Amanda has been a Simmer (fan of "The Sims" games) since childhood. To this day she still discovers new ways to play.
With the 2014 release of the new (and slightly controversial among fans) life-simulation PC game The Sims 4, its predecessor is now considered outdated by some. True, The Sims 3 will no longer have any new releases—not in the form of expansion packs, stuff packs, or even new Sims store content. But it ended with 11 expansions and 9 stuff packs total. It's quite a massive game all together, I'd say!
Is The Sims 3 Still Worth Your Time?
Just because The Sims 4 is offering a new and different way to play doesn't mean you should stop playing TS3. There are fundamental differences in game play that make both the third and fourth games worthy of your attention at the same time, just as with The Sims 2 vs. The Sims 3.
Actually, many fans compare The Sims 4 to The Sims 2 in terms of likeness when it comes to playing style. TS3 was a world of its own. Poor original The Sims, everyone seems to have forgotten you except to look back with nostalgia.
The Best Expansion Packs for TS3
If you're determined to consistently move onward in your Sims gaming without looking back, I'm sure you'll have a great time. For those of us who either choose not to (or cannot) play The Sims 4 or who want to keep both versions in our lives—or those who simply wish to focus on TS3 for the time being—which expansion packs should you look into purchasing (or keeping, if you're intending to downgrade your game to free up room on your PC for The Sims 4)?
The following expansions packs significantly alter The Sims 3 in multiple ways, so that playing is never quite the same after installation.
- Late Night
Released: June 2010
The second Sims 3 expansion, Ambitions, introduces new careers options to our Sims and the ability to assist them in their careers while they're actually working. Previous games left career work to home life. We could help Sims build skills and make friends, but while they went off to their jobs we had to sit and twiddle our thumbs.
In the beginning of TS3, we could at least select options such as "Work Hard" or "Business as Usual", giving us some input into how our Sims' work days went. But now, with the Ambitions expansion, we can actively follow our Sims to work in certain career pathways and control how the day (or night) goes, witnessing everything the characters get up to.
Other Additions: Inventing, Detonation, Sculpting, Tattoos, the Eco-Friendly Trait, Meteor Death
2. Late Night
Released: October 2010
Late Night is the third TS3 expansion. A downtown/nightlife style of play is re-introduced to the world of The Sims. Clubs, group outings of up to eight Sims, vampires, and apartments are just some of the new pieces of play. The Celebrity system is also introduced, allowing Sims to rise in the social ranks amongst their peers. You can integrate clubs and apartments into any Sims world (aka neighborhood), but live in Bridgeport for the full experience of late night life.
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Other Additions: Bridgeport (a new town based on Los Angeles), the Shy and Star Quality Traits, Film Career, New Lifetime Rewards, Breast and Muscle Adjustment, Zodiac Signs
Released: May 2011
The fourth TS3 expansion pack focuses on the various stages of life. If you're a family-focused Simmer then this is the EP for you. It combines elements from a large multitude of expansions seen in The Sims 2 and takes them one step further. Children develop imaginations, teens can rebel, adults ('young' and 'old') discover the desire for family and marriage if their traits are appropriate for this lifestyle, and elder Sims experience the "Golden Years." And watch out for that midlife crisis!
Other Additions: Body Hair, Rebellious Trait, Nurturing Trait, Shower WooHoo, After-School Activities, Memories, Prom, Pranks, Boarding School
Released: September 2012
As you might guess, the Supernatural expansion pack is designed to drastically alter the Sims world into one of full-on fantasy. If this doesn't appeal to you, DO NOT install this game! If you're all for vampires, zombies, witches, werewolves, and fairies then you'll love this expansion. Boy, do they take over the game, though!
Everywhere you go you'll see Sims with fairy wings, Sims who can't stay out in the sun too long, Sims who get a little hairy once a month. You can, thankfully, select an option to stop certain supernatural creatures from creeping into your neighborhood though, as well as altering the moon stage settings. But if you don't, watch out for those zombies come the full moon...
Other Additions: Moonlight Falls (a new supernatural-themed town), Alchemy Skill, Traits: Supernatural Fan or Skeptic/Night Owl/Brooding/Gatherer/Proper, Broomstick Travel, Magical Items
Released: November 2012
Weather! But the eighth Sims 3 EP is more than just snow and rain (and hail and fog and thunderstorms...). It creates whole "seasons" for the Sims to participate in. Each season has its own festival (generic substitutes for commonly recognized holidays, such as Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine's Day) with appropriate activities. Fall includes a haunted house, summer has water balloon fights, winter allows for ice skating, and spring features an egg hunt! You'll also be able to throw new types of parties to match, such as costume parties or feast parties.
Other Additions: Loves the Cold, Loves the Heat, Swimming in the Ocean, Colds, Tans, Lightning (as in, struck by), Shorter Winter Days and Longer Summer Days, Aliens, Holidays
The expansions that didn't make it onto my top five are still absolutely worth having and playing! They are, in release order (minus the above five Sims 3 games):
- World Adventures: Send your Sims on vacations to Sim versions of France, Egypt, or China.
- Pets: Give your Sims a pet dog or cat or horse. Other animals include snakes, lizards, and birds.
- Showtime: Live life as a star! Or at least let your Sim do so. Be a singer, a magician, or an acrobat.
- University Life: Send your Sims to college. Like in The Sims 2 University, the Sim sent away to school will exist in a world that is separated from the rest of your Sims.
- Island Paradise: Once again send your Sims on vacations, this time to have adventures at tropical resorts. With mermaids.
- Into the Future: This futuristic addition to The Sims 3 introduces proper science fiction in the form of time travel, robots, hoverboards, and more.
PLUS the following "Stuff" Packs: High-End Loft, Fast Lane, Outdoor Living, Town Life, Master Suite, Katy Perry's Sweet Treats, Diesel, 70's/80's/90's, and Movie
Which expansion pack is your favorite? Which stuff pack do you feel adds the most to the world of TS3?
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on November 14, 2018:
Sims 3 University was my jam when I was a teenager. I still believe Sims 3 is the best out of them all; 4 felt weird and not like a real Sims game. That being said, I only played the free trial version.
I didn't get to play that many expansions because we didn't have much money growing up. I was already spending hours a day on University so I probably wouldn't have eaten or slept if I'd played the others! This is a great selection. Nice work!
Look At All Those Chickens on May 29, 2017:
My favorite is ambitions. I also enjoy seasons and pets. Island paradise is a little laggy for me.
Lynn Diavol from Albany, New York on April 06, 2015:
You've inspired me to FINALLY buy the Generations expansion pack! I have a lot of them (not a big fan of stuff packs) but I've been forgetting to buy Generations!
Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on February 24, 2014:
I remember playing the Sims with a friend who owned one of the releases - you brought back good memories for me!
Amanda (author) from Michigan, United States on February 18, 2014:
Pets and World Adventures are great too! I thought about giving Pets a place on this list because I know so many people wouldn't even play The Sims 3 until animals became a part of it.
Thanks for the comment!
Sarah Forester from Australia on February 18, 2014:
So many expansion packs and so many memories of playing each of them!
Ambitions was definitely my favourite following closely by Generations and Supernatural. I was also a fan of Pets and World Adventures.
I found Showtime to be a little disappointing and thought they could have done more with it.