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Revisiting "The Sims" (TS1) Original Game

Rachelle Williams is a web content creator with a goal to educate and entertain.

The Sims is developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts (EA)

The Sims is developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts (EA)

The Sims is often referred to as The Sims 1 or TS1 to differentiate the original game from the series itself. The Sims 1 game is the first in the series and it is the one that sparked a love affair with simulation games for millions of people—gamers and non-gamers alike.

Back in the day, TS1 was one of the first games that allowed players to ditch their real lives for artificial least, for a little while. The gameplay allowed us to create virtual sims that we needed to feed, clothe, house and well as find and maintain jobs to be able to afford to continue living.

It was a new and exciting thing to explore, and many of us were hooked from the very first time we dared to play. In this article, we'll take a nostalgic look back at The Sims 1 game, and I'll point out some of the things that made it so special.

About The Sims (TS1) Game Logistics

The Sims 1 (TS1) was developed by Maxis Studios and published by Electronic Arts (EA). The game was first released for PC in February of 2000. In just two short years after it first launched, it had become the best selling video game in history at the time.

The original game included seven expansion packs and two deluxe editions; the expansion packs were as follows:

Sims 1 Original Expansion Packs

  1. Livin' Large
  2. House Party
  3. Hot Date
  4. Vacation
  5. Unleashed
  6. Superstar
  7. Makin' Magic

*The expansion packs are discussed in a separate article: Revisiting The Sims 1 (TS1) Expansion Packs


About The Sims (TS1) Gameplay

The gameplay offered a sandbox experience with no series of set goals or objectives that needed to be reached, so players had a high degree of creativity. As I alluded to earlier, players only needed to keep their sim alive and well.

Once entering the game, players initially created their virtual "person" or sim. Your sim of choice could be male or female, young or old, and have skin tones ranging from white to black. There was a multitude of choices from which players could customize their sim, from hair and eye color to clothing and basic personality traits.

The straightforward way to play the game was to create your own sim, find a place for him or her to live, and then go about the chores of daily life. There were certain activities sims could complete on their own and players could control the amount of autonomy their sim could have.

Other activities required player assistance to complete, i.e., finding employment, paying bills, conceiving children, making friends with specific sims, etc.

There was lots of opportunities for social interaction with both characters you created and non-player characters as well. Sims communicated with each other in a fictionalized language called Simlish.

Gameplay provided for hours of entertainment by way of simply "living life" and interacting with the in-game characters. However, other players found different ways to play the game. For instance, pre-teens and questionable adults found it interesting to torture their sims.

A particularly cruel, but popular way to torture a sim was to take away the ladder from a pool while the sim swam in it...thus causing eventual death to said sim, because it couldn't get out of the pool, so it would drown, thus causing the Grim Reaper to appear and take the sim to the great beyond...

9 Ways to Die in Sims (TS1) (Base Game + Expansions)

Building Houses in The Sims (TS1)

There were pre-built homes in The Sims 1 (TS1) from which players could choose and after they completed creating their sim they were ported into the game world to move into their new home and start a new life.

However, many players chose to build their own homes. As it turned out, the game engine included strong home-building features plus solid interior design, exterior design and landscaping features.

Another popular method of gameplay was to shun the conventional use of the game altogether to focus on building houses; in fact, this was my personal method of choice.

Some players became in-game master builders and decorators. In fact, even to this day, there are entire monetized YouTube channels devoted to this art-form, especially in newer game versions where the build and design features are greatly enhanced.

The Sims 1 House Building

The Sims 1 House Building

The Sims (Original Soundtrack)

Perhaps one of the most memorable aspects of the game was the soundtrack. According to Maxis, the music was supposed to fade into the background so that users wouldn't be distracted from the gameplay.

However, the music became nearly as popular as the game itself. Millions of people were exposed to relaxing mood Jazz sounds with an impressionistic ambience. The music washed over players like heavy cream poured over iced coffee in a chilled glass...and listeners were hooked; adults and pre-teens alike.

Today, merely by virtue of hearing music from The Sims soundtrack, an entire generation of people are almost immediately transported back to the turn of the 21st century.

The Sims (Original Soundtrack) shattered record sales, ranking in league with albums from then popular musicians like Britney Spears, Eminem and The Backstreet Boys.

The music was composed primarily by Jerry Martin and Marc Russo. Martin went on to compose subsequent The Sims releases and Russo is a member of the Jazz fusion band, Yellowjackets and a former Doobie Brothers saxophonist.

Admittedly, The Sims (TS1) sequels went on to greatly improve the graphics and capabilities of the game. However, there is something positive to be said for the simple mechanics, snarky humor, and iconic music of the original game.

As for the one con of the game...aside from some of the most obsessed fans, the charm of The Sims started to wear off once you realized you were manipulating artificial people to live their lives while wasting away your own life.

However, this type of gameplay was new and exciting and looking back, it seems as though the hours we whiled away helped, at least in some way, to shape the artificial intelligence of today and tomorrow.

Today, we are at The Sims 4, which launched 14 years after the original game. It has delivered on its promise of game enhancements.

When I think back to the original game I think of just how far technology has pushed us forward in such a short amount of time. The thought is exciting, but somewhat frightening at the same time; it makes one think, "what's next?" The Sims 5 is coming, so I suppose we shall soon see...

The Sims (TS1) evokes feelings of nostalgia and longing for a time when life was simpler and for many of us the original game will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

© 2022 Rachelle Williams