April 7 - We just released a patch Day for The Sims 4 on PC/MAC. Patch notes here.

The Major Effect "The Sims" had upon the Gaming World (and why we don't talk about it)

I've been gaming for a long time.

I'd rather not go into it, for fear people would start sending me cans of Ensure and/or prune juice, but let's just say I remember a time when we didn't have to blow into cartridges to get the game to work. For you few that understood that reference, you understand that I've been blessed with witnessing gaming evolve from a few pixels to the glorious moments we have available today. It's been a great trip, but what interests me more at this moment than graphics, sound, and game-play is how gaming as a community has changed. Yes, it has obviously grown over the years, becoming one of the most popular pastimes accepted worldwide (in only 40 years, which is a heck of an accomplishment), but with growth comes change. This is what we shall discuss; the change that "The Sims" had upon the world's gaming community.

Gaming wasn't always as accepted as it is today. Home gaming used to be only available to those that could own a computer, and computers were so expensive and difficult to use that only a few of us had one. These few children and teens lucky enough to have one would be made fun of by their peers, mostly out of jealousy, for "wasting time" on video games instead of other activities like sports. I claim the negative look on gaming back then was mostly due to jealously, because I remember each of these kids who made fun of gaming were the very same kids pumping quarters in the closest arcade cabinet available. Then something wonderful happened.

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was born, and guess what? Most could afford one.

This brought gaming back into the homes since the time of Atari, except this time it wasn't lame. Gaming captured the hearts and minds of an entire generation of children that almost all grew into gaming adults. Still, the people weren't united in their mutual love of gaming, as there was a split. While the origin of this split was based upon the old-world outlook of gaming being a waste of time for dorks, the split was formed of people with more physical properties rather than political.

The gaming community, at that time, was almost entirely made up of males.

Females largely still held that gaming was a complete waste of time and something only dorks that didn't play sports did. Sure, there was your occasional gamer female, but they were by far a rare find. While the gaming community today is still largely dominated by a male presence, females are more abundant now than ever, and at every age demographic. A few months back I asked myself what was the largest factor that caused this change?

With no doubt do I firmly believe it was the game series, "The Sims", that brought most females into accepting gaming and therefore being gamers themselves.

This was a huge accomplishment, and one that should be openly praised and studied, but it's just not discussed. It's by no means denied, as I personally have yet to have a single person disagree with my above statement, but it's just not talked about by almost any gaming writer, developer, or producer. Why is that? What is so taboo about discussing this wonderful contribution?

Well...because it's what the gameplay, and thereby the appeal, "The Sims" has that attracted females and created this effect. Now, this might offend some of you, and I do apologize ahead of time if I do, but here's the truth...

The Sims is really just playing "house" with dolls.

We can't openly describe it as such, because it might alienate the male demographic. I say "might", when it would certainly alienate a large number of them. It's really about money, and keeping a product as commercially available to as wide an audience as possible.

So, a product that has contributed one of the most impressive changes to the gaming community world-wide CAN NOT be openly discussed at it's face value for why or how it gave this change and openly praised for, because of the fear of a loss in revenue even though it's one of the most lucrative series ever created. Gotta love corporate politics.

Maybe one day we'll grow up past that, but until then I'll be playing with my dolls.


  • davina1221davina1221 Posts: 3,216 Member
    My gaming started with the Odyssey and arcade games(Ms. Pacman mostly and some dugdig).

    Then, Nintendo and Super Nintendo (still have this on and play Dr. Mario especially like crazy level hard 18 against the computer. 23-4 ish is my high by myself on hard).

    Handheld black jack and family feud.- still have

    Love/pro at Wedding dash. Liked some other single computer games/discs.( Amen-card game, elf bowling, and others.)

    Sims3-. All games, all store, and nearly all perks from buying store coins.

    Sims4- Everything except Moschino and Tiny living. Probably would have had them if my Origin account page hadn't been messed up, but finally fixed a month ago or so. Also was waiting until I change out my slow internet, but I will probably buy Tiny Living soon. The tiny house, challenge, the incredible lady hair, the bed, and a couple other things just make it to tempting. I love the bathing suit and job from Mos and will probably get it later.

    Love and regularly play Happy Acres on Facebook.

    Sometimes, I play farm frenzy. Bought farming simulator 17 platinum, but I couldn't figure it out right away, so I haven't messed with it.

    I think there have been girl gamers, but maybe they weren't as vocal. Between arcades and home systems, there would really be no real way to know the true ratio. Boys might have played the large name titles, but perhaps girls liked varied gaming according to their taste.
  • StrawberryYogurtStrawberryYogurt Posts: 1,112 Member
    edited February 29
    What if youre a girl and have been playing games before the Sims?

    You can consider the sims "dolls" and equate it to feminity if you'd like but also there are action figures as well.

    The sims is for everyone, and I think thats why it works so well.

    Sims 5. Please be great.

  • beadierturtlebeadierturtle Posts: 183 Member
    What if youre a girl and have been playing games before the Sims?

    By no means was I attempting to imply that TS was the sole reason that brought every single female into gaming. I'm sorry if it came off as such.
  • OldeseadoggeOldeseadogge Posts: 2,478 Member
    I remember when computer games were soley text run on corporate main frame computers and astoundingly popular, both genders. Quite agree that the Sims was a major change bringer. My ancient take on it is that it is a game that everyone can relate to, a game that lets people do things they never could (or dare to) in real life, experiment, discover talents they never thought they had, tell and share stories, and so much more. It's a game that brought enrichment, not just how many 'bad guys' you could dispose of in your quest for more gold and XP.
  • JACKIEJOYJACKIEJOY Posts: 689 Member
    Boys played with dolls back in the 70's. Little green army dolls, barbie sized dolls with buzz cuts and cowboy hats and my favorite, crazy dolls that came with air pump rocket motorcycles. But they sure got mad if you called any of those dolls. Easiest way ever to tease my brother. I have always wondered how many of those guys grew up and found the Sims.
  • HermitgirlHermitgirl Posts: 7,967 Member
    You can send me all the ensure you want! I'm a girl and guess I was a nerd/dork early on... loved to read and play video games, mostly at arcades though. I remember being jealous that I didn't have an Atari! I guess I kind of agree that sims made it more mainstream and acceptable for girls to be interested in computer games even if I didn't need it to be acceptable for myself? I think I played Sims and Tombraider together when they came out and can't remember playing video games at home before that not because I was female but because there was nothing out there that interested me other than arcade type games or card games. Remember at that time we were still using a dial-up connection if you were lucky enough to be able to afford a home computer so there wasn't much to chose from that was interesting. (to females? I dunno?)
    I know now my favorite games besides the Sims usually have a virtual life element.... like if it's an action game you can craft or have a home to decorate or put trophies in... or a farming game with a virtual life element. None of them hit the same spot the Sims does but I feel like they are getting closer to providing that and maybe we do have the sims influence to thank for that.
    Sala-gadoola-menchicka-boo-la bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
    Put 'em together and what have you got?
  • elanorbretonelanorbreton Posts: 11,286 Member
    I was one of those rare female gamers as a teen, having been introduced to it by my brother (total 70's geek) and inheriting his cast off zx81 complete with cassette tape dino game, d & d types etc. Oh the joys of then advancing from tapes to floppy discs :D

    I have progressed through many different gaming machines, starting with that old zx81, zx spectrum, an old vectrex machine (which is still in my attic with about 20 games), then onto the Sega Megadrive, the very first Xbox, a home built pizza box pc, right up to my current desktop.

    But all through that, I still return to what I loved most as a child before the age of computers came along. My dollhouses. Except now they are my sims in houses.
  • flippinmaryflippinmary Posts: 168 Member
    edited February 29
    I think I must be one of those rare females (as well as my mum) since the days of Sega's Alex Kidd, Earthworm Jim, Sonic, NES's Metroid, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, Super Mario :D Mum got my then 8 year old son into playing Tomb Raider on the PC (before he got a playstation) using the arrow keys between them. They had many an argument about who's fault it was that Lara fell to her death :D

    My son grew up & was never interested in The Sims, he plays games on playstation. I had Sims 1, didn't get 2 or 3 but decided to get Sims 4. Mum had Sims 1 but never bothered with The Sims again. She is now in her mid 70s and still plays games on the PC.

    *Edit- Oh I remember playing Resident Evil, the one where the handset shakes and I nearly had a heart attack every time :o I never got to finish that game :D
  • TamakiSakura84TamakiSakura84 Posts: 244 Member
    I grew up on PC games. By the time I started playing The Sims, it was already on TS3, and I was employed at a game developer.
  • beadierturtlebeadierturtle Posts: 183 Member
    I absolutely love hearing your gaming stories.
  • beadierturtlebeadierturtle Posts: 183 Member
    I think I must be one of those rare females (as well as my mum) since the days of Sega's Alex Kidd, Earthworm Jim, Sonic, NES's Metroid, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, Super Mario :D Mum got my then 8 year old son into playing Tomb Raider on the PC (before he got a playstation) using the arrow keys between them. They had many an argument about who's fault it was that Lara fell to her death :D

    My son grew up & was never interested in The Sims, he plays games on playstation. I had Sims 1, didn't get 2 or 3 but decided to get Sims 4. Mum had Sims 1 but never bothered with The Sims again. She is now in her mid 70s and still plays games on the PC.

    *Edit- Oh I remember playing Resident Evil, the one where the handset shakes and I nearly had a heart attack every time :o I never got to finish that game :D

    I rode mybike to rentaplaystation to play re. so much love for that game.
  • StarfreeStarfree Posts: 471 Member
    @flippinmary Legend of Zelda's been around that long? My great-niece just got the Nintendo Switch version of that game today for her birthday.
  • QueenofMyshunoQueenofMyshuno Posts: 1,177 Member
    Female. My gaming history is Pong, Nintendo Mario Bros/Legend of Zelda, Caesar III, Sim City, Sims 1/2/4.

    Yes, seriously. It all started with Pong, LOL.
  • simgirl1010simgirl1010 Posts: 15,353 Member
    I started with Atari and War Lords. My husband and I played it with friends. My next foray into gaming was with the NES. We gave our 6 year old son one for his birthday. We played Mario together and moved on the Super NES and games like Contra, Donkey Kong, F Zero, Street Fighter. Then it was Sega Genesis and Mortal Kombat and Sonic. I don't really remember the order but we had the Nintendo 64, Game Cube, Game Boy, and the Wii. We played them all. By this time my older son had moved on to the Xbox and Playstation and his younger brother and I played also. I had so much fun with the Final Fantasy games, Fable, GTA, and so many more. Eventually they started gaming with their friends and I was lucky enough to discover the Sims.

    My sons were never very interested in playing the Sims. Like OP mentioned they thought it was a girly game or like playing with dolls. Although they did enjoy building and torturing and killing sims.

  • Karababy52Karababy52 Posts: 2,938 Member
    I never played video games as a child/preteen. I was more into reading and playing outside with my sister and friends. I'd even combine the two and sit up in a tree reading a book. When I started dating my now husband, he loved playing video games and we'd play PacMan, Defender, Astroids, etc. on the machines his folks had in the dining room of the Dairy Queen they owned or we'd go to the local truck stop and play the machines they had there.

    After a few years, we got married, had children and bought a PS1. Mostly my Son and husband would play it, but I enjoyed playing Spyro, Crash Bandicoot and Frogger on it. Now and then I'd try COD, 007 games, Madder NFL, or even GNome, Trophy Buck & Trophy Fishing on the PC, but that was more their thing.

    I was still more into reading novels and doing things outside, amateur photography, raising our children, working as a 4-H Administrative Assistant, taking care of our home, etc.

    When my oldest daughter begged us to buy her The Sims for her 13th birthday, everything changed. It was the building aspect that got me into it at first, I couldn't get enough! I'd play Sims in gameplay too, but that was the biggest draw for me. Once TS2 came out, it changed my life completely. I still loved building in it, but I loved the gameplay with that iteration too. It allowed my creative side to shine.

    That was the period in my life where I ended up owning and running a very popular forum for TS2 and writing as well. It was the Golden era for me. I literally RAN outside to the UPS truck when TS2 base game was delivered. The driver must've thought I was a crazy woman, jumping up and down and wooting in glee. lol

    By then I was the only one in my family still playing the Sims. Everyone in my family did for awhile, but stopped after awhile with other interests or had gone back to the PS in my Son and Hubby's case.

    I skipped TS3 for a variety of reasons, mainly because I didn't have a computer to run it and couldn't afford to buy one. But I didn't like the look of the Sims either. I LOVED how beautiful the worlds looked though and the idea of an open world, color wheel, create-a-style.

    TS4 came out and I loved the look of the Sims, the world, build mode, CAS, so I bought a used laptop from my DIL that could run it and started buying packs. Eventually that laptop gave up the ghost and Hubby bought me a gaming desktop PC as a wedding anniversary gift a couple years ago. Despite all it's glitches/bugs and missing elements, I love it!

    So anyway, I'd say that the Sims got me playing video games, or I should say only this game for over 20 years, more than just casually, but not for the dollhouse aspect. Little girls don't actually build their dollhouses. lol It's enhanced my life in so many creative and fun ways, it would be hard to list them all and because of that I'll be forever grateful! <3
  • DaWaterRatDaWaterRat Posts: 947 Member
    I was the first kid - let alone girl - on the block with an Atari, and an Intellivision. I eventually had a C-64 too, and that one was all mine. For age reference, the Kid characters on Stranger Things would be my peers if they were real people. I don't even remember all the games I played on those early consoles. I went to the arcade to play Pac man and Q-bert and several others.

    Then I discovered an actual D&D club at my high school (okay, it was technically a "games club" but it was really a D&D club) This was back when there was D&D and AD&D... None of this 5th Ed stuff. And gaming with people I could see and laugh with was just so much more fun than sitting in front of a computer.

    It probably helped that I was also a Theater Geek. (or didn't help, as the case may be.) But computer games lost their appeal, even as my male friends (and as a geek, I had a lot of them - and they were real friends, not trying to get with the Unicorns that female geeks were seen as at the time) continued to talk about them and all the cool games just... didn't seem that interesting to me.

    I continued to dabble in various computer games over the years, but since I honed my gaming skills on finding rules loopholes and interpersonal dynamics and plot development rather than keeping up with the complexity of controllers, they became harder for me to play - the skill jump between where I was and what was needed to actually make progress kept getting bigger - and therefore harder to keep my interest, even if the plot was good. That I also am sick and plum tired of skimpy armor and other sexist gaming tropes didn't help.

    I heard about Sim City. And the Sims. But I didn't start to play until Sims 4.

    And I play Sims 4 so that I have another avenue for storytelling. If that's "playing Barbie" - fine with me.
  • ClarionOfJoyClarionOfJoy Posts: 712 Member
    My family started out with console games which was mostly played by my brother. When we got a PC, that's when I started playing point-n-click adventure games (and still do). I played all the Sierra Online titles: Space Quest series, King's Quest series, Police Quest series, etc. Also LucasArts games: Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken, Monkey Island series, Day of the Tentacle (my all-time favorite), Grim Fandango (another favorite). Other adventures games I played: The Legend of Kyrandia series (Book 2: Hand of Fate is my favorite).

    I also played a few role-playing games. Also simulation games by Maxis and Bullfrog. I remember seeing a flyer for The Sims when installing one of those games. I also loved the city-building simulations by Impressions with Zeus and its expansion Poseidon being my favorite.

    The Sims series really did make a great impact on me. It was the first games I've ever paid full price and bought in its entirety. My motivation for buying newer computers was based on how well it can run The Sims games.

    I still played adventure games, but The Sims games I loved the most! Each iteration from TS1 to TS3 made a big impact on me simply because playing those games were and still are so satisfying and immersive. Especially with TS3 - the game is so flexible and customizable that I had been able to play it in so many ways. During this period, I didn't even feel the need to play other games because TS3 is everything I needed.

    But then TS4 came and when I found out that it wasn't open world and they took away the color wheel and CASt, my heart just about dropped! So I continued to play TS3. As more packs came out for TS4, it just got more and more disappointing. I also didn't like how the executives at EA and Maxis were talking - as if they aren't hearing any of our concerns. I didn't like feeling so dependent on their decisions for The Sims series, so it was at that point that I started to try out other genres of games especially by other game publishers. I found out that I really love GTA-like open worlds - I especially love Pandemic's "The Saboteur" which is absolutely amazing, and Rockstar's "L.A. Noire". I also love the Saints Row series which is a funnier version of the GTA series. I also discovered that I love first and third person shooters - the Borderlands series are my favorites, but I also love the "No One Lives Forever" series which stars a female protagonist, Cate Archer

    No One Lives Forever Intro

    The No One Lives Forever series is a funny parody of the 70s James Bond movies but the gameplay is solid. Cate goes on all these mission all over the world such as Morocco, Germany, etc. No one seems to be claiming the distribution rights so the games are now free: No One Lives Forever Revival if you want to play them.

    So anyway, at this point, if the execs at EAxis continue to not listen to our concerns, I can easily walk away from the series now that I have other game genres I love. I also feel I have more options within the life sim genre now that Paralives is being developed and that Paradox Tectonic is probably developing their own life sim game.

  • secretlondon123secretlondon123 Posts: 155 Member
    My first computer was an 8 bit Acorn Electron, prior to that I had an Atari 2600 console - I've been gaming for nearly 35 years and I'm female. I actually don't play the Sims like dolls houses - I play it as a single player young adult. I've no interest in family play.

    There were other games before this that were less masculine. One that comes to mind is Little Computer People, characters living in my computer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Computer_People
  • OEII1001OEII1001 Posts: 3,047 Member
    As someone who has also been playing video games for a very, very long time, my experience has been that the idea that women didn't play them is an incorrect stereotype based on false social assumptions. I remember having my backside handed to me by women many times in Street Fighter II back in the arcades of the early 1990's. There were lots of women hanging around those arcades, and many of them were the best players. The person who introduced me to tabletop RPGs was a woman.
  • happyopihappyopi Posts: 1,086 Member
    Girls have always gamed as long as there has been video games and the idea that they're late comers to the hobby is a modern narrative and also completely wrong.
  • OEII1001OEII1001 Posts: 3,047 Member
    edited March 1
    happyopi wrote: »
    Girls have always gamed as long as there has been video games and the idea that they're late comers to the hobby is a modern narrative and also completely wrong.

    I think that a lot of that ongoing perception has been due to the fact that advertising for video games, and to a degree most nerdy pastimes, has been directed almost exclusively to a single demographic -- white suburban teenage boys from middle class households. The women have always been there, it is just that nobody was interested in talking about them, and in the case of publishers even talking to them.
  • BabykittyjadeBabykittyjade Posts: 956 Member

    I can only speak for myself as an individual because gender turns into a messy subject.
    Buuuuut. I totally related with this on a personal level. I know everyone says it's a life simulator but my addiction for it has always been because I see it as a dollhouse. I spend hours in CAS dressing up "barbies" Then building their dream barbie house basically. And Ts4 feels the most dollhouse like than any of them

    Before I really got into the sims I did love other style video games especially RPGs and fighting games. But if I truly think about what my favorite part of those games were it was choosing the characters outfit or trying to simulate dollhouse in a way with the RPGs.

    Then once I got a decent PC and was able to play the sims it changed my life. I had my barbies, my dollhouse and the freedom to do whatever I wanted with it. I don't even play with my physical dollhouse as much any more because it feels so limited. This virtual dollhouse is limitless. And I spend more time than I care to admit "shopping" for cc. And I when I see a dress I like in real life I wonder to myself if I can find it for my sims😅😅😅😅

    Once again that's just my personal experience as a girl. What you said is true for me. But it's hard to discuss and I met a lot of girls who take offense to being labeled with certain terms so I don't say anything about anything. I just enjoy my dollhouse in peace 😎
  • DivieOwlDivieOwl Posts: 1,147 Member
    edited March 1
    TBH, I grew up with a Nintendo, and I did play some games (Mario Bros was my fave), but it was never more than a pass time, when I had time. As I grew through my early 20's (pre-Sims) I played Crash, Donkey Kong, Tekken, and a few others. We owned a few consoles but - again - it was never more than a occasional pass time.

    My husband was always more into the consoles, playing pretty much most every chance he got.

    We bought our first computer, and I got into programming and learning how to create and run scrips and the tech side of computers. He had his consoles, I had my computers. I'd play solitaire or a random silly game on the PC occassionally, but never more than - you guessed it - something to just pass a short amount of time.

    Then 2000 hit. I kept seeing this sims game on the computer and in the stores. Not sure why it drew my attention, exactly, since I never seen an actual ad or anything about game play on it but I decided to give it a try. And I was completely and thoroughly hooked. I went from a casual gamer, who only played for maybe 20-30 minutes (on a long session) to pass time shortly, to staying up all night while my kids slept on Sims. I was running on 2 hours of sleep a day and about 3 pots of coffee.

    And I have been addicted to Sims since. Now that my kids are mostly grown and moved out, and I have all my free time to do as I please, I spend a great deal of time playing games. 90% of my gaming time is spent on sims, but I do enjoy a random different game periodically.

    I can see Sims being "dolls". I'm not offended by that, either. I really enjoyed Dolls as a child, it makes sense that a computer game to that degree would be what would interest me the most as an adult.

    I enjoy all aspects of the Sims 4. I enjoy creating sims, building, decorating, and playing. So it's definitely "Dolls 2020 Edition". So I have been a casual gamer my whole life, but it was definitely the sims series that brought me from a casual gamer to a full time gamer.
  • simgirl1010simgirl1010 Posts: 15,353 Member
    I've often wondered if there are differences in the ways males and females approach the game. As mentioned above my sons weren't at all interested in dressing their Sims or decorating. They only wanted to create chaos and mayhem. I can spend hours selecting outfits for my female sims. Choosing the right hairstyle and accessories. With previous versions I loved going cc shopping for hairs and makeup. And I can spend even more time decorating a house. Selecting walls and floors and just the right decor and clutter to give it that lived in look. Also wondering if there are female players who are just the opposite and don't give a hoot about clothing and decorating.
  • CaprianaBCaprianaB Posts: 293 Member
    I'm female and don't spend a lot of time on clothing and decorating. IRL I'm not into fashion at all.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Return to top