When it comes to life simulation games, there are few franchises as prominent and well known as The Sims. EA’s beloved series of sandbox games started with The Sims 1, one of many simulation games developed by Maxis. Over the years, however, its popularity has let it stand on its own. The Sims is now a massive franchise with its own spinoffs and sub-series. The most recent entry, The Sims 4, is still going strong. Since its launch in 2014, The Sims 4 has been flooded with DLC. These days, a “complete” copy of the game would cost close to a thousand dollars. The most recent DLC launched just a few months ago, introducing horses to the game.
As beloved as The Sims 4 is, though, its roots run deep. The very first Sims game, launched in 2000, was a massive success in its own right. Dedicated Sims fans who got into the series through later entries might wonder about the game that started it all. But technology has changed a lot since 2000. Video games and the consoles that run them are much different than they were back then. To that end, it’s worth asking if you can even play The Sims 1 these days, and if so, how.
Why Revisit The Sims 1?
A lot of video game franchises with multiple entries follow a single developing storyline. This prompts fans to go back to the very beginning in order to pursue the story in order. The Sims, of course, is a different type of series. Each game is a sandbox with no real narrative beyond whatever you invent for yourself while you’re playing. Your Sims can pursue careers, start families, and thanks to expansions, even go on magical adventures with supernatural creatures.
While you won’t miss out on any important story content by skipping straight to the newest Sims game, the original is still worth revisiting for a number of reasons. For one thing, The Sims 1 was responsible for originating most of the hallmarks of the franchise. This particularly includes the core gameplay concept of managing a partially autonomous, customizable Sim. Building a house is also introduced here, though it’s a lot more restricted than in later entries. Curious fans might enjoy the opportunity to directly compare and contrast the games themselves. And of course, if you’re a fan who’s been with the series since the original game, you might want the chance to dive back into The Sims for nostalgia’s sake. Either way, unfortunately, picking the original title back up will be easier said than done.
Playing the Game Today
The Sims 1 was only ever released physically; the concept of games being distributed online didn’t become mainstream until well after it launched. As such, it’s unfortunately impossible to acquire the classic game on digital storefronts like Steam or the Epic Games Store. Officially, the only way to play the game now is to somehow obtain a physical copy. Even this is more difficult than it sounds, however. Since technology has changed so much, an original PC copy of The Sims 1 is bound to encounter difficulties running on modern hardware. Luckily, there are fixes available; running the game in compatibility mode helps, and there are dedicated modders who’ve released patches to help the game run as smoothly as possible.
Of course, if you can’t get a hold of a physical copy of The Sims 1, there are other options. Some fans have made unofficial versions of the game that you can download online if you’re struggling to track down a disc. You should exercise caution with these versions, however. Like so many other unofficial game codes, these versions are not without considerable risk. Downloading codes from sources you don’t trust can leave your PC vulnerable to viruses and hackers, so if you’re really determined to give the original Sims a try, make sure you do your research before picking it up.
The Future of the Sims
Meanwhile, if all you’re looking for is a version of The Sims you haven’t experienced before, you might not have long to wait. EA recently announced the next entry in the Sims franchise, codenamed Project Rene. This new game is still in very early stages, and at the time of this writing no release date has been announced. The title boasts new features like a dedicated workshop for building new items, and it has also promised an online multiplayer component. If you’re looking for a new Sims experience and you’re not willing or able to get your hands on The Sims 1, it might be worth keeping an eye on Project Rene.