Rules For the Ranking
Okay, so we’re going to set some ground rules because things might get complicated. This is a ranking for all of The Sims games, without their expansions. Additionally, console versions that had the same titles as their original counterparts are not treated as separate entities. And, finally, MySims for Wii/DS and the Stories games released for PC are put together under two categories.
That leaves us with 12 games that fuel our god complexes for hours upon hours. Let’s get started, from worst to best. Note that these games are all pretty great in their own right, so just because a game is last doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad! Okay, niceness over, let’s get started.
12) The Sims Social
Let’s get real, this is hardly The Sims. It’s an obvious cash grab from the days when Facebook games like Farmville ruled the scene and made their developers tons and tons of money. You had set amount of energy to do anything, and there were microtransactions galore in order to get more of it. This ensured you were pretty much only playing 30 minutes at a time. No fan would be content with such little play time in a session, okay? Sure, it was something to tide you over if you were bored at work or school, but it wasn’t a full-fledged experience.
MySims was the Wii owner’s solution to never having The Sims on consoles. However, it was entirely different than what fans of the series would be used to. The majority of your time will be spent building random stuff for people around the town in an effort to befriend them. Like as though you were their personal construction monkey. Meeting and befriending others is a big part of the game, but sadly the rest of what makes the series so great is left out.
10) The Urbz: Sims in the City
Okay, it was a stupid title, but The Urbz: Sims in the City wasn’t so bad. It was a console version of the sims and introduced a lot of partying and hip-ness. Not only that, but it was available on the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. Portable fun for The Sims during this time period was a big deal. Look, I’m not denying that it was stupid. Like, do you remember that Will.I.Am was in the game? But it was a story mode that kept you entertained with its wackiness and was one of the early attempts at making players follow tasks and objectives. Props for all of the city life that would no doubt influence later expansions for the series.
9) The Sims Medieval
The Sims Medieval tried something new, being a standalone Sims game set entirely in a medieval setting. You’re a queen/king and it’s time for you to set off on quests and raise your kingdom’s glory. The game may have gotten boring once you had finished all there was to do, and it may have been one of the lesser titles that followed a story-based structure, but it definitely deserves points for being a fun endeavor. The aspects that made the game less God-like and more Ruler-like breathed a fresh new take on a series that kept the same formula for quite sometime before Medieval rolled around.
8) The Sims Stories
This includes The Sims Life Stories, The Sims Castaway Stories, and The Sims Pet Stories. These games were not only great for their laptop optimization, which made the games less of a pain to play there, but they also included great stories. In their own right, the stories were well-written, fun, quirky, and entertaining – what you would expect from the team that made the game. On top of that, following goals gave a new way to play the games, and while the main attraction of The Sims is the sandbox, it’s nice to be told what to do for a bit.
7) The Sims 4
The Sims 4 may be the worst one in the main, numbered line so far, but it’s still a great game by itself. Polished, no slow downs, beautiful graphics, advanced AI – this game really has moved the series forward in a lot of ways. Unfortunately, it also took away too many features that had been around for a while now. Additionally, it’s becoming increasingly inexcusable for the expansion packs to be such obvious cash grabs. As a whole, though, it’s a very well-made game and you’ll still find yourself playing it for hours upon hours.
6) The Sims Freeplay
The Sims Freeplay is basically what drags The Sims Social through the dirt. Here’s a game that does have microtransactions, but is so fun on its own that it’s okay. Taking the usual formula and executing it in a great mobile game is hard. EA managed to do this with Freeplay, and can we get some snaps for this company for producing some great mobile games? Like, just as an aside, they’re obviously money hungry with all the mobile but look, the games are great if you play them. The Sims Freeplay has you making a sim avatar and more if you want to. You can control a whole family, go nuts. You’ll be doing everything you usually do in the games, except on your phone and with friends!
5) The Sims Bustin’ Out
The Sims Bustin’ Out was the second game on consoles and the first one to put some shackles on players. While this may seem like a bad thing, following a storyline within The Sims proved to be incredibly fun thanks to Bustin’ Out. You started from the bottom and worked your way up the ladder to move to bigger and bigger houses. You had to take into account how far your commute would be. You could go over to friends’ houses and party it up. All the while, you had a story and missions and set objectives you needed to accomplish with your sim as they progressed through the game. It was a whole new experience that let EA know we’re okay with being told what to do, so long as it’s fun.
4) The Sims Online
What a breakthrough The Sims Online was. For the first time ever, you could play with your sim online. Look, it wasn’t very robust. Yes, it was basically like Second Life or PlayStation Home back in the day. But it was awesome. You could meet so many fellow Sim lovers. You knew they were fans because no one else would pay the monthly fee. You had a sim avatar and a home that you could fix up, and you could even room with your friends in that virtual world. It was very ahead of its time, and it’s about time we appreciate it for all that it managed to do.
3) The Sims
The game that started it all. The Sims was a ridiculous concept on paper. Play God as you watch AI live their lives. But when it gets down to it, this game is so much more than that. It’s a way to tell stories you never thought of. It’s a home designer, a character creator. It’s a social experiment manifested in whatever scenario you can think of. It’s your playground as you do whatever you want with the sims at your disposal. And, of course, it’s a way to spend so much time being extremely entertained.
Playing this one now may be a bit too rough on anyone that’s followed the series, and nostalgia may be the only thing that gets you through a session, but back in the day? This game was the shit.
2) The Sims 2
The Sims 2 has to be one of the greatest sequels of all time in terms of how much it managed to improve on the original’s formula. So much of the game is entirely different from the first one and yet, there’s no denying it, this is definitely a Sims game. It introduced neighbors, going out into town, personality traits that matter, wants, goals, and even aging.
It was such an overhaul that brought forth features no one could even dream of, moving the series forward in a huge way. If we were in love with The Sims, the second became an obsession. Whereas the original is too dated by now, you can definitely still go back to The Sims 2 and play up a storm. In fact, some would say it’s basically the model for The Sims 4, except with all expansion packs released.
1) The Sims 3
The crème de la crème; The Sims 3 is definitely the stand out for the series at number one. Sure, there are technical issues galore. Thankfully, modders have helped out with the slowdowns that can happen. And that’s a good point: This game, with modding alone, is the most superior one. With that alone, folks.
But let’s get into the vanilla aspects right now. An open world, people. The Sims 3 brought us an entirely open town that you can explore. You can follow your sims to work now. You can send them to the beach and watch them frolic around. And the expansions were such great overhauls of already existing ones, tweaking them to add way more life to the series with each release.
It truly was such an incredible game, and it was all thanks to EA showing us that there was more to The Sims world than just the house your family was living in. There was a great big place to explore, so many sims to meet, and so much more going on out there. It wasn’t just an amazing game, it was an entire metaphor for life itself and the world we live in.