On 4 February 2021, The Sims franchise will turn 21 years old. The game has come a long way since the early days of superimposing Will Wright’s photo on Sims and calling it custom content.
The current iteration of the game, The Sims 4, has myriad problems to address, but it’d be remiss of me to not thank the game for what it has given to me over the last 21 years.
We remain hopeful that this year’s anniversary will something more than the damp squib hot tub we got last year for the 20th anniversary, but that’s not this post. For just a few moments, I wanted to pay homage to the game that has always been more than just a game…warts and all. Oh wait… there aren’t any warts in Create-a-Sim…
Sul sul and kaching
To Bella and Bob and Mortimer too
Yes, even to Eliza and the Lothario crew.
To the Pleasants, the Brokes
The Landgraabs, the Rhomes.
And to all the other Sim folks.
Thank you sincerely,
because vadish just won’t do.
For 21 years
Through your tiny pixels
You have helped make life just a bit less abysmal.
Even if our treatment of you can be rather sinful.
From those very first days with auto-roofs and klapaucius
Even when the industry thought your approach was too audacious.
You’ve let us play with life
Whatever the world was behaving like.
It’s just a game
Some eyes will roll.
But it’s so much more than just feeding my obsession with control.
Because no game that is just that
Can make you feel a bit lighter every time you felt flat.
[do not blame the Murphy Bed]
To me, The Sims is much more than just that.
For 21 years
(sometimes for 21 hours a day)
The Sims, a pixelated populace,
has given me a way to cling to existence.
You see, me and the freezer bunny
We go together like bees and honey.
Even if one were to exist without the other
Well, who would tell Bella that Michael is her brother?
And while it might be entirely fictional
It is also a world that I find convivial.
Yes, even if good times mean
Sometimes removing pool ladders.
While Chip the Dancer appears from his cake
Unwittingly celebrating another Sim’s death.
Actually… let’s just say you’re holding a wake
It might seem bizarre.
And some things definitely are.
But The Sims has given me so much
That 21 years later
I’ve not outgrown such.
The Sims has given me
The freedom to be
It has been an anchor
When the world got too loud
It even taught me the meaning of ‘hanker’.
And with dear best friend,
Whose name was Amy
I stayed up all weekend
Playing this game that drove us crazy.
I’m just sorry she didn’t live to see
The Sims 4 released.
And though my dad died
Before my own big birthday.
His Simself can be by my side
Whenever I wish.
Even if it’s just to call his mother a llama.
[hey generations isn’t quite in The Sims 4, I had no idea she’s my grandma!]
The in the midst of a global pandemic,
This silly game made things feel less frenzied.
The Sims helped my friends
with cancelled graduations.
To them I gifted maxed out virtual aspirations.
Even with all the bugs
Like Sims leaving puddles
all over their own floors.
And when you released that pack about Star Wars.
For your mode that is live,
Not the one where you live
I would hire a thousand caterers
Because you’ve got so much to give.
Just don’t expect cake
Those caterers do everything but bake.
But sul sul and kaching
Here’s the next 21 years
And whatever you might bring.
For Amy, your sunshine is with me always.
For Tonie, I’ll tidy my desk tomorrow.
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.