This might seem like a totally random post from me but I have a secret, I’m a simmer. I’ve been obsessed with the game since my best friend introduced me to it 20 years ago, every year I think I might grow out of it but no, I just heart The Sims. I don’t talk much about the game online (outside of the forums of course where my anonymity is protected by a very original username) because I have the feeling people would think it’s not something a 30-year-old woman should be doing in her spare time but a recent update has me in a chatty mood.
Way back when the Sims was in its first original (best-selling PC game of all time) form it was revolutionary, simulated life on a very basic level, conforming to all the traditional familial conventions. To explain it seems hilariously dull as you are literally controlling pretend people’s lives but over the years it evolved. By the second Sims game there were adjustments made to give the player more freedom and gender roles became very fluid, as did sexuality. Every Sim started from a neutral point and developed sexual preferences dependant on their interactions, at the time this seemed like an excellent addition to the game but in hindsight if you wanted to nit pick it might not be sending the right message. As a gamer it didn’t bother me and it allowed more freedom if you wanted to switch things up later on.. and again, it is JUST A GAME.
Fast forward to 2016 and Sims 4 has just rolled out a free update of their game enabling any sim to have any body type and wear any item of clothing, regardless of gender. It seems so simple but the more I play it and the more I see across forums the more I realise how important it is for this to have been added to this type of game. My best friend when I was 11, the one who introduced me to The Sims, was gay. I didn’t know this at the time, I’m pretty sure HE didn’t know but looking back, that original game he played showed him there was only one kind of family and only about 4 ways each gender could express themselves through what they wore. There were also a very limited number of heads to choose from but that’s another issue. Twenty years later and The Sims have all the freedoms we do and more.
I saw a post from a woman on the forum saying she couldn’t wait to play the new game pack but she’d have to wait because her son was in hospital and she had to meet his WIFE there. it’s a game people of all ages and all walks of life play, from kids to their grandparents, it’s important that they all see the possibilities beyond their own experiences and EA may be doing something bigger in making this change than they realise.