Q & A

???: hi! love your blog! my partner has these really vivid memories of a minigame from a sims 2 installer (possibly for pets?) that featured a minigame about caring for a fishtank, but neither of us can find anything about this online. you seem to be a bit of a champion of obscure sims trivia, and i see a lot of the blogs that interact with you are sims 2 focused, so do you (or anyone else reading this ask) remember anything like this?

A: That’s strange. Are you sure it was TS2? I know for a fact there was a minigame fish tank thing for The Sims. It was sort of a standalone program that I think you could download off the internet.

Rhysbrando: Highkey hoping that another popular game company sees this shit and goes "Yo Sims Team, wanna work for us and tell EA to shove it?" Or something similar to how Kojima rose from the ashes after Konami screwed him over. Probably not gonna happen but I like to be hopeful that one of my favorite game series will still have some life.

A: That would be nice. If something like that did happen it would have to take time though. In our current state of affairs, every new game made seems to be seen by companies as little more than a trojan horse of microtransactions.

: In regards to the Sims closing: EA has told their shareholders that it doesn't believe in single player games any more. And now wants to focus on "Games as Services" ie multiplayer games that offer in-game purchases to maximise their profit for as long as their servers are up. So them closing the Sims as a franchise is most likely a symptom of their new, short-sighted business practice. And other franchises held by EA that do not offer themselves to online play will most likely see the same soon

A: It’s odd because after the Simcity debacle you’d think they would see the issue with this thinking. I’m of two minds about this.

1. They actually believe what they’re saying and think that single-player is dead and see the mobile market as a great way to maximize profit and do less work.

2. They have zero faith in the series. They don’t know what to do an would rather just ride the franchise down because they don’t know how to make a good full feature Sims-game and it’s too expensive to keep trying. I understand the thinking when it comes to mobile gaming being more lucrative for less work.

 However, I think they’re forgetting that the mobile market doesn’t have the same kind of brand trust for games that PC users do. Plus, if you look at the freemium model, you can see it’s all kinds of unstable. I don’t think they really care either way though.

Squidlish: In my personal opinion, I hate all of the Sims games for mobile devices. At least the ones I've played (Freeplay and TSM)... They're boring. I'd never want to spend money on either of them. I wish they wouldn't give up on PC and console. Those are the only ways I really play games..

A: I feel the same. Oddly enough, the thing I hate most about them is the lack of community creativity. The Sims has always been about community creation first and everything else second. It’s a shame. However, we still have the games released before this news and a great community.

: What if Origin becomes obsolete in the future and/or EA takes The Sims off of it? Will The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection still be playable? Or will I need to use the disks to install again? I'm very concerned about this and am trying to plan for it if it happens.

A: I know a lot of people are concerned about this. First off, I don’t think that EA is just going to shut down Sims titles. As someone said earlier, they’ve been selling games from the 80′s for a while that are still played through Origin. Secondly, any game that requires origin can be used without Origin with modification. Most of those modifications are legally questionable but by the time EA stops letting people play games it won’t matter anyway since you can just do what you want. But, like I said, that doesn’t matter since EA is very unlikely to just drop Sims titles from Origin. This news mostly just means that they won’t be developing new content past TS4 and even new content for the current generation is probably going to be sparse. Whether that means that we will continue to get a stuff packs every once in a while, that we’ll get even less than we were before, or nothing at all has yet to be seen. But again, don’t panic, we have a great community and games can and will remain playable. Nothing about previously released games will be changing.

Bulundu: I just love this blog so much. Thank you for making it. 😁 It makes me so nostalgic and happy and I always look forward to your posts and reading the conversations/asks. Makes me want to play all my old Sim games.

A: Aww, thanks so much! Well as some stuff blows over I’ll be back to making normal posts.

DreamingFoxx: Hi! Just a follow up to my super vague question (I'm sorry). It was definitely text based and not a chat style thing. It was I think on the sims 3 website. But it basically tried to showcase the whole idea of sims being able to make choices at work (I.e. work hard, slack off) and you could run them through their little career without ever being in legit gameplay. It was kind of dumb but I really like the little mini games like the trivia while installing sims 2 base game on PC

A: Wow, sorry I got to you ask so late. I didn’t see it. I do know what you’re talking about though. I remember seeing it and playing it but I don’t think it’s online anywhere. Does anyone remember this too/have a screenshot?

: Sorta related to the question about the PSP sims game but I used to play the Sims 2 for my PS2 and that was... pretty freaking weird. You had to help out these characters with their lives in story mode to unlock most of the outfits in regular mode which sucked. There were all sorts of characters with interesting backstories that never got brought up in the series again far as I know (old couple with a restaurant, a lovelorn rich girl and a cruise captain). Also the PS2 Castaway game was a trip.

A: I want to talk about how WEIRD Castaway was not only in concept but in marketing. Okay so it was a spin-off of a spin-off sort of. Like a lot of people don’t know this but Castaway was part of the “Life Stories” line which was a “laptop friendly” version of The Sims 2 engine. The first two games were super low effort but for whatever reason they were like “Why don’t we make something people might actually like and ISN’T a rehash of something we’ve already done?” But for whatever reason, they didn’t advertise it as part of the Life Stories set when it came out even though it was. Also, even weirder, it’s like the only game of that spinoff series that got its own console port? It’s interesting how EA not only tries to milk every iteration of the game by releasing EPs/SPs but also a spin-off based on every engine. They did the same thing with TS3 when Medieval came out. They just can’t stop themselves.

: I don't think it's just sims 2 console that has a weird story i mean aside from Castaway for console i have played every sims game for PS2 (though i'm yet to finish any) and i think their all very weird with their stories and some of the things these games did make me very surprised they still got their 13+ rating as sims bustin' out had a nudist household, Ubrz had a character that was a striper and as the last person said sims 2 had a lot of weird stories. i think sims 2 pets was the only clean console sims game for the ps2 though the first sims game for console isn’t that dirty but it's quite rude with it's GET A LIFE mode.

A: Yeah, I think I’ve said this before but there was a point in the 2000s where The Sims was a lot more willing to kind of cross that line into “edgier” topics. You really don’t see that much anymore with their games. I mean Medival had some stuff that was certainly more adult orientated but I feel like that was just an attempt at authenticity. Where as I think some of the things you said (The Urbz especially) was just Eaxis just seeing what they could get away with. Obviously that had to stop after the legal trouble they had around 2007-ish with Jack Thompson.

The Sims 2 for PSP screwed me up as a kid because it was the first time i encountered (spoilers i guess) a meta-narrative for any type of media where it became self aware and people in the world questioned their own existence. The whole thing was an existential fever-dream honestly. I was just a kid when I played it but the narrative caught me so much that I was hoping they'd continue the story in the Sims 3 but sadly that never happened. Have you ever played The Sims 2 on PSP?

A: I played The Sims 2 on PSP but I never finished it. (Sad for someone who runs a blog on how much they love The Sims, I know). It took me MONTHS to get past damn werewolf stage. Looking back I have two thoughts. 1. That weirdness was SO specific to The Sims 2 era. EA would never do something like that today. I remember a few things specifically like the cult you had to join or Ophelia owning that old church? That was a fucking trip. Also, if we consider that game canon then like the Curious brothers are evil and the Beakers are like canonically murders with a body count. 2. On a more serious note, The Sims 2 did a lot of meta-narrative type things. It includes a LOT of references to the film Pleasantville and (Spoilers) It’s a film about a sanitized 50′s television show where everything about life is so “clean” that it’s unrecognizable until you start to look deeper and realize all of the questions that it raises about politics/morality.

All I’m trying to say is that I have a theory that someone on the team during TS2′s development wanted to make a semi-serious statement on the image that The Sims was pushing. The Sims is way less apolitical than people think it is. It’s just really good at hiding it most of the time.

: I honestly think that the main reason why Sims 4's base game feels so empty compared to Sims 3 and hell even Sims 2 is because (aside from it originally being an online multiplayer game) is they were scared of making it too hard to run. I mean think about it the biggest complaint about Sims 3 is the game not running well on PCs (which makes sense the game was very ambitious for 2009) so of course EA is going to make Sims 4 more user friendly to the point it ran better on my win 7 PC than win 10 pc! No joke even Sims 3 runs better on my new PC and I swore this difference even before putting mods in Sims 4. I also believe the Sims 4 was a strange try at completely rebranding the franchise by going back to the Sims more cartoony look (which explains the stranger Sims slogan that was used). I would like to hear what you think of my theory and what you think are the weirdest Sims games. Personality I think bustin’ out and urbz are very weird Sims games.

A: You’re actually on to something with the “rebranding” comment. There’s an internal document from EA that talks about how The Sims 4 was supposed to make the series “more modern” or “cool again”. I think they wanted to move back towards stylized. It’s not exactly my cup of tea but I can def respect the art style. Problem is, I think they might have over done the “omg SO quirky” aspect a little. Like, it feels a little forced now because it’s all like that.