First released in 2000, The Sims is a series of life simulation sandbox games developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. The idea for the game came from legendary game designer Will Wright. After finding success with the SimCity, a city-building simulation video game franchise, Wright decided to turn his attention from creating virtual cities to creating virtual life. The Sims is unique from other games in that it does not require players to meet any clearly defined goals or objectives. Instead the game acts as a virtual dollhouse and players are given the tools to let their imaginations run wild.
Players start by creating a character. Virtually everything about the character can be customized, including the name, personality, skin color, hair color, hair style, and clothing. Once created, players can then monitor and tend to their Sim's basic needs-Hunger, Social, Fun, Comfort, Hygiene, Bladder, Environment and Energy-in order to keep their Sim alive and happy. Players begin the game with a budget of approximately 20,000 Simoleons, the game's fictional currency. As in real life, money is a necessary part of a Sim's life. Simoleons can be used spent on various wants and needs, such as purchasing, renovating, and decorating homes; buying food; and paying bills. Additional Simoleons can be earned by sending a Sim to work. How well a Sim does at their job depends on how well their basic needs are met. The core of the game, however, is interaction. Depending on their personalities, Sims can become enemies, meet friends, fall in love, and start families.
Since its initial release in 2000, Maxis and Electronic Arts have released several sequels to The Sims, with each one improving upon the previous to provide a richer and more realistic simulation game. Additionally, a series of expansion packs, or add-ons that provide additional content and features, have been released for each squeal. Spin off games, like The Sims Online and The Sims Medieval, added new gameplay elements to create an entirely different gaming experience.
The Sims is the second best selling PC game of all time, ranked only behind its sequel, The Sims 2. As of May 2011, The Sims franchise has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide. The game's success can be linked to the freedom it gives players to create their own stories; much in the same way traditional dollhouses have inspired people for generations.