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The Sims 1, 2, 3, 4 Gameplay

The first game that I ever played from The Sims Franchise was The Sims 2. I also played The Sims 3 and The Sims 4 and much later The Sims 1. Because I played the later games before the original, I never really got into The Sims 1. All I could tell was that The Sims 2 gameplay was vastly superior to The Sims 1 namely because of aspirations, wants, fears, family trees, generational gameplay, aging and a full 3D view. And it was those things that got me excited about The Sims 2, and so Dad got The Sims 2 for me. I could have chosen The Sims Complete Collection at the time, but the problem was, the lack of an aging system and generational gameplay turned me off right away. I didn't care much for the stuff or content, but the possible longevity of a game, and I thought a game that could go on for generations seemed more worthy than something that could only be played for 1 generation.

Anyway, even when I later played The Sims 1 Complete Collection, I never really got into it as much as the others and couldn't really play more than a few minutes into it. It felt like The Sims 2 base game, but much worse. It was kind of cool that The Sims 1 had a roller coaster, but then I could just spend some money at the Sims 3 Store for a roller coaster and put that in my Roaring Heights world; and the 3D view made all the difference. Plus, it wasn't really Roller Coaster Tycoon in which I could design my own roller coaster; it was The Sims, and I could just ride on the roller coaster object.

With that said, I see The Sims 1 and The Sims 2 as very similar life simulation games, and as life simulation games, they are more about how the objects and the environment and the people affect the Sims' stats.

The Sims 3 is where I see a completely different outlook. This time, the game takes on a more RPG style of play. There is still some life simulation in the game, as the objects and environment and social relationships do have an effect on the Sims, but the wishes and the opportunities essentially drive the gameplay, and the gameplay becomes more about personal achievements in life (what you can do in life) as opposed to interactions with different things around you.

The Sims 4 takes on The Sims 3's RPG playstyle in a closed world, but unlike the Sims 2 closed world, the Sims will all be moving around (similar to Sims 3). It seems as if you can only control 1 Sim at a time or focus on 1 Sim instead of a household of Sims. If you choose to focus on an entire household of 8 Sims, only one Sim may achieve all the aspiration goals/career goals/whims/holiday goals/event goals but the other Sims may remain unfulfilled. Also, The Sims 3 wants are highly progressive, getting harder as you fulfill them, and The Sims 2 wants and fears are actually related to the Sim's stats. In The Sims 4, all Sims will get pretty much the same buy whims, and the skill-related wants aren't really progressive. So, the gameplay will feel the same, and the only thing that actually changes would be the Sim's aspiration goals, career goals, and event/season goals. Aside from those things, the Sims themselves feel the same. So, the game becomes more of a "how the player can progress along this career or this aspiration" or "how the player goes through life". A highly player-driven playstyle instead of a Sim-driven playstyle. I think The Sims 4 would be ideal for someone who wants to recreate his or her SimSelf accurately in CAS, build a cute house, and live in it and go through life. Only 1 Sim is the star of the show at one time, while the other Sims are background actors.

To sum up, The Sims 1 and The Sims 2 would be experimental life simulation games. Do this, and this will happen. Do that, and that will happen. Realize a fear, and see that Sim fall into aspiration failure and meet the therapist.
The Sims 3 would be a goal-oriented RPG life simulation game.
The Sims 4 would be a one-Sim RPG life simulation game. The game seems to be made for one-Sim playstyles, in which the player only controls one Sim at a time.

Comments

  • CinebarCinebar Posts: 33,236 Member
    I think you nailed it and or at least that is how see these games, too. It's why I prefer The Sims and The Sims 2 all these years. There were things I like about TS3 and TS4 however, I'm not a fan of buff driven gameplay or player achievement gameplay. And I remain a rotational, eight Sims or just a few less sometimes, player, which I found difficult to manage in TS3 and TS4. And rather boring in some cases when I played only one since my goals were never to fill Maxis' goals they laid out for me.
    "Games Are Not The Place To Tell Stories, Games Are Meant To Let People Tell Their Own Stories"...Will Wright.

    https://forums.thesims.com/en_US/discussion/958714/cinebar-custom-content-clothes-updating-links/p1


  • waterywatermelonwaterywatermelon Posts: 434 Member
    @Cinebar Personally, I actually like the Sims 3 style of play and build tools. The fact that I can redesign objects and clothes and hair pieces anyway I want in-game is awesome. If I want a new outfit in TS2, then I might have to open up Bodyshop and customize my own outfit, and it would be time-consuming process because most of the time I would have to make the edges seamless. Though, I would mention that a minor pet peeve of mine in TS3 would be the fact that the wood grain texture of Tudor-style walls would run in an unrealistic direction. I wish Maxis had known this in TS3 heyday and had redesigned the Tudor-style wall textures better, but nope, they never did. I also like the gameplay aspect and how the game will just throw in wishes and opportunities at the player. For this reason, I treat The Sims 3 as a real game, because a real game has goals. Meanwhile, I would regard The Sims 2 more as a toy than a game. There are no goals or objectives, but there are tons of photo albums and writing spaces that can really aid in-game storytelling.

    I also like The Sims 4 to some extent. I don't treat the whims the same way I treat Sims 3 wishes or Sims 2 wants, but rather, I see them as point-earners. The more I fulfill them, the more points I get. I also see aspiration goals, career goals, event/seasonal goals all as point-earners for expensive rewards. I also play through the careers and aspirations and the seasonal holidays and special events just for novelty's sake, but in terms of replay value, I don't see much of it.

    As for The Sims 1, I hardly play that. I just can't get into TS1 playstyle. No aging, no generational gameplay, no genetics, no aspirations, no wants and fears. Plus, I can just get a lot of TS1-like playstyle in TS2 anyway. They are very similar games, but TS2 is still better in almost every way because of the aforementioned.
  • texxx78texxx78 Posts: 5,627 Member
    edited October 2021
    TS1 was my first game. I started playing when it went out and i loved it back then. I'ld play it more like a game. My play sessions would be of 3 afternoons max :lol: Trying to do fun things and keep my sims alive was a challenge. I loved it because of it being a challenge, a game... Now, i love generational play, so sims not aging is one of the reasons i wouldn't consider playing it again...

    TS2 i can't say anything. I haven't played much because of rl... but i hear it has a great personality system. I do remember the wants and fears. I wish they would bring back the fears and the aspiration failures.

    TS3 is my favourite. It is a game with hard (and not so hard) goals while the simulation is still there too. It may be a downgrade from 2 personality wise (people say that a lot and i believe) but you can still see how traits influence sim's personalities, how there are consequences for the sims actions and how relationships develop in a meaningfull way.

    TS4 is the worst for my play style. I have tried to like it, oh god i have tried a lot. I love this franchise that much :lol: but i can't. To play 4 i was always with my smartphone at my side, rolling situations to do with my sims. But then, after achieving those self-imposed goals, it was like everything reverted to an initial stage. It's like there are no identity acomplishments, sims don't "learn" or "grow" with life. If i try to complete a self-imposed achievement with a sim right in the beginning of their life, the results will be similar to doing it with a completelly different sim (in what concerns to traits) with different previous experiences in life. For me, that gets boring after a small while...
  • simgirl1010simgirl1010 Posts: 23,812 Member
    I feel incredibly fortunate to have enjoyed each iteration in the Sims franchise. The only reason I'm not currently playing 2 and 3 is that it gets somewhat confusing in terms of features and gameplay and controls. Once the Sims 4 comes to an end I might try to set up some type of rotational system so I can play 2, 3, and 4.
    Do more of what makes you happy. 🌞
  • SimSpockSimSpock Posts: 193 Member
    I'm not sure how to characterize TS4, but I think that your comments on TS1, 2, 3 are spot on.

    I remember TS1 fondly because I started with the base game as soon as it came out. I don't even remember thinking of it as a base game. It was just the game, complete and done. Then when we started getting expansion packs, that added to the greatness.

    TS2 took the great stuff from TS1 and made it better. By the time it came out, I guess we were all expecting expansion packs, so that altered the perspective a bit. But as you say, it was very much a life simulator, or at least a good attempt at one. If I had started with TS2, then my memory of TS1 probably wouldn't be quite as positive. It would have seemed like a step back (which it was, because TS2 was a step forward).

    I think you completely nailed TS3. It's why TS3 is my favorite game in the series, but I think TS2 is the best game in the series.
  • EricasFreePlayEricasFreePlay Posts: 671 Member
    I have played all 4 games in this series.

    Sims 1 was difficult due to trying to keep their needs up while working, earning skill points and making friends. I had the whole collection but do not remember using many of the features of the expansion packs.

    Sims 2 is still my favorite to this day. The expansion of the gameplay and everything that was added to this version of the game makes it my favorite even after 17 years. I have the Ultimate Collection now and play it as much as I can (I have over 3,600 hours on my Origin account for it lol).

    Sims 3 was a step up but I didn't get too much into it the first time I tried it. I have all the expansion packs for it but somehow have lost some of the Stuff Packs.

    Sims 4 gameplay for me is a total disaster. I just can't get into it like I did with the first 3. I can spend hours creating a Sim in CAS but that's all I do when it comes to this game.

  • CinebarCinebar Posts: 33,236 Member
    edited October 2021
    @Cinebar Personally, I actually like the Sims 3 style of play and build tools. The fact that I can redesign objects and clothes and hair pieces anyway I want in-game is awesome. If I want a new outfit in TS2, then I might have to open up Bodyshop and customize my own outfit, and it would be time-consuming process because most of the time I would have to make the edges seamless. Though, I would mention that a minor pet peeve of mine in TS3 would be the fact that the wood grain texture of Tudor-style walls would run in an unrealistic direction. I wish Maxis had known this in TS3 heyday and had redesigned the Tudor-style wall textures better, but nope, they never did. I also like the gameplay aspect and how the game will just throw in wishes and opportunities at the player. For this reason, I treat The Sims 3 as a real game, because a real game has goals. Meanwhile, I would regard The Sims 2 more as a toy than a game. There are no goals or objectives, but there are tons of photo albums and writing spaces that can really aid in-game storytelling.

    I also like The Sims 4 to some extent. I don't treat the whims the same way I treat Sims 3 wishes or Sims 2 wants, but rather, I see them as point-earners. The more I fulfill them, the more points I get. I also see aspiration goals, career goals, event/seasonal goals all as point-earners for expensive rewards. I also play through the careers and aspirations and the seasonal holidays and special events just for novelty's sake, but in terms of replay value, I don't see much of it.

    As for The Sims 1, I hardly play that. I just can't get into TS1 playstyle. No aging, no generational gameplay, no genetics, no aspirations, no wants and fears. Plus, I can just get a lot of TS1-like playstyle in TS2 anyway. They are very similar games, but TS2 is still better in almost every way because of the aforementioned.

    I said there were things about TS3 and TS4 I liked, loved CASt. but that isn't gameplay to me. I started with The Sims with the original game, so yeah, I might be a bit biased against RPG type gameplay and buffs and moodlet systems. I agree TS2 improved so much I mean we couldn't even build a deck or porch in The Sims, so yes, these games have come a long way. But I feel in some ways we lose a lot of flavor when they decided to gain/broadened to get every type of player out there and incorporated the type of players who love rpg -goal gaining, win or lose type gamers, and those type of players who couldn't understand (and said so) what is the game about if there are no set out, laid down plans to win or lose, and or no rewards to gain. That's where Humble took the game into the realm of those gamers who decidedly won out in the end, and the games are now more about levels, and buffs, and goals, than ever before.
    "Games Are Not The Place To Tell Stories, Games Are Meant To Let People Tell Their Own Stories"...Will Wright.

    https://forums.thesims.com/en_US/discussion/958714/cinebar-custom-content-clothes-updating-links/p1


  • OldeseadoggeOldeseadogge Posts: 3,571 Member
    Have been simming since Sims 1, day 1. Took full advantage of everything that game offered, from base through all the packs and whatever else was out there that fit my play style. I loved the creativity, open-endedness, and ability to tell stories via the album. TS2 took all that and made it astoundingly better in every way. I still play it to the max how I did TS1 and consider it both my favorite and the best version of the series. Didn't get much into TS3 because the story telling capability was gone, but do agree there's a lot of great stuff in there. TS4 is... well... better than nothing. Stunningly beautiful, but the sims are hollow and the play shallow. The best/most fun parts for me are CAS and building, which is fine, but those should simply be the stage setting and character-making in preparation for the main event. Problem is, there's no main event, and no way to tell its story even if there was.
  • EgonVMEgonVM Posts: 3,626 Member
    edited October 2021
    Yes, indeed. I agree. Each game adds something new and removes something that was in the previous game.

    Here are some examples that were removed:
    The Sims 2 doesn't have budget screen, house rating, taxi fees, residential lot descriptions, and babycare by children, The Sims 1 had these.
    The Sims 3 doesn't have fears, aspiration bar, comfort and environment needs (replaced with moodlets) etc, which The Sims 2 had.
    The Sims 4 doesn't have TS3-style open worlds, create a style, opportunities, mood bars, sim bios etc, which The Sims 3 had.

    Here are some examples that were added:
    The Sims 2 added the aging system, wants and fears, aspirations, weekdays, rewards from careers and aspirations etc.
    The Sims 3 added open worlds, opportunities, moodlets, personality traits, revamped skill and career system etc.
    The Sims 4 added emotions, multi-tasking, and many more different systems through add-ons.

    Thus each game has its own unique challenges.

    For example, the needs system has gone more lenient to players over games. So The Sims 1 has the hardest needs system, requiring you to keep a strict routine. If you deviate from the routine, you are going to have unhappy sims and too many needs low at once. The time isn't on your side. It goes fast and there are no weekdays, thus your sim has to go to work/school every single day. If your sim goes to work unhappy, it is more difficult to get promoted and your sim may even get demoted (never fired though).

    The Sims 2 adds a time limit with its aging system. One day your sim grows old and one day your sim dies. Thus you not only have to keep a less strict routine, you also have to plan how your sim's life is going to go and what the main goal to them is. Aspirations help to guide the players towards that goal and rewards players with things that help your sims out.

    The Sims 3 adds open worlds, which means that it actually takes time to get from point A to B. As some opportunities can be only done on certain times, you have to take that in mind. And these have time limits. And moodlet system adds another challenge. Unhappy sims perform poorly while very happy sim slowly gain more lifetime happiness points. The trait system is made so that sims start their life out with 2 traits and gain traits as they age up. What traits they gain depend on their toddler skills/school grades. When everything is good, you get to choose a trait. When everything is bad, your sim gets a negative trait. Each trait adds more benefits and disadvantages.

    The Sims 4 still does have some challenges. For example, positive emotions adds some benefits, but negative emotions adds some disadvantages like disabling some interactions and increasing the chance of failure.

    Well, that is something I wanted to add. Might sound like rambling... But still, the main post stays the most important things here...
    You can never discover The Sims games 100%. Even when you think you know everything, the game manages to surprise you.
    That's why I do experiments in the game from time to time and tutorial videos on YouTube.
  • SallycutecatSallycutecat Posts: 219 Member
    I've played all 4 games and here are my thoughts on them:

    Sims 1: It's quite basic, but that is to be expected for the 1st game in the series. I had fun with it at the time and even returned to it for some time after playing Sims 2. The needs were somewhat difficult to manage, but there was still fun things in the game.

    Sims 2: I liked the new lifestages and the aging. This one does have the best interaction animations between Sims. The game is more driven by the wants and fears the Sim rolls and more about keeping on top of the aspiration meter than anything else. The need decay was just as fast as Sims 1, but on top of that we had to keep up the aspiration meter, which gradually dropped. The focus on the aspiration meter took away from being able to just have fun and do my own thing. I ended up returning to Sims 1 for gameplay and built on Sims 2. Being able to place lots anywhere, even on steep slopes, and the terrain tools made it fun to build some interesting houses.

    Sims 3: Being able to visit other Sims in their homes made the series a whole lot better. The open world was the big focus of the game, but that meant they could take a while for them to get somewhere and you have to wait and watch while they walk, or drive to the other side of town. Not only was the game very glitchy, but I also got bored when playing it. There wasn't really a lot to do and the game felt repetitive.

    Sims 4: My favourite game in the franchise. The game is more about the player, giving the player choices and allowing the player to have control. The pop ups that allow the player to choose what happens and the risk to everything being ruined by 1 bad choice is removed. The need decay has been reduced to allow more time for the fun stuff. Challenges are optional and the rewards systems in this game run like: complete the task/challenge and get a reward, choose not to bother with task/challenge there's no penalty for choosing to do your own thing instead. But overall It's the player engagement that makes the game so fun.
  • ncisGibbs02ncisGibbs02 Posts: 1,384 Member
    edited December 2021
    Cinebar wrote: »
    I said there were things about TS3 and TS4 I liked, loved CASt. but that isn't gameplay to me. I started with The Sims with the original game, so yeah, I might be a bit biased against RPG type gameplay and buffs and moodlet systems. I agree TS2 improved so much I mean we couldn't even build a deck or porch in The Sims, so yes, these games have come a long way. But I feel in some ways we lose a lot of flavor when they decided to gain/broadened to get every type of player out there and incorporated the type of players who love rpg -goal gaining, win or lose type gamers, and those type of players who couldn't understand (and said so) what is the game about if there are no set out, laid down plans to win or lose, and or no rewards to gain. That's where Humble took the game into the realm of those gamers who decidedly won out in the end, and the games are now more about levels, and buffs, and goals, than ever before.

    Recently playing Sims 2 Pleasantview and this is what I noticed:

    I have less control in Sims 2. Getting my Sims to do what I want was like herding cats!
    Dina Caliente wouldn’t flirt with Daniel Pleasant. Don Lothario didn’t clean up and it was death by flies, Darren Dreamer wouldn’t stay at the easel and so couldn’t make enough money to pay his bills so the repo man came!
    Nina Caliente died when cloud watching when a satellite fell on her. This interrupted my plan for her.
    I managed to move in Kaylynn the maid but she and Bella Goth just didn’t like each other from the get go. Bella now comes on the lot steals Kaylynn’s newspaper or kicks her bin over!

    I was so engrossed with the going’s on I forgot to build any new lots.

    Sims 4 is more under player control and for me, it’s rare the unexpected happens.

    Trying to build Falcon Crest estate 🏡🎉🦅
  • SimmervilleSimmerville Posts: 9,753 Member
    I played all 4 series, growing with the game as they were released. TS1 got me totally hooked, just like the others, but then I already back then created my own universe aside of the game itself, with tons more info mostly gathered on a website. Back in the TS1 days I ran an organization where other simmers' games were members, and our celebrities even toured in other simmers' worlds. There was also the Food Festival that my beloved Joanna Grumblin initiated :)

    I think with all my extras I would not even notice if the game itself was lacking, LOL.

    Anyway, looking back and trying to play the TS1 now gives me little more than nostalgia. I love-love-love the sound design ad the music of TS1, when thinking of it the first thing coming to mind is the sound from the TV and the build music, LOL. Also the soundtrack from the magic pack was brilliant, I can still listen to it with awe :)

    TS2, TS3 and now TS4 I played until the game/computer could not handle anymore. I always had one save throughout the entire series, meaning the lagging was unavoidable.

    I generally think all 4 of the series were great fun, adding a little in their own way. The transmission from TS1 to TS2 was the greatest due to the new dimension added. Technically it was like landing n the Moon. I don't think it is possible to repeat such a huge step.
    Simmerville on Youtube | My blog is updated weekly: Simmerville's Sims
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