Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.

Transcript:

Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day!

Times can be tough and sometimes, we just need that perfect escapism game. A game that lets us relax, turn our brains off just enough, and just veg for hours on end. Everyone who’s played video games for a while has their list of games that do this for them. Skyrim and Stardew Valley are near the top of my list. One relaxing game that I frequently hear people cite though time and time again is the subject of today’s episode. Today’s game is The Sims, developed by Maxis and released on PCs in 2000.

By now, I’d be surprised if everyone doesn’t at least have the basic concept of The Sims down. You control a family of Sims and simulate out their lives. Everything from building their house to determining their jobs, hobbies, friends, everything is under your control. The game was a massive success and by 2002, it beat out Myst to become the best selling game in history. While it’s since lost that record today, it did hold it for several years and has spawned a successful series that is continuing with The Sims 4 to this day.

Most folks know about that part so let’s take a bit of time to talk about the background of The Sims. The game was led by Will Wright along with his company Maxis, the company founded by Wright and his business partner James Braun, in order to publish SimCity. Check out my episode from May 2nd, 2019 on SimCity over on videogameoftheday.com to hear more about that. After SimCity’s release though, Sim games exploded in popularity. Everything from SimEarth, to SimAnt to SimCopter was the brainchild of Wright’s design philosophy to simulate interesting and fun scenarios.

You’d think that Wright’s inspiration for The Sims came from wanting to simulate on a more relatable scale but this actually wasn’t the case. In fact, The Sims started as a game strictly about architecture. Wright lost his home to the Oakland firestorm of 1991 and was inspired to make The Sims after the experience of rebuilding their lives. The home building elements of The Sims was the original concept for the game but having people explore and live in the house was always going to be a central aspect. It was while programming the behavioral AI for the people that the team discovered they had even more fun watching the people than building the homes. This evolved into creating social scenarios for the Sims and eventually into the game we know today. 

Like most of Wright’s ideas, The Sims was originally scoffed at as being an interactive dollhouse. Jeff Braun said that the board of directors at Maxis actually stated that this would be a game for little girls and girls don’t play video games. However, EA stepped in to fund the project based on Wright’s previous work on SimCity. When The Sims launched, it was hugely popular with most demographics but especially female gamers. Of the more than 11 million copies sold, approximately 60% of those sales were by female gamers, a fact that Wright is proud of to this day.

Thank you so much for listening! I have more great news for you all! The TGO Podcast will be coming back starting this Tuesday, the 23rd. Adrian and I will be streaming live on his Twitch channel at twitch.tv/gaming_observer noon pacific/ 3 PM eastern. Like before, if you don’t catch us live, the podcast will still be available on all podcasting apps as well as on The Gaming Observer Youtube channel. We have a ton of gaming to talk about so check that out! Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.