In previous posts I have referenced and used as examples various titles in the Sims series. However, of the four main Sims games to be released, I have only ever played 1, 2 and 4. This was not due to a lack of interest in The Sims 3 on my part, far from it. Prior to its release in 2009, I was an avid Sims 1 and 2 player and studiously followed the media coverage for the then upcoming Sims 3. Being a teenager at the time I did not have adequate funds to purchase it myself, and since my mother had developed the opinion that video games are only for boys and adults who lived in their parents basement (Note: if it was not already obvious this opinion is wrong, I want to clearly state that I have always identified as female and never once in my adult life lived with my parents or in a basement), I was unable to play The Sims 3 upon its initial release. Jump forward over a decade later and I have decided to indulge in my inner teenager and purchase The Sims 3 on Steam.
Beginning my first long awaited play session of The Sims 3 I had high expectations. Considered by many in the Sims fandom to be one of, if not the best Sims game, The Sims 3 boasts extensive object customization, an open world, and a multitude of different life aspirations and attributes. Notably, these are all features that are lacking in The Sims 4, which caused much ire in the community as it was seen as a regression of the series. Yet despite these added features, The Sims 3 did not wow me in the expected way. There are a few reasons for this. One of the more interesting ones has to do with the aforementioned customization, open world, and variety of sim attributes and goals. These are absent not only in The Sims 4, but in The Sims 1 and 2 as well. Seeing as how these games comprise almost all of my experience with the series, I’ve become accustomed to their absence. This is why when I played The Sims 4 I was not overly offended by the lack of these features. Also, I’ve simply learned to play The Sims without them. This is not to say I don’t enjoy The Sims 3. In particular I enjoyed its inclusion and expansion of mechanics from The Sims 1 and 2. For example, being able to edit the world on a large scale was something I dearly missed from The Sims 2 and was overjoyed to be able to do again in The Sims 3. And while it took me awhile to grow accustomed to their presence, I loved exploring the open world, customizing my countertops, and creating nuanced and unique Sims via their attributes.
I was not expecting my experience with The Sims 3 to turn into a reflection of how people who regularly experience an imperfect thing over a long period of time become accustomed to and accepting of it, despite there being room for improvement (looking at you, US Electoral College). Whether it is a video game franchise or an election system, something that is widely used and successful should not be immune to talk of improvement and a critical eye.
The Sims 3. Electronic Arts, 2009. Video Game.