DarkSpawn Social Media Manager, Content Creator & EAGamechanger
It’s generally acknowledged that retro games are from the 1970s and 80s. There’s been a recent resurgence of games produced in the 90s (Spyro the Dragon, Resident Evil), but these are not the majority. For many, retro status is reflected by a cult-like following or a newly remastered edition. If this is the case, where do games like The Sims, and The Sims 2 fit in? It’s no secret that recently, The Sims 2 has been getting a whole lotta love on Social Media. Facebook and Twitter users have been redownloading the 2004 title and explaining why it’s an amazing game.
15 years is a long time in the gaming industry. As well as advances in development, gamers update their graphics cards and PC setups on average every 2-3 years. When the industry moves this quickly, it’s natural for some games to become outdated over the course of a decade. When The Sims 3 was released in 2009, The Sims 2 already felt a little bit past it’s prime to many fans. But, what made the game so exciting upon release has never really changed over time. So – where does this fit into the retro gaming ‘scene’? For anyone raised in the 90s and early 2000s, like me, the earliest games most of us remember were console titles, but The Sims was the perfect toe-dip into PC games.
There was something strangely therapeutic about being able to remove a pool ladder and watch your Sims drown. Don’t lie. You did it too. But whether you enjoyed killing Sims, raising babies, or just taking your Sims on hot dates – the game quickly gained a cult following known as “Simmers”. By the time 2004 rolled around, Simmers across the world were ready for something new and exciting. None of us really knew where the game could go from its fairly humble roots. And then – the trailer dropped, and we all just about lost our minds. The trailer was a glimpse into an expanded, more detailed, world of Sims that would allow players to explore even more of “life”. Additional life stages were added; Toddlers, Teens, Young Adults) and with that came additional interactions and objects to play with. No more 2D graphics and much more control over the camera meant more immersive gameplay too.
The Sims 2 was the first game in the franchise to introduce brand collaboration packs. Ikea, Diesel, and H&M all worked with Maxis/EA to produce the original “Stuff Packs”. These packs were much cheaper than the usual Expansions and added around 50-70 new items to your game. It also pioneered several of the most popular Expansion ideas such as University and Seasons. These were two of the most requested expansions for The Sims 3 and 4, along with Pets and Supernatural style packs. One of the most important additions to The Sims 2, was the mystery around the disappearance of Bella Goth. This much-loved Sims ‘easter egg’ was introduced when Strangetown was included as one of the worlds in The Sims 2. This idea would later be revisited with the introduction of the StrangerVille pack for The Sims 4, and the nostalgia was not lost on Simmers across the world.
Just a Passing Trend?
So, cut to 2019, and you might be surprised to find that lots of Simmers and gamers are turning back to The Sims 2. The Sims 4 was released in 2014, and after 5 years of development, lots of fans are expressing disappointment in the lack of additions like University and Witches. There is also a huge movement of Simmers who want cars, open world, and more optimised Sim babies. So why not The Sims 3? If you ever played The Sims 3, you might remember just how difficult the game was to run on your standard gaming PC. Not much has changed! The game is still incredibly laggy, and if using mods or custom content the problem is only worse. The Sims 2, in contrast, runs smoother and takes less of a toll on most laptops and PCs.
Another reason might be the recurring trend for playing games that we knew and loved as children. With the majority of Simmers being aged between 18 and 35 (according to a poll of over 2000 people) The Sims 2 is ideally placed in time for nostalgia and playability. Older Simmers will remember The Sims 2, will find it nostalgic and a reminder of simpler times. Those at the younger end will fondly remember how much fun it is to have 100 babies with an Alien. Plus there is nothing better than introducing a young person in your life to the joy of The Sims franchise, and The Sims 2 is entirely unproblematic for younger children to play. So whether it’s down to the apparent dissatisfaction with the current Sims 4 development process, or love of nostalgia, The Sims 2 seems to be making a serious comeback.