Over the last few weeks, we have been indulging our nostalgia and delving into the world of the first-ever edition of The Sims. It’s been quite a throwback. It’s also been a reminder that the game has come quite a long way in some respects, especially in build mode.
The original version of The Sims – which we’ll simply refer to as The Sims or The Sims 1 for the rest of this article – was as wonderfully enchanting as it was difficult.
Cheats in The Sims weren’t as easy as they are now. And there definitely was no MC Command Centre or UI Cheats Extension to make cheating as easy as clicking a Sim.
But as many OG Simmers have learned over the last few years, technology has moved on a bit since The Sims first took over our lives and replaced it with a virtual one.
Getting The Sims to work on Windows 10
Games and graphics from pre-2000 (yes, some of us were born long before then…), just don’t always mesh (pun fully intended) with modern machines. Anyone who has tried to get The Sims 1 to work on Windows 10 will tell you just how much of a challenge it can be.
Luckily, as is always the case with The Sims players, the community has come to the rescue and shared everything you need to go on your merry way, deleting pool ladders as you wish.
What you’ll need to play The Sims 1 on Windows 10
Before we go any further, Extra Time Media or the authors of these guides will not be held liable for any issues that might be caused by third-party downloads. While we have tested these solutions ourselves, you implement them at your own risk.
We have tested two different ways to get The Sims 1 working on Windows 10 with a widescreen fix. The first method requires a bit more effort than the second.
Both of these methods will require you to have The Sims installed, obviously. The first method has two parts.
Method One for playing The Sims on Windows 10
Once you have downloaded the file, you will need to locate the folder where you installed The Sims. This can usually be found at C:\Program Files (x86)\Maxis\The Sims.
Now you need to replace the existing Sims.exe file in the folder with the one you downloaded, but make sure you backup the existing one by renaming it first. You’ll be left with something like this.
You might need to use the cut and paste option rather than simply moving the new .exe file across. In some cases, you might end up creating a shortcut rather than replacing the whole file.
Once done, create a desktop shortcut of the .exe file you have just added. From your desktop, right-click the shortcut and click on properties. Switch over to the “Compatibility” tab. From there, click on “Change settings for all users” at the bottom.
When the screen pops up, select the first drop-down box under “Compatibility Mode” and choose Windows 7 (for some players, the Windows XP Service Pack 2 works better – you might need to try a few variations). Also, select “Run this program as administrator” and apply the changes.
Return to the “Shortcut” tab and in the “Target” section, paste the following at the end of the text: -w -r1024x768 – this will force The Sims to run in windowed mode.
If you were having issues getting The Sims 1 to load or start on Windows 10, this should fix that issue. It’s a good idea to test to see if your game starts at this point. Make sure you start the game from the shortcut you created.
Now you will need to make some adjustments to your UI Graphics to fix some of the other issues relating to the display of The Sims 1 on Windows 10. The file you’ll need is available on this helpful thread over on Reddit.
Move the contents of the folder you downloaded over into your UI Graphics folder.
Once done, you should be able to run your game without the compatibility issues you had with the graphics before. If you are asked about allowing an “Unknown publisher” to make changes to your computer/device, say yes.
The game will start up with a weird blue area surrounding it, but as soon as you enter a household, this should disappear.
Some players have reported issues with getting the game to run in full screen mode when the have an internal and additional graphics card installed. For some, this can be fixed by changing the settings on the internal display card.
Method Two for playing The Sims on Windows 10
This is a far less complicated process. Like the first method for playing The Sims on Windows 10, this also requires you to have the game installed and running off a NonCD executable. This patch will also only work with The Sims Complete Collection.
For this option, all you need is to download the Widescreen Patcher from Faith Beam on Github.
Once you have downloaded the file, you just need to extract the zip file and right-click on Sims1WidescreenPatcher.exe. Choose the “run as administrator” option and say “yes” when asked about an unknown publisher making changes to your machine.
Find the Sims.exe in the folder where you installed the game. The patcher will make the back up itself, no need for you to go through that process.
Once you have added your file, choose your preferred resolution and click patch. To remove the options, you simply need to click uninstall (you’ll need to select the Sims.exe again to uninstall it correctly).
As with the previous method, creating a desktop shortcut to the new file will make things easier. The creator of the patch suggests using “Windows XP (Service Pack 2)” for the compatibility mode. Also, remember to choose run as administrator.
To run The Sims in windowed mode on Windows 10 with this method, you just need to change the target from the shortcut to this: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Maxis\The Sims\Sims.exe” -w
Because the patcher has already adjusted the resolution for you, there is no need to add the additional bits like in the other method.
Known issues with The Sims 1 and Windows 10
Not everything is perfect and there are still some issues with getting the game to run exactly as you wish. In some cases, the next and back arrows are missing in Build/Buy mode at some resolutions. The easiest workaround is to choose another resolution.
There are also some issues with the display if your display is set to be larger than 100%. You can simply choose a different resolution or adjust your display.
There are also some slightly more complicated methods involving a hex editor if you want even more control of how The Sims 1 displays and runs on Windows 10. One of those is described on this Reddit thread. We have not tested this method, but it probably sounds far more complicated than it actually is.
Most of these issues will have a workaround with a bit of trial and error. Trust us, it’ll be worth it.
Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.