Podcasters United contributor Liv shares her memories of how The Sims shaped a lifelong love of gaming!
Gaming was introduced to me by my next door neighbor since my parents were not inherently gamers. If I were to show my parents my Nintendo Switch or laptop, they would think it’s the same thing. My dad has referred to my desktop computers with 2 screens as “The NASA Space Station”. As you can, they are not technologically savvy people. I fell in love with gaming because my friend showed me how much fun playing The Sims was. The Sims is an amazing game because of its vast creative freedom it allows. As a player, you can build and design beautiful homes. If that’s not your gig, then create the dream family you’ve always wanted! Alternatively, create an utter disaster and force your Sims to live a life of misery. The choice is yours!
The Sims Bustin’ Out fueled my love for story creation. If you’re unfamiliar with this iteration of The Sims, it’s a linear entry to the franchise where you move from house to house while rising through the ranks of your career because that’s where the bus picks you up! You start off living at home with your mother who nags you about finding a job until you are proficient enough to start your adulthood journey! In hilarious fashion, The Sims Bustin’ Out took my character on a wild ride from living at home with my mother to a Haunted Mansion. With that being said, I need to introduce you to my very first Sim, Derek Jeter.
Derek Jeter wanted to grow up to be a professional athlete! Crazy, right? The funny thing is, I’m not even a New York Yankees fan. I’m a New York Mets fan! Regardless, Derek Jeter’s rise to stardom in The Sims universe all started on my GameCube.
Derek Jeter’s career took him on quite the journey before living as a Hall of Fame legend in his retirement. In the beginning stages of his career, he lived with a party animal named Dudley, who never cleaned up after himself and always had people over every night. In all of this chaos, Derek had to sneak his way into the main bedroom as one of the rooms had a very comfortable bed while the other one always made your character have the worst night’s sleep. I would strategically have to go to bed before Dudley to sleep in the better bedroom or Derek was in a terrible mood for the next day.
After escaping this pigsty, he went on to live in a haunted mansion. Regularly, Derek Jeter was awoken in the middle of the night to a ghost playing the pipe organ. It’s a miracle this man ever got any sleep! However, he overcame these hardships and finally got to live in a beautiful mansion and happily married the love of his life, Mimi.
The night Derek Jeter retired a Hall of Famer in The Sims universe, he threw a huge party with everyone he knew! A true cast of characters arrived: his mother, his wife, and all the roommates who he butted heads with along the way. I’m sure my version of Derek Jeter’s retirement party surpassed the real life Derek Jeter’s party. Who’s to say? After being satisfied with this storyline, I decided to play another mode in Bustin’ Out.
The Sims Bustin’ Out had a mode where you can build on a lot and control multiple sims in the family. The best part of this mode was The Sims didn’t have the age up to teenager function, so they had to figure out how to handle the children. Ultimately, they take your children away! Now, let me explain. If your child maintained an A average in school, they would ship your child off to a boarding school for gifted children. If your child maintained a failing grade, the game deemed him/her a degenerate and sent him/her to military school. In both scenarios you never see your child again! The only way to keep your child from leaving the house was to be very average. Don’t get higher than a C grade and you can keep your child forever! I felt like a genius as a kid when I discovered this.
"(The Sims) will always have a special place in my heart for the stories I've created over the years."
Playing in the creative mode with an entire family is how I introduced my younger sister to gaming. The Sims is a single player game by nature, but my sister loved to watch me play, so I found a way to include her. We created storylines for each of the family members and wrote down their goals and chores in a notebook. If the children didn’t do their chores, their fun motive would suffer as they were not allowed to watch TV or play on the computer!
I love The Sims franchise because you’re in control of the storyline of each character. Some people play The Sims to build and decorate houses, but it will always have a special place in my heart for the stories I’ve created over the years. Maybe one day The Sims will bring back a game like Bustin’ Out or Urbz Sims in the City. We can always dream, right?
About the author:
Liv is the co-host of the Between 2 Gamers podcast with her friend Frewy. When she's not gaming, she's watching sports!