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Video Game / The Sims

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The Sims is the first game in The Sims series, released in 2000, with seven expansion packs. Several sequels have succeeded it: The Sims 2 (September 14, 2004), The Sims 3 (June 2, 2009), and The Sims 4 (September 2, 2014). There have also been many spinoffs; noteworthy titles include, but are definitely not limited to, The Sims Online (December 17, 2001), The Sims Medieval (March 22, 2011), and The Sims Free Play (December 15, 2011).

A people simulator 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, entertainment, 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 game about Real Life. It Will Never Catch On.

The Sims 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 Sims provides examples Of:

  • 20% More Awesome: The description for the wall-mounted plasma TV introduced in Superstar mentions that it will make a household 3 times cooler than one without a wall-mounted plasma TV.
  • Absurdly Elderly Mother: Since, unlike posterior games, elderhood doesn't technically exists, being just part of the head selected for a given sim, it's completely possible for a female sim who looks like a granny to have a baby.
  • Aerith and Bob: You can have a household with names like Bob and Chris alongside Ignotius and Aife.
  • Alternate Identity Amnesia: Happens to Werewolf sims.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Drew Carey. One episode actually had the characters of The Drew Carey Show behaving as Sims. Check The Cameo below as well.
  • Beehive Hairdo:
    • One of the pre-set head skins sports one, and is used by two pre-made playables (Melissa Roomies and Sylvia-Marie Mashuga).
    • The beehive fails to return in any version of The Sims 2, but is a hidden accessory in the base game, and can be seen on a number of thumbnails for deceased characters, including Irma Oldie.
  • Benevolent Genie: Livin' Large features a magic lamp that houses one of these, and he can be asked to fulfill a wish once a day. Unfortunately, his benevolence does not equal competence, and his attempts at fulfilling your wishes tend to backfire spectacularly.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: In Makin' Magic, the Toadification spell.
  • Big Fancy House: The ultimate objective in the console ports.
  • Boring, but Practical: Benches for naps. Showers in the gym. Fruit and veggies in the community garden lots. Friends who have places you can Stay Overnight.
    • Maid service costs peanuts (initial fee of §10 + an additional §10 per hour once a day) and ensures that your Sim can focus on more pressing or productive tasks than cleaning up old newspapers or mopping up puddles in the bathroom.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Possible with Michael Bachelor and Bella Goth in this game, as they weren't revealed to be siblings until The Sims 2.
  • Burglar Wear: The clothes burglars wear are kind of obvious.
  • The Cameo:
    • Drew Carey arrives in his limo if your party is hoppin' enough. Yes, that Drew Carey.
    • Marilyn Monroe is the awards presenter in Superstar.
  • Clean, Pretty Childbirth: In the original Sims, babies arrive all swaddled and diapered, laying in a bassinet, in a shower of daisies.
  • Controllable Helplessness: If a burglar breaks into the house while your Sim is asleep, both the buy mode and build mode are turned off, and while you can still follow the burglar with the camera, you are unable to do anything else. You can theoretically stop them without the alarm, but it requires teleporters (slower than stairs), the burglar to steal items specifically from upstairs, downstairs, and then upstairs, a big house, and a phone close enough to the Sim you woke up. It doesn't help that loud, frightening music plays at the same time.
  • Cool Shades: Gnomes (along with red clothes and missile-shaped hats), after you max out your skill in The Sims Bustin' Out. Rocket Gnomes blast off and explode into a firework display.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The aptly-named Goth family are just ordinary Sims with a dark aesthetic; most of them have a decent amount of Nice points. Especially the daughter, Cassandra, who is, no pun intended, a Perky Goth.
  • Dead Person Conversation: In Makin' Magic, Sims can talk with ghosts by using the Shed Your Skin spell, which turns living sims into ghosts for a while.
  • Denser and Wackier: The base game lacks almost any fantasy elements (the sole exception being ghosts) and takes itself very seriously compared to later games. The first expansion, Livin' Large, started this trope by adding potion machines, genies, alien abductions, the Grim Reaper...
  • Dramatic Thunder: The Goths' mansion in the console version.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Aside from babies (which are treated as objects instead of a life stage) growing up into children, Sims do not age naturally. Adults will never die of old age and children will never grow up, barring the Age of Instant charm that magical children can create and use in Makin' Magic.
    • Relationships are a lot simpler than in future installments. Marriage is a one-time event without any long-lasting effects and familial bonds are not tracked, meaning that from a technical standpoint siblings don't exist and a child is not considered to be related to their parents.
    • A Sim who reaches the final level in a career is eventually forced into a new career, albeit halfway through.
  • Earth Drift: The first game is far more grounded in our reality than later ones, even if it still featured aliens and later, magic. Many in-game items' descriptions would make references to our world rather than exclusively featuring made-up locations, even making references to real-life history and trends throughout the decades.
  • Face–Heel Turn: In the console versions, Malcolm Landgrabb goes nuts after the player's mom divorces him.
  • Flavor Text: Nearly every item. Some examples are:
    • Birthday Cake:
      Talk about an instant party!!! What better way to cheer up a Sim on their birthday than a Yumko Cake Corp. birthday cake? Patented aspartame technology yields cakes 500 times sweeter than other brands! Serves 12. Candles included. Contains: Refined Flour, Milk, Saturated Fat, Corn Starch, Aspartame, Methyl Cellulose, Lecithin, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, Phosphoric Acid, Citric Acid, Limonene, natural flavoring.
      • Makin' Magic:
      • A Sim's Guide to Cooking:
        Why waste precious time and energy trying to follow that cryptic recipe scrawled by your great-great grandmother? The Busy Baker's Association has spent years collecting the best and most popular recipes to make your life that much easier. Printed in large, clear text on plastic coated pages, there's absolutely no better resource for your cooking needs.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Even though Gunther and Cornelia Goth Sr's bios establish them as Mortimer Goth's parents (and therefore, Bella Goth's parents-in-law and Cassandra Goth's grandparents), they don't know each other in-game.
  • Germanic Depressives: The Goth family are rather dour and spooky and though their nationality is never stated, Goth is a German surname.
  • Global Currency Exception: MagiCoins in the Makin' Magic expansion pack. Necessary to buy anything magic-related, up to and including the residential lots in Magic Town.
  • G-Rated Sex: To have a baby, two sims only need to do enough romantic interactions (such as kissing) with each other until a pop-up asking if they should have a baby appears. The "Livin' Large" expansion pack, however, introduced a heart-shaped bed that has the option for a couple to "play" under the covers, a precursor to the "WooHoo" present in The Sims 2 and onwards.
  • Hammerspace: Sims apparently carry around everything from screwdrivers to mops to shovels in their pockets and can whip them out as needed. Hell, you can store a piano in a Sim's inventory (in the sequel at least).
  • High-Voltage Death: This is one way your sims can die, by trying to repair electrical appliances with poor mechanical/handiness skills, or while standing on a puddle. Comes complete with X-Ray Sparks.
  • Hobos: Bobo the bum appears in the console versions. He will show at your door asking for food.
  • Horrible Hollywood: According to the descriptions for Superstar's "Fame" career, Studio Town is this. Artist Disillusionment and Lonely at the Top are both par for the course for Sims looking to become celebrities, or that's what the game tells you, anyway.
  • Incest Is Relative: Unlike the later installments, The Sims 1 has no way to track whether two Sims are related or not. Because of this, you can deliberately invoke this trope either by hooking up two Sims who are canonically related or using the Age of Instant charm from Makin' Magic, which instantly ages up the child using it, allowing them to romance their parents or other aged-up siblings.
  • It's Always Spring: Sim children go to school every day, and the plant life is always leafy and green. (The Makin' Magic expansion pack breaks the pattern by being set in the fall, although the most you can do to bring the change of season back to the main neighborhood is to use its orange-leafed flora in regular lots.) A mod allows kids and teenagers to get the whole summer off.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Malcolm donates the player a spare mansion in the console version, only to evict you in the sequel. He is later chased out of his new house by your mom, allowing the player to move in.
  • Light Is Not Good: Malcolm Landgraab, the antagonist in the console games, is decked out in an almost entirely white outfit. This does nothing to prevent him from being one of the most evil Sims in the entire series.
  • Losing Your Head:
    • The console version has a head in a jar as artwork that you can buy.
    • The computer version has a head in a jar on a vaguely human-body-shaped metal stand that can be bought as a statue.
  • Lost in Translation: The spanish version of Unleashed replaced all Old Town families' surnames with generic spanish surnames. This actually makes the relation between the Goth and Goth Sr families lost in the translation, as the latter is instead the Fernández family (while the former is the Lápida family), while Gunther and Cornelia's bios talk about their son Mortimer... who's called Homero in the spanish version.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The fame-boosting minigames introduced in Superstar. In order to succesfully use the average-level objects, you have choose the correct sequence of three "moods". You get three tries, so it's possible to always find the right sequence once you get the hang of it. The high-level ones, however, only give you two tries, making them this trope. In return, you only need to guess two "moods" correctly to pass the minigame and the pay is much higher than with the mid-level objects, but it's still a gamble as failing the minigame too many times will result in your star rank lowering... or worse, Nervous Breakdown.
  • Market-Based Title: The Livin' Large and Vacation expansions were renamed Livin' It Up and On Holiday, respectively, in most European and some Asian releases. The Japanese release renamed the entire game to Sim People, but the sequels went back to using The Sims.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • A number, but Malcolm Landgraab wins points for not only having a punny surname but for even having the significance of his first name lampshaded in his bio: "If he were meant to be a good guy, he'd probably be called 'Benedict'" ('Mal' and 'Bene' being the Latin roots for a number of words connoting 'bad/evil' and 'good', respectively).
    • A family in one starter neighborhood are named Mashuga. This is notably close to "Meshuga", the Yiddish word for "crazy," and while craziness is sometimes hard to define in Sims, their house and clothing aesthetic are certainly a little out-there.
  • Military School: Kids whose grades linger at F for several days are shipped off to such an institution for the rest of their lives and disappear from the game forever.
  • Modern Stasis: No matter how long you play for, the world never changes at all.
  • My Beloved Smother: "Mom" in the console version.
  • Parental Incest: As a result of Gameplay and Story Segregation, Mortimer Goth is unrelated to his parents, Gunther and Cornelia, the Goth Sr family. There is nothing preventing Mortimer from falling in love with either of them, or even marrying Cornelia.
  • Product Placement: Some free Downloadable Content included:
    • A Pepsi vending machine (which after the deal expired was replaced with a generic soda vending machine).
    • A McDonald's food stand.
    • A new gaming PC with the "brand new" Intel Pentium 4 processor.
  • Prophetic Name: The Goth family.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Zigzagged. There are very few differences between a female or male Sim, all romantic interactions can be performed between any two adults, and anyone cohabiting in a romantic relationship will occasionally receive the option to adopt a child. Only three minor game-play mechanics are affected by a Sim's gender: only opposite-sex couples could propose marriage or conceive a child through kissing (though same-sex couples could achieve the same outcome by moving in together and adopting children), and gender determines which bathroom door a Sim can enter (from Hot Date onward).
  • Rascally Raccoon: El Bandito is a raccoon that only appears in the night and will rummage through the lot's trash bin, waking up all sleeping sims, though pets can drive it away with a fight. Invoked as El Bandito has the same danger sting as burglars when it appears.
  • Remilitarized Zone: The Octagon. Unlocked if you pursue the Military career in The Sims Bustin' Out.
  • Rich Bitch: The Landgraabs in the console version. Malcolm might be more evil, but Mimi/Dudley is more of a Hate Sink because of the work your Sim has to do in the story level.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: In the expansions, pleading for a Sim's life would involve playing Rock–Paper–Scissors with death (though your chance to win was actually based off of how much the pleading Sim loved the dead Sim).
  • Sad Clown: If you have his painting on your wall and one of your Sims gets depressed enough, Sunny the Tragic Clown will show up to try and cheer him or her up. Since Sunny is every bit as depressed as the Sim he's trying to cheer up, this only makes things worse.
  • Save Scumming: Makin' Magic prevents the player from doing this if they cast the spells that allow children to grow up or pets to become human sims; the game is automatically saved. A savvy player can avert this by manually backing up the save files however.
  • Shout-Out: Has a page.
  • The Slacker: Dudley Landgrabb. His mobile home in The Sims Bustin' Out is the second rung up from Mom's House.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: When the raccoon El Bandito comes to eat from the outdoor trash can, the same scary music plays as when a burglar comes. It also plays, for some reason, when the Clown Catchers arrive even though it's a positive event for the active family.
  • Speaking Simlish: The Trope Namer. Although Simlish actually seems to have some aspects of a Conlang: among other things, there is a set word for "baby" ("nooboo"), which works just like the English word (i.e. can be used to refer to an actual baby or as a term of endearment) and "Vadish" seems to mean "Thank you".
  • Sting/Scare Chord: There are various "danger" themes that play when a burglar or raccoon shows up, a Sim or pet dies, there's a fire, or a ghost shows up.
  • Sugar Bowl: The whole game world. Though one can easily make a Crapsaccharine World out of it.
  • Take That!: The congratulations prompt for attaining the "Broadway Star" job. Maxis can't resist the obvious jab at Andrew Lloyd Webber.
  • Super Serum: In the Livin' Large expansion pack, Sims can create a variety of different potions using a chemistry set, which causes different effects when drunk depending on its colour:
  • Surprise Creepy: The music tracks that play when something bad is going on. Hear for yourself.
  • 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).
  • The Many Deaths of You: Apart from deaths by starvation, fire, drowning, etc. that would also appear on this game's sequels, there are some kinds of death that are unique to the first game, such as being launched to the sky by the skydiving simulator or by being eaten after being turned into a toad. note 
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential/You Bastard!:
    • Cruel Player-Character God: Somewhat obvious given that you're taking almost complete control over the lives of several people. You can easily and intentionally kill your Sims through starvation, burn their house to the ground as a result of bad cooking, and if you prefer to keep them alive, prevent them from going to school, force them to flirt with their (attractive or unattractive) neighbors, drive them into bankruptcy, and start familial and neighborhood conflicts that last a lifetime. Also, this. Or this list detailing the various ways you can be cruel; the basement one is rather disturbing.
    • This fake trailer takes the above and runs with it.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: There are several adult mods/custom content out there, but due to the limitations of the first game most of them were limited to taking away censor blurs and adding sexy clothes.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Mortimer Goth. Also Drew Carey.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: The chance of starting a fire is based on Cooking skill, not on what you're trying to cook and whether it would be a likely cause of a fire in real life. So you need Cooking skill even to use simple appliances like the toaster.


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