The Sims has always been a popular game among players, no matter the iteration we’re talking about. With four main title games, the franchise’s enduring history is still going strong today. This can be seen in the consistent additions made through DLC — such as the most recent My Wedding Stories game pack, which adds in all-new wedding-related content — and a thriving international community that has been growing since its first title was released in 2000.
The Sims community can be found in a number of different places including on EA’s official Sims forums, social media, and even on different sites that center around sharing player-made custom content (CC) like The Sims Resource, a popular CC website that currently hosts over one million uploaded creations. But there is one space within The Sims community that has stood out for plenty of Sims players: Content creators on YouTube.
YouTubers that are making Sims-centered videos are certainly leaving their mark within the community by sharing their own unique experiences from the series — be that through their own individual games that they decide to share or just by engaging with the Sims community through their channel.
With the large Sims community to be found on YouTube, I spoke with two content creators that shared what it is about The Sims that has kept them so enthralled over the years. Creators are still in love with the series all these years later because it’s a game that offers them total freedom in how they play and the stories that they tell.
The enduring appeal of The Sims
With a series that has a 20+ year history, each player is undoubtedly going to find different elements of the game appealing. Add in the unique factor of being a content creator and the appeal of The Sims may vary both as a player and YouTuber. So, what exactly stands as the appeal to Sims content creators?
In speaking with Mollie Faux-Wilkins (also known as TheEnglishSimmer), a YouTuber who has been making Sims related videos for over eight years, and Malixa, a content creator who initially joined YouTube in 2018, I was able to learn more about what appealed most to them as both players and creators.
“As a kid, I absolutely loved writing and drawing my own stories with my own characters so when I found The Sims, I felt like I could make my own virtual characters and tell stories,” Faux-Wilkins tells Digital Trends. “I’d never played a video game where I could make up my own stories instead of only playing somebody else’s. I’ve managed to build a platform on YouTube and Twitch where I get to create characters, tell stories, and actually have people consume that content and relate to those characters.”
Malixa, who both shares videos on her YouTube channel and streams on Twitch regularly, has been playing since The Sims 2 era and would regularly watch other players share their own Sims creations online.
“Once I was able to get a good computer, I was finally able to make content for my favorite game,” Malixa says. “I think for me, it’s so fun being able to create stories using The Sims and to see it all play out in front of you. And I wanted to share the stories I created with my Sims to an audience and found my way here [to YouTube].”
A shared love of storytelling in The Sims is a primary appeal for both content creators that has lasted through the years – something that plenty of Sims players can undoubtedly relate to as well. And with the new official and fan-made content being released regularly, as well as gameplay mechanics that further foster the freedom in story potential that both Faux-Wilkins and Malixa love, there seems to be no shortage of factors about The Sims that keeps both creators’ interest piqued.
“I’d never played a video game where I could make up my own stories instead of only playing somebody else’s.”
Something that has Faux-Wilkins coming back is the fact that The Sims has four main titles in the franchise. She is able to revisit the first three games every so often as she chooses, but she also notes another feature that she appreciates in keeping the game fresh.
“I think what really helps The Sims is the fact you can always start a new game without losing progress to your others,” Faux-Wilkins says. “If I randomly stumble across a new community-made challenge or think of a new character, I know I can start working on it in The Sims straight away and if I ever feel like I’m bored with a certain save, I can switch up how I play in the next.”
The Sims regularly receives changes in the form of expansion and game packs and free updates to the base game that further add to the customization options available to players. Free updates often include additional clothing and furniture items, but they also have included more extensive updates such as adding in the ability to customize Sims without any gender constraints and a forthcoming update that will allow players to customize their Sims’ pronouns.
With such a massive emphasis on customization, both from official packs and from player-made custom content, it wasn’t surprising that both Faux-Wilkins and Malixa had plenty to say on their own favorite additions to the game.
Malixa’s favorite updates had to do with changes that made creating a broad variety of Sims even easier — such as the pronouns update and a 2020 update that added in 100+ skin tone options for players to the base game.
“I’m super excited for the pronouns update as I feel like more people will be able to finally represent themselves without having to use mods or CC,” Malixa says. “I know for me, I get super excited whenever I see someone that looks like me or whenever my culture is represented in any form of media. It makes me proud to be who I am and seeing that be represented in my favorite game is everything.”
Base game updates bring plenty of new options to the table for players and content creators alike that are interested in telling a broad range of stories through their own games. The same can also be said for game packs and larger expansions as well.
“When a new pack comes out, it allows me to create new series that focus on the new content whilst trying to find ways to incorporate entertaining and relatable stories which is a challenge that I love as a creator,” Faux-Wilkins says. “I always feel like the community has such a buzz around new content because it’s so fun to see how everyone interprets it differently and makes it their own. I think those are the times I probably feel most inspired as a creator.”
As with any video game, community can also have an impact on how players experience a game. And The Sims community is no different. It serves as an important part of the game experience for Faux-Wilkins and Malixa as creators who are continually sharing their unique Sims stories with others.
“When I found Sims content online, which is what inspired me to start my own YouTube channel, I didn’t even realize that there was an active community for The Sims!” Faux-Wilkins says. “But there are Sims players dotted all over the world and I’m so lucky to call so many of them my friends. I’ve managed to find so many like-minded people who don’t mind me chatting about all my thoughts about video games and I think that’s really special to finally feel like you’ve found your people.”
“I even met my closest friends through the Sims community, and I’m so grateful for that.”
There’s a sense of shared passion for storytelling within the community which can be seen through players like Faux-Wilkins and Malixa deciding to share their ideas and characters with others through their videos. As opposed to what is a solo game, The Sims suddenly becomes somewhat of a shared experience.
“I love sharing what happens in my games, and I love seeing what other people create from their games. I love the community because sometimes playing the game by yourself can get lonely,” Malixa says. “So with the community there, it feels like I’m sharing my love for the game with a group of friends. I even met my closest friends through the Sims community, and I’m so grateful for that.”
The Sims has a great deal of freedom to offer to players with a community that is in full support — both in the creators who dedicate time to sharing their games and to their fellow fans who are watching. For these two content creators, the total creative control that The Sims affords them is a unique way for them to create stories and characters that they would like to see on a true canvas of their own making.
Interview responses have been lightly edited for clarity.