content sites.
    • In The Sims 3, the player can create sims with green, blue and beet-red skintones. Sims 4 added multiple grey tones for vampires.
  • Ambiguously Brown: The Sims and, to a lesser extent, The Sims 2 had less customisation options for the face and body, meaning that a person was differentiated mostly by the colour of their skin, with examples like Bella Goth. The Sims 3 and The Sims 4 makes it possible to edit the face and body more, and a Sim can have more accurate racial features than just a bland North American appearance.
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: The top rewards for levelling up are furniture and garden accessories.
  • And Your Reward Is Parenthood: All mainline games in the franchise allow your Sims to get married and start families, if you're so inclined. In the first game, children would only grow up from baby to child, being forever stuck in childhood (as their parents would never get old either). Later games gives Sims a proper life cycle, meaning that children will eventually grow up to adulthood and can also have children themselves.
  • Animal Lover: There's a trait which causes Sims to build relationships with animals quickly, called "Animal Lover" in version three and "Animal affection" in version four.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: You can design houses from the ground up, planning up almost everything about them. Great potential for cruelty exists here, naturally.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: Ho boy....
    • In the first game, Sims always seemed to be programmed to take a dip in your pool...when they barely know you. Fast-forward to The Sims 4 and this has been replaced with an equally unsettling tendency for visitors to beeline to any PC or laptop in the house and start messing around on it, ignoring their hosts completely.
    • 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 Insolence:
    • If a Sim is hungry or their mood is low, they will refuse to do tasks.
    • In the third game, if a child finds monsters under their bed and then you try to make them sleep, they will refuse.
  • Artificial Stupidity: In spades. Even though Sims can now eat and watch TV at the same time, they remain very, very stupid creatures even by the time of Sims 4:
    • 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:
      • Playing video games, fishing, or writing stories until they starve or pass out from exhaustion. Of course, it doesn't take Werner von Braun to work out how to torture them with this...
      • 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.
      • In the first two games Sims could not get out of a pool without a ladder, which made an easy way to kill them. Averted from the third game onwards, which allowed them to climb out even without a ladder; intentionally drowning Sims now required that the player build a wall around the pool.
      • Try giving your Sims more than one kitchen. Rather than stay in one kitchen, to cook, prepare and eat the meal they'll quite likely go back and forth with each step, even if the second kitchen is on another floor. It puts much more time between a hungry Sim deciding to eat and finally actually eating.
      • Nobody's a genius when they panic, but panicking Sims just seem to throw their brains out of the window, panicking too much to call the police, the firefighters, or even run away at all. They just stand there screaming as the dinner burns or the carpet burns or THEY burn. Sometimes the burglar... starts panicking over being caught by your panicking home-owner. And finally, the mother of 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. You can buy a fire-extinguisher and smoke alarm in Sims 4, but they're purely decoration with no function at all.
    • While Sims 4 vastly improves on pathfinding, and Sims are slightly less stupid while panicking, they're still pretty mindless when left to their own devices. For example, set them to 'practice' something and they'll do it for hours, until they're either starving or exhausted, to the exclusion of all else. And if you're asked out by another Sim, accept and your Sim won't so much as finish going to the toilet; the loading screen kicks in and they turn up with their bladder half-emptied and go all over the floor (resulting in the 'Embarrassed' state) or a half-eaten sandwich in their pocket.
      • If one Sim goes out on a date, the Sim you leave at home will do nothing productive at all, even if you left them practising a skill that also raises their Fun. You'll return to find them trolling Forums and watching television.
      • The Sims 4 actually has problems with the house's main door if you build up your house from scratch. The game requires you to set a door is the main door, and actually allows you to set any door as the main door, even if the door doesn't lead outside, and even then, if your main door doesn't face the street, the game will get confused. As a result, random sims will come into your house, go out the back (or into a random room), then knock to be let in. It's actually disturbing and hilarious at the same time.
    • 3 and 4 notably improved the autonomy system such that Sims will more vigorously pursue tasks to preserve their own lives. Case in point, in 2, if simply left alone, your Sims can and will eventually starve to death, whereas in 3 they'll get quite creative with options to satisfy hunger, including ordering takeout.
  • Artistic License Biology: The quality of bedding can determine how long a Sim sleeps through the night. While a more comfortable surface can help a person in real life get a better night's sleep, it does not directly impact the amount of time they sleep.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Added over the course of the series:
    • All careers require you to have a certain amount of friends. However, the friends of anyone in the household count towards the friendship requirement, so 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.
      • Friendships in general. The Sims 3 streamlined the relationships so that Sims' feelings toward each other all became mutual. This removed a massive headache (though it did cut down on the potential for unrequited love drama). The Sims 4 eventually reintroduced a lighter complication with non-mutual Sentiments, allowing for example one Sim to feel particularly passionate or irritated towards another, but the basic core of every relationship (e.g. Friend, Lover, Enemy) still has to be mutual.
    • Allowing your sims to actually chat with other sims over the phone. Surprisingly this was not included in the base version of the first game (you could only call people to invite them to come to your house), 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.
    • In the first two games, you had to check the newspaper and/or computer every day for job listings and hope to get lucky to find a job in the career path you wanted, which relied on an RNG and could take several in-game days. The Sims 3 simplified this considerably, allowing your Sims to just visit the place where you wanted them to work and join that career directly. Meanwhile, Sims in The Sims 4 have built-in smart phones and are able to join a career directly from their phone, with all jobs available at any time like in The Sims 3.
  • Big Ball of Violence: This can be seen when sims fight.
  • Bottomless Bladder:
    • Averted; you have to help your Sims fulfil 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.
    • Also played somewhat straight in the Sims 3 DLC "Dragon Valley" in which your sims can own pet dragons. One of their abilities (Depending on which colour) is temporarily freezing needs. Including 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. Some cheating can lead to love with the Grim Reaper.
  • 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.
  • Burning Bag of Poop:
    • In The Sims 2, a disastrous date will result in one of the Sims leaving a "Worst Date Ever" Flaming Poo Bag at the other's doorstep.
      The date we shared was worse than bad
      It was the worst I've ever had
      An angry slap's too good for you
      So have this flaming bag of poo
    • The Generations expansion pack for The Sims 3 introduced a set of pranks teenaged Sims could attempt, which included the Flaming Poo Bag.
  • Came Back Wrong: Losing rock/paper/scissors (The Sims) or being cheap (The Sims 2) results in some interesting undead tomfoolery. You are supposed to have a choice between Monster from Beyond the Veil and Became Their Own Antithesis if you are too cheap.
    • 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 brought 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 and the Nraas "Woohooer" mod in Sims 3.
    • Averted in The Sims 4: teens can now "mess around" (which likely gets around any restrictions because it could be interpreted various ways) which works nearly identically to adults "woohoo", except that they won't change into sleepwear and won't get the associated moodlet. They still can't have children without mods.
  • The Casanova:
  • Character Customization: You can create your own custom household, allowing you to select the age and gender of your occupants. There are also various sliders for face, skin color, hair, eyes, body shape, muscle or fat levels, and all the other clothes and accessories you could want.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: It's possible for two children, who are friends, to hook up and get married in the future.
  • 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.
    • TS3's default neighborhood seems to be a prequel to the original game, although the continuity is all over the place. None of the Strangetown or Veronaville characters are followed up on in TS3, however.
      • Older generations of the Capp and Monty families show up in DLC worlds (respectively, Roaring Heights and Monte Vista)
      • Over the course of eleven expansions and nineteen worlds, both included in packs and downloads from the store, there are too many reappearances of TS2 Sims to list here.
  • Classic Cheat Code:
    • In the original game, you can press Ctrl, Shift, and C simultaneously and type rosebud for money. There are others that can be found easily—one cheat, called, "help" even lists a few of them for you.
    • Or a user can enter boolProp testingCheatsEnabled true in The Sims 2 and The Sims 3. This enables the player to access NPC clothing, alien traits, and to drag mood, relationship, and skill bars up without having to earn them. (For the former two, press Shift+N in Create-A-Sim after entering the cheat.)
    • Move_objects on! It lets you have such fun as deleting your Sims then clicking on their portrait to bring them back totally refreshed (Although this will permanently remove a character if done and then saved during The Sims 3), deleting unwanted people and pets, and moving objects while your Sims are using them! And yes, it does count as a nude code. In a sense.
    • The manual for The Sims 2 even includes a cheat code: "aging off", which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin. EA put it in the manual to ward off the inevitable barrage of They Changed It, Now It Sucks! for people who didn't want their Sims dying on them (and who were presumably too incompetent to satisfy the Sims' wants enough to get Elixir of Life.) That, and Elders are restricted in their jobs and interactions. The skill meters and such are also designed for a Sim to build them since infancy, so it makes sense, at least for the first generation. Sims 3 and 4 provided menu options to disable aging instead with Sims 4 having separate options for played and unplayed Sims and for only the active household to age, as it was in Sims 2.
  • 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.
  • Cooking Mechanics: Food affects various game mechanics such as hunger and fitness. There are enough different foods to be classified as cooked meals, instant meals, snacks, raw ingredients, and so on, as well as by the actual meal they can be prepared for.
  • Cool House: Getting to build one of these is one of the main points of the games.

  • Dastardly Whiplash: Malcolm Landgraab, the evil landlord, who is more than willing to cut off utilities if you miss your bills by one day.
  • Denser and Wackier: The base game of The Sims 1 was pretty somber by the standards of the rest of the series: there was no grim reaper, alien abductions or anything of that sort, the only supernatural element are the ghosts and even then they were pretty basic. It was only after the Livin' Large expansion pack that the series embraced the wackiness and never looked back.
  • Domestic Appliance Disaster: If a sim is not skilled at using certain appliances, then they can end up breaking them, such as the oven catching on fire if the sim doesn't know how to cook.
  • Don't Come A-Knockin': Sims WooHoo this way in every setting, be it a bed, shower, tent, sarcophagus, photo booth, haystack, or public establishment.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper:
    • The series portrays the Grim Reaper very kindly; he listens to pleas for dead sims to be revived, and he gives a chance for the Sims to win back their loved ones, and even if they failed at his little game, he might bring them back as zombies anyway. He also gives discounts on children's resurrections. He enjoys watching TV, and if he arrives at a party, he might party with the residents, even though he always spoils the mood with his arrival. Oh that silly Reaper.
    • If a sim dies of old age while in Platinum Aspiration in The Sims 2, the Reaper shows up in a flower lei, accompanied by hula girl zombies, to send your sim on an eternal vacation to Tropical Paradise Heaven.
    • One of the plot hooks in Strangetown is the product of an affair between the local Black Widow and the friendly guy who kept coming for her husbands.
    • Thanks to the University expansion, you can even call the Reaper and bribe him to resurrect your loved ones (or bargain with him as they're dying). He offers a reduced rate for children, but stiffing him otherwise can have some unpleasant consequences.
    • If you have the Pets expansion, the Reaper will play with your dogs and cats when he comes for them.
    • Though he does have his temper. In Sims 3 University Life, if you rant against him, he will strike down your sim. He does resurrect them and tells them not to do that again as he's got a job to do.
    • One amusing glitch can happen in Sims 3. One tumblr user reported that a sims' husband died a few minutes before the female sim started to give birth. This causes all NPCs on the lot to panic at that... Including Death. Another posted "What do I do? This is the opposite of my job!"
    • The Sims 4 adds to this even more. If the Grim Reaper comes to your lot to reap a sim, he will stay, and be interacted with. Your sim can come up and try to be his friend, and it will work! There's even an in-game achievement for doing this.
      Grim: Aww, how can you not trust this face?
  • Dreadful Musician: Occurs when Sims at a low creativity level attempt to sing or play instruments, resulting in booing from anyone listening.
  • Dub Name Change: Every non-English version of The Sims changes the premade Sims' names to better suit the language. For example, Bella Goth is called Cora van de Kerkhof in the Dutch version of the games. How consistent the name translations are between games varies.
  • Dustbin School: In the first game, children performing poorly at school end in a Military School. From The Sims 2 onwards, they're taken away by a social worker in such case instead.
  • Elixir of Life: Introduced in 2, it serves as a special aspiration reward once your Sim accumulates enough points after performing the right tasks. However, it does not allow your Sim to go back to an earlier life stage, such as going from Elder to Adult; it simply rewinds the current age of your Sim.
  • Emergent Narrative: The series runs on this: the player is able to create characters (with appearances and personalities which are determined differently depending on the game), and then design a house, and everything from then on is up to them. They could try and make their sims rich and successful by doing the 'right' things and advancing in their careers, could set up a number of families and play out a soap opera situation, or could just try and kill them in various imaginative ways - the player themselves creates the story.
  • Eternal Equinox: Despite taking place over a fairly long time in in-game days, the game uses a fixed day/night cycle throughout.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Sims can engage in romantic interactions with members of either sex, although especially in the first game, 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 Johnny, Ophelia, 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 
      • 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.
  • Every Pizza Is Pepperoni: In most of the games, if a Sim orders a pizza, the pizza will appear to have pepperoni on it when it arrives. This is taken further by The Sims 3, where if a vegetarian Sim attempts to eat pizza, they'll become sick, presumably due to the pepperoni. This gets averted in The Sims 4, with the ability to order multiple types of pizza, which each have different appearances to reflect the toppings. Each game also provides an In-Universe example, as the delivery staff's uniform and/or pizza box will include a cartoonish graphic of a pizza including the traditional red spots.
  • Expansion Pack: The Sims is notorious for having these; extensions of their main games what really makes the series a real cash cow. The most normal ones are those with new features (like Pets having pets, Seasons having seasons etc, etc) and then there are those packs with extra clothing, furniture etc.
  • Expressive Health Bar: This game has several other ways besides the color-changing diamond to tell if a Sim's needs are low:
    • If they're hungry, they will refuse to do tasks and become irritable, unless they are a baby, whereupon they will cry.
    • If they're uncomfortable, they'll also become grumpy, although they'll generally still do tasks.
    • Having to pee also causes grumpiness (although, like discomfort, they'll generally do tasks) and when it gets to be urgent, they'll run towards the toilet. Some Sims who need to pee might also do a Potty Dance. When babies need a diaper change, a green stink cloud will appear on them.
    • If they're dirty, they slowly become visibly dirty and occasionally sniff themselves and then gag.
    • If they're tired, they'll generally act tired.
    • If they're sad, they'll have a dejected expression and, if they're a baby, they'll cry. If this sadness is caused by loneliness, however, they won't indicate it unless it's The Sims 2, whereupon they'll become delusional and start seeing the "Social Bunny".
  • Familiar Soundtrack, Foreign Lyrics: From the second game onward, The Sims regularly featured Simlish versions of real songs, from artists ranging from Lily Allen to Gaelic Storm to Barenaked Ladies. The full list of songs redone like this is very long.
    • The Sims 2: Open For Business added a new radio station entitled "New Wave", which features acts such as Depeche Mode and Howard Jones - who actually rerecorded their '80s hits in Simlish for the game.
    • The spinoff The Urbz did one better and actually got the Black Eyed Peas themselves to do the Simlish covers of "Let's Get Retarded" and "Shut Up", plus a number of original songs that they recorded for the game.
    • The Sims 3 also had Katy Perry endorse its Showtime expansion pack and record the Simlish cover of "Last Friday Night".
  • Fantasy Gun Control: The descriptions of certain levels in the Military, Paramilitary, and Law Enforcement careers make it clear that conventional firearms exist in the world of The Sims. That said, they can't be used without mods.
    • Also, if the Agent family is anything to go by, the ATF exists, and presumably serves the same purpose that it does in Real Life.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink:
    • Each expansion tends to add more and more wacky elements; your Sims can be abducted by aliens, have wishes granted by a genie, and learn quirky magic spells. All of which eventually makes a return in the sequel, which also adds the abilities to become vampires, werewolves, and plant people, befriend Bigfoot (and even ask him to move in with you), create your own robot butler/maid (who is a fully-controllable member of the family), and such.
      • Sims 3 just takes this and runs with it, especially with the living beings. We have dragons and unicorns on the animal side and aliens, ghosts,zombies, mummies, two kinds of robots, vampires, imaginary friends, genies (as playable or to grant wishes), werewolves, fairies, witches, plantsims and mermaids on the (relatively )human side. There are also magical sentient gnomes, the Grim Reaper, skeleton maids, various extra magical objects through DLC and a carnivorous cow plant. Also, if you bought the limited edition of The Sims 3 Supernatural, you get Peashooters from Plants vs. Zombies to defend your plants from Zombies, whom in turn you can dress up in the ironic PvZ outfits. In a sense making the two games canon?
  • Fictional Currency: The simoleon is the series' standard currency and its mark is represented as a section sign (§).
  • Fictional Country: SimNation.
  • Fictional Greetings and Farewells: The Simlish language has "sul sul" and "dag dag" as greetings.
  • Forgot to Pay the Bill: If you forget to pay the Bills (fairly easy, as they're a small object that might even blend into whatever surface your Sim puts them on), or can't afford them, an item in your house will be repossessed.
    • In The Sims 4, instead of having an object repossed, you get your eletricity cut and, if you continue without paying them, your water as well.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Depending on the player, sims' relationships with their love interests can progress quite rapidly. There's a reason memes such as this one exist.
  • 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.
    • By Sims 4, Sims get Dazed if they drink too many cocktails, acting like they're drunk for a little while.
  • Fruit of the Loon: Insane Sims will autonomously eat fruit in their inventory, even if they are not hungry.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: You might think this doesn't apply to a game that doesn't really have a story outside of premade neighborhoods, but there are some little things that don't add up, like having everyone in your town be Mayor at once (although that's more Gameplay And Logic Segregation), or events mentioned by chance cards never having long-lasting effects even if they should. One chance card, notably, states that you start a war with another city, but after your active Sim takes his or her punishment, the war is never brought up again.
  • 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 SimPE.
  • 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.
  • Genie in a Bottle: Genies can grant your Sims' wishes - at the risk of backfiring horribly.
    • If the Genie in 1 offers you a choice between "Fire" or "Water", or "Work" or "Leisure" - never, ever, ever choose "Fire" or "Leisure". The backfire for each is...literally a fire. At least if "Water" & "Work" don't go as planned Sims only have to mop up a big puddle or study to get their lost skills back, respectively.
    • It's a quest in The Sims Medieval.
    • In The Sims 3 wishes can no longer backfire, but you can only get three from one lamp. Also you can free the genie and add him to your household for the first time.
    • In The Sims 4 this is replaced by the Wishing Well, which can have equally horrible results depending on the mood of the well. You can cheer it up with Simoleons, but there's no guarantee.
  • Ghostly Animals: As with humans, it is possible for cats, dogs, and horses to die and leave a translucent versions of themselves.
  • 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.
  • G-Rated Drug: Has popped up here and there among the many games in the series, although the most frequently appearing one is a thinly veiled disguise for alcohol simply referred to as "juice". You can buy bars in most of the games and mix the "juices" yourself, and they cause "special moodlets" and effects in the sims who drink it (making them more flirty, energized, etc). In terms of references to other drugs, there are "herbs" you can grow in University Life that are pretty obvious nods to weed.
    • The Sims 4: City Living adds bubble machine where differenr flavors have different effects. Nearby Sims often show distaste for sims blowing bubbles in public
  • G-Rated Sex: While it's clear that the Sims are having sex on occasion, it's never explicitly mentioned, and has a stand-in name for it: "Woo-hooing" note . If two Sims do have the possibility to have sex somewhere, you can either make them "Woo-hoo" or "Try for baby". Sims 4 allows the player to view these actions in first-person mode, and reveals that the Sims simply lie next to each other, completely still except for flapping their mouths.

  • 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 prepubescent 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.
  • Hammerspace: This is apparently where Sims keep such things as mops, scrub brushes, rakes, fishing poles, and other things that appear from nowhere when needed. Later games added an inventory system so sims could also carry tons of things like harvested produce. In the third game they can carry cars and fire trucks in their inventories.
  • Healthy Green, Harmful Red: Sims' need bars, and the diamond summary above their heads, are green when they're full and red when they're at their lowest, with various shades of orange inbetween.
  • Honking Arriving Car: A car horn can be heard whenever the school bus or car pool arrives to take the Sim to school/work.
  • Ignorant About Fire: The AI is notorious for starting fires while cooking and failing to do anything productive while there is a fire. Sims automatically queue the "Panic!" action when a fire starts and will only attempt to put the fire out if specifically told by the player to do so. Additionally, in The Sims 3, anyone with the Absent-Minded trait can even be distracted from panicking while there's a fire going on. In the first game, there was also a genie who was an Inept Mage and sometimes set things on fire accidentally... even the shower.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: Most excuses for a Sim not visiting yours when you call to ask them over qualify, including "I have to feed my llama" and "I'm waiting for the... phone repairman."
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Played entirely straight with Babies, Toddlers, and pregnant Sims, who cannot be killed by any means in any of the games. However, this is generally Averted when it comes to Children and Teens, with a few exceptions. Children can die from drowning and fire in all of the main games, but are rarely able to be killed by other conventional means; if their hunger gets too low or if they're left ill for too long, for example, they'll be taken away permanently by a social worker rather than starve to death or succumb to their sickness. However, in each specific game, there's usually one or two extra ways a child can die; in 3, for example, they can be struck by a meteor and die, while in 4 they can choke to death on poorly cooked puffer-fish nigiri. Teens can pretty much die in any way that adults can, but they become immune to dying from extreme emotions (being too Angry, Embarrassed, or Playful) in The Sims 4 if Parenthood is installed.
  • Inconsistent Dub: A lot of non-English versions will have character names and other world elements vastly differ between the games, especially between Sims 1 and 2. It at least gets better between 2 and 3 and further.
  • 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.
  • It's Always Spring: Unless you have an expansion to offer seasons.
  • 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.
  • Levitating Lotus Position: Meditating long enough also allows a Sim to levitate.
  • Life Simulation Game: The Sims is by far the most well-known example of the genre.
  • Lighter and Softer: Well, the first game is lighthearted enough... in concept. The soundtrack is evocative of things happening, and for disasters like fire, burglary, and death, it can be genuinely scary or distressing. The vocalizations and emotions are less exaggerated in the first game as well as the art design, which tries to be realistic with the expected limitations. The next games gradually tone down those, to the point that by the fourth game, expressions are deliberately exaggerated.
  • 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 2000.
    • The seventh (FreeTime) expansion for The Sims 2 lampshades 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.
      • In "Teen Style Stuff" the Reticulating Splines line is "Like, totally reticulatiing splines, dude."
    • 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.
    • In TS4, there's a loading screen whenever you travel to any lot, even if it's right next door. Fortunately, though, these loading screens are usually fairly short.
  • Magical Species Transformation: Starting with the second game, sims can, under certain circumstances, transform into werewolves, vampires, zombie, ghosts, or plant-like beings. Downplayed, as most of these states are reversible.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: From The Sims 2 onward, Sims have a variety of places to Woohoo:
    • Cars, hot tubs, photo booths, tents, closets and elevators in The Sims 2. Sims 3 and 4 continued to add places like showers, bushes, spaceships, your backyard telescope observatory, a coffin, and even as bats. Players are always asking for more places to woo-hoo in every expansion.
    • In Sims FreePlay Sims can WooHoo just about anywhere, including standing on the front lawn. Interestingly, if the Sims are on the ground floor outside, and the perspective is shifted to the second floor or higher, the obscuring pixellation is lost and the Sims can be seen embracing in their underwear.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Malcolm Landgrabb. His tuxedo turns to white in The Sims Bustin' Out and The Sims 3.
  • Meaningful Name: Don Lothario, Angela and Lilith Pleasant, the Caliente sisters, and numerous other examples.
    • 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). Note that Daniel first appeared as a child in the first game and none of the other names in his family were quite as meaningful, aside from the family name itself.invoked
    • In Greek mythology Ambrosia is a food said to be the gods source of immortality. 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.
  • My Own Private "I Do": If the player chooses not to throw a wedding party, two engaged sims can choose to get married in the privacy of their own home.
  • No Such Thing as Dehydration:
    • Sims only need food to survive, besides having some other needs required to not go insane. They can be ordered to drink at a sink, but will never do so on their own. It also has no effect on them.
    • Inverted with plant sims, who only need to drink (or come into contact with water) to survive.
    • Zig-zagged for vampire sims, who drink blood, but don't need it in order to survive. They do become quite angry without it, however.
    • In the third and fourth games, mermaids avert this because they have the need for hydration instead of hygiene. They get hydrated when near water or from rain if the Seasons pack is installed.
    • Averted for the babies, who need to breastfeed or drink from bottles.

  • Old-Fashioned Fruit Stomping: The game has the Nectar Maker, where a Sim can produce "nectar" by stomping fruit, and placing it in the inventory to be stored in a dedicated nectar placer or be sold with a varying price range depending on the skill.
    • The Sims Makin Magic has the Sim drop grapes and elderberries in the machine, change their clothes to swimwear and dance as they stomp the fruit. Once it's done, it can be stored on the Sim's inventory or a dedicated bar, and can be sold at a high price if the Sim has a high cooking skill.
    • The Sims 3 World Adventures expands the feature, where a Sim can travel to the Champs Les Sims, the Sims version of France, and either acquire the grape stomping machine through an adventure or buy it at a vineyard. A Sim can place any fruit in the machine, and it can be placed on the inventory or a nectar rack, where the quality and price can depend on the flavor and aging of the nectar, and the Nectar Making and Gardening skill level of the Sim.
  • One of the Boys: The bro trait in Sims 4. Despite the name, the Bro-trait is available to female sims who wish to play with this trope.
  • Patchwork Kids: In the second game and later, toddler, child, and teen sims can be generated in Create-A-Sim with a combination of their parents' physical features, rerolling them if you don't like their appearance. With babies who are born in game, though, you take what you're given.
  • Pictorial Speech-Bubble: Used by Sims to talk with each other.
  • 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.
    • Taken to an extreme in The Sims 4, which will pixellate the entire screen after your sim uses the toilet if the Copy Protection determines that it has been broken.
  • 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.
  • Potty Dance: The Sims will do this if they have a Potty Emergency.
  • Potty Emergency: The Sims have a bladder bar, so it's to be expected.
  • Potty Failure: If the Sim's bladder need is ignored, they can have this.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: A life of crime in SimNation is comparable to any other job. Although the Evil trait is recommended in The Sims 3 and The Sims 4, it's not required.
  • Pyromaniac: TS4, ghosts killed by fires can come back as pyromaniacs. Represented in the trailer by Diana Fyre.
  • Rapid Aging: Sims go from newborn to adult age in a matter of weeks. Their average lifespan is slightly below 100 in-game days, with Sims making it past that age being considered the equivalent of centenarians.
  • 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.
  • Reformulated Game: The console versions before The Sims 4 are usually story-driven games with the core gameplay mechanics but the sandbox elements are diluted to almost nonexistent. Those games also has its own spinoffs.
  • Rejected Marriage Proposal: Any installment where Sims can propose marriage can potentially have their proposal be rejected, including The Sims 2, The Sims 3 and The Sims 4 (Sims can get married in The Sims, but they wouldn't get engaged first; instead a dialogue box would pop up suggesting the couple get married and the Sims would then marry on the spot). Generally, a Sim will reject a marriage proposal if the relationship between them and the proposer isn't high enough, and/or at least one of them is in a bad mood. In The Sims 3, Sims with the personality trait "Commitment Issues" are more likely to reject a proposal for, well, obvious reasons. Ditto for Sims with the "Noncommittal" trait in The Sims 4.
  • Ridiculously Alive Undead:
    • Ghosts still have the same needs as living sims, including eating, sleeping, and using the bathroom. In The Sims 3, they could even reproduce.
    • Downplayed for zombies, who don't need to sleep or use the bathroom, but they do eat. Specifically, they eat plants.
    • Zigzagged with the Grim Reaper, who is a walking skeleton. Initially, female Sims were able to conceive a baby with him, but a later patch removed this ability. However, he still is occasionally seen using the toilet.
  • Ridiculous Repossession: The Repo Man who appears if your Sim maxes out their credit not only will repossess anything to meet the quota of the debt, he will utilize a specialized vacuum-shaped gun to do so, leaving the entire house bare in seconds.
  • 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 sexual content (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.
  • Robot Buddy / Robot Maid: Sims can create robots to assist them, which may eventually gain sentience. Judging by the timeline of the games, fairly primitive SimBots are made in The Sims 3 and eventually developed into the Servoes of the Sims and the more advanced Servoes of The Sims 2 before Sims develop the advanced technology of Into The Future's PlumBots.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: Overloaded with them all across the series. It has a substantial, but incomplete, Shout Out page.
  • Speaking Simlish: The Trope Namer.
  • 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.
  • Stellar Name:
    • Stella Terrano and Stella Roth.
    • 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.
  • Stepford Suburbia: The default setting, though it only gets as dark as you are willing to make it. The aesthetic for the game was heavily inspired by American domestic sitcoms, complete with the build menu in the original game having shopping mall muzak play whenever it is opened up. Will Wright, the founder of Maxis and lead designer on the game, stated that the intent was to satirize the treadmill of consumerism that characterizes suburban life.
  • Survival Sandbox: Believe it or not, the series can be thought of as an antecedent to/parody of this. While it completely lacks a combat mechanic beyond getting into harmless fights with other Simsnote , it still requires players to closely observe and manage their Sims' wants, needs, and relationships, and if they don't have a way of making money, they're not paying for food or keeping a roof over their heads. With few exceptionsnote , there is no storyline other than that which the player forges for their Sims; the gameplay and narratives are entirely emergent. Later games even let you fish, grow a garden, and pick wild plants, which you can then sell or use to cook meals and brew herbal recipes. In short, it takes many of the tropes of the survival sandbox genre and applies them to suburban life.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Only two characters from the first base game failed to have descendants or appear in any other game: Chris and Melissa Roomies. However, there are sims suspiciously similar to them in every subsequent game: the Sims 2 H&M Stuff Pack trailer showed two young females similar to them talking over the phone; the Ambitions expansion pack in The Sims 3 had the Roommates household, composed by Blaise Kindle and Alma Drill; and the Sims 4's Horse Ranch Expansion Pack included the Nectar Making duo, Marissa Tracey and Dani Davila. Each household is composed of two young female roommates; the implied relationship between them also gets progressively more explicit with each game.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: While it's never stated where the games take place beyond "SimNation", the default neighborhoods in every game except the third are all heavily inspired by the South in general and Louisiana in particular. The setting of the first game was mostly generic American suburbia until Unleashed greatly expanded it to include an "Old Town" whose architecture resembles that of New Orleans, while the Hatfield family, part of a free downloadable pack, strongly evokes redneck stereotypes and is named for one of the two clans in the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud. The second game's default Pleasantview neighborhood, meanwhile, is invoked assumed by many fans to be the same town as the one from the original game. The description for Willow Creek in the fourth game overtly states that it's in the bayou and inhabited by Southern gentry, with the prebuilt houses containing a lot of design features common to homes in the South, and the Magnolia Promenade neighborhood from the Get to Work expansion is also very Southern-influenced (including a paddle steamer). Notably, Will Wright grew up in Baton Rouge, so it makes sense that he'd draw on it for inspiration.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted. Not only does it take up lots of time, but if you want to engage another Sim in a conversation, you can't multitask while doing so (Sims will chat if they find themselves eating at the same table or something, but you can't control the conversation that way).
    • Reinstated (more or less) with Sims 4. Sims can multi-task with most things, have group conversations, and you can direct speech while the Sim is busy doing something else. While eating & conversing was always present, pretty much any task that doesn't require intense focus will have Sims chatting with people in the same room.
  • Talking to Plants: In The Sims 2, talking to plants will improve their health. In The Sims 3, only Sims with the Green Thumb trait can do it, but it both improves the plants' health and actually counts as socializing for the Sim.
  • 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.
  • The Talk: In The Sims 4 teenage sims can "Ask about Woo-hoo" to their parents.
  • Tamer and Chaster:
    • They have made Woohoo less explicit. In 1, using the vibration bed introduced in the Livin' Large expansion (the only way to have sex in the game) to "Play in Bed", Sims are naked (but pixellated) when they get out from under the covers. In 2, Woohooing (now can be done in any double bed) will end with both participants wearing underwear and the default setting has a rather raunchy, although still PG-level, cutscene. In 3 and 4, Woohooing is basically just shown as is above the sheet, and it ends with both participants wearing what they wore previously.
    • Although all the games have been rated T, the first game had a bit more raunchy elements to it than subsequent games. In addition to the vibrating bed that Sims use while naked, there were seriously revealing clothing sets (meant to evoke medieval theme) in both Livin' Large and House Party, scantily-clad dancers that jumped out of a birthday cake, among other things. The Sims 2 thru 4, including the spinoffs, made clothing sets increasingly sensible and period-appropriate.
  • Test Subject for Hire: In the first 3 games, the starter job in the Science Career Track is becomming a paid test subject.
  • They Walk Among Us: Your human sims can live among servos, vampires, werewolves, plant people, and other supernatural creatures, and no one bats an eye.
  • 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 says in the intro that the Sims are pretty "dumb" and have a tendency to doom themselves and their civilization without the guidance of the player.
  • 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.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The games are mostly identical to the present day in terms of things such as technology, culture, fashion, and the like, even taking into account the 25-year gaps between each of the first three titles. The higher-end objects available for purchase start taking things into this territory by offering borderline futuristic technology that contrasts with the rest of the setting. But it's really the expansion and stuff packs that play fully into this trope; the very first expansion in the series introduced Servo, a fully functioning cleaning robot implied to have lifelike AI, and from then on the sky was the limit and we got things like hoverboards and jetpacks in Into the Future.
  • Vampire Hickey: In the third game's "Late Night" and "Supernatural" expansion packs, they includes vampires that feature these hickeys on their necks, and a Sim can be created with a hickey on their neck even if they're not a vampire (yet).
  • 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 Caring Potential: Generally the point of the games.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Some people ignore the point of the games and just spend their time killing their Sims.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: There are tons of sites dedicated to Game Mods for this, from just making females have nipples to hardcore sex mods.
  • 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).
    • While The Sims 3 and The Sims 4 include more easily trackable week-long seasons by default, there's still the oddity of moon cycles (the closest thing the game has to months) being eight days long while whole seasons last only seven days. (To say nothing of the fact that Sims at university spend seven or eight days on each "year" of their studies.)
  • Water-Triggered Change: Mermaids and mermen turn into humans while on land and turn back into merpeople while in the water. However, they must be fully immersed; just wading isn't enough to turn them.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The Age Freeze Potion you can buy with lifetime experience lets you experience this trope in full effect.
  • World of Ham: Justified. Because Sims can only speak in Simlish, they communicate through exaggerated inflections and body gestures in order to convey to the player what they feel.
  • World of No Grandparents: In TS1, this was literally the case, as there were no familial relations 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.
  • Wrench Wench: Your sim male or FEMALE can be trained to repair things via the mechanical/handiness skill by repairing objects or reading books to level it up.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: There are a lot of age discrepancies with characters who appear across multiple games between The Sims, The Sims 2, and The Sims 3. This may be one reason why The Sims 4 opted for a Continuity Reboot.


Video Example(s):


The Sims Superstar

Repeated failures in Studio Town in the Superstar expansion pack in the original The Sims, may result in your sim having a breakdown, assuming the fetal position. What's worse, it'll be noted in the paper.

How well does it match the trope?

4.71 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / TroubledFetalPosition

Media sources: