A lesser unknown game going by the name The Urbz: Sims in the City, which was released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. The Urbz was the Sims in the heart of the clubbing world. While EA had already used the term Underground on a game like Need for Speed, The Sims reverted to with the game name The Urbz: Sims in the City, with the term Sims placed in the game name. The game has a lead character, the player creates and they go to various clubs, to earn reputations, called "Rep" and other points to attract and build an audience and make a living out of it, to complete the game. Typical late 90s, early 2000s life in the city.
The game features the band members of The Black Eyed Peas as characters in the game to help the player, which is a treat for anyone who is playing this game, to help fit in the clubbing scene. The game was maybe taking aim at getting to the crowd trending at the time. The game didn't fair well as this game didn't sold as well as EA hoped and quickly became one of those forgotten games and almost stood out for all the wrong reasons. The Urbz was a good attempt of really changing the premise of a Sims games, to give something to the trendy crowd at the time. The game also had a Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS versions of the game, which was more of an adventure game, like any other handheld versions, The Sims has.
The Sims FreePlay is a freemium game for Android, Blackberry 10 and iOS smart devices, which was released in 2011. EA and their studios have always made freemium titles however to date, FreePlay is the most active to date, despite The Sims Mobile recently being released in 2020 and has yet to have as many features built into it, yet. The Sims FreePlay is pretty much a very slim version of the Sims games, just to run on smart devices, to reach the masses, as those devices are common now a days, unlike the decade before. The game being released and maintained alongside The Sims 4, which takes advantage the internet to place microtransactions but when they build and embed a feature like pregnancy and baby showers into the game, which was requested by the player base, then it makes it interesting and maybe worth taking a look to see how big, the game as got and how it works together. It is just a lesser, free version of the main Sims games, all packed into this title and for free. Even the graphics is above average, unlike the really polished graphics found in any other Sims game. It may be online but it wasn't like The Sims Online which was released in 2002 and got shut down a year later. It is a single player experience, to experience a more lighter version of what the PC and console players, can play, if they cannot afford the main games or if anyone wants a much more accessible version of The Sims, this game delivers it.
The Sims: Life Stories was first released in 2007 for... Laptops? The Sim: Life Stories was a game aimed for players who use laptops, but then there's was why, it that was a big deal. Back then, when laptops were commonly around, they weren't gaming friendly because the gaming graphics cards for those devices weren't in par with computer PCs and were built in, making those devices difficult to render graphics. Many users at the time, started to use laptop, over a desktop PC. EA used it as an opportunity to make another Sims spin off game, which was more friendly with laptops and an added bonus that the game had chapters to the game, to get players into this version of the franchise. Life Stories was popular to have spawn spin offs of their own, such as Castaway Stories and Pets Stories. The game can still be played on a regular desktop PC, as it's just a slimmed down version of the Sims 2, in an effort to get them run on laptops, at the time. The Sims 2 is known to feature stories and goals for the series, so it is nice to see it being used and marketed heavily to get players to feel they not missing out, from an Sims experience and even get treated with an experience of their own, as laptops weren't designed to run video games, at the time.
#7: MySims (WII)
MySims was released in 2007 for the Nintendo Wii, PC and DS. MySims for the Nintendo Wii was EA's attempt on making a Sims entry for that console, considering Nintendo had created their own interactive avatar game off their Mii titled Tomodachi Life for the Nintendo 3DS. MySims was more of running a town, then a household, considering Nintendo had many games of that nature on their platform, such as Animal Crossing. The idea is having the Sims for the Nintendo Wii on their own. On a console which really attracted a lot of owners for potential players, EA and Maxis really did everything they could to making this, its own unique game. The player created a Mii-looking character, the only difference is, it looks more anime style on the character then the Nintendo's Mii. The idea of the game, is for the character, who is a mayor, to build and manage a town, too attract residents into it. The game has a mini-game where the player moves blocks to make buildings and save them, as a blueprint, giving a different building element from the placement of doors, windows and other furniture, usually found in The Sims games.
MySims had spawned five sequels of their own, all for the Nintendo Wii but have nothing to do with the life simulation nature found in the original game. These being MySims Kingdom in 2008, MySims Party in 2009, MySims Racing in 2009, MySims Agents also in 2009. MySims SkyHeroes was released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as well as for the Nintendo Wii and DS in 2010. Many of the sequels have little relation to them being a life simulator, maybe to push as many games out, to maybe make use of their MySims character creation and other tools to use and to maybe, not heavily compete to a Nintendo game like Animal Crossing and Tomodachi Life. It seems to have worked because many of the games are decent and are all for good fun.
The Sims 2 for the GameBoy Advance, Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable were all released in 2005, a good year after the PC version of the Sims 2. They are all considered for different version of games, each with their own story. The game had the same characters who were NPCs to help tell the story the world of The Sims 2 on the handheld versions. All the games (including the main Sims 2 game) are set in a town called Strangetown, with a road leading to the town, called The Road Leading to No Where. The Gameboy Advance version had more of a dark tone to the game, being set in the same Strangetown with a nuclear power plant site nearby. The game is set on a reality show, where the player has to explore and navigate to unveil the mystery behind the town. There would be times the game luck would take a toll on the player, to unfair punishment, such as answering a random phone call, which would fine the player (not sure why).
I personally found the Nintendo DS and PSP versions, extremely funny. The Nintendo DS version is set in a town in the desert. The player would venture out to the desert and pick up nuclear rods, which could be trade in, for cash. The player being in the desert for too long or get near an alien, they would faint (or suffer from hallucinations and spin out of the area, back to the hotel) The PlayStation Portable is more or less the same. It's set in third person version as players explore Strangetown, in various neighbourhoods and just watching NPCs characters mindlessly walk around the town. I think it's the most immersive version and really makes the most out of the PlayStation Portable. The Sims 2 handheld versions really capture the feel of when the game was releases, such as agents and aliens to nuclear rods. Each version is also interesting because many of the characters, while appearing in all the versions of the game, are either the good or bad characters, the game mixes this up across each version.
The Sims 2: Pets was released in 2006 while The Sims 3: Pet was released in 2011. Pets first was released as an expansion for both The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 but EA decided, it was maybe good enough to give it, it's own standalone game, for the consoles and maybe it was a good idea. The game had many animals as content in the game but because owning and managing pets is the focus of the game, this had other main family features, removed from the game, such as having kids and taking them to school or college, not seen in this game. The main animals players could own are cats and dogs. It is interesting, seeing one section of the character creation screen, creating a Sim and then having another section, creating an animal, for the game before being set off in a linear experience just taking care of animals.
The Sims 2: Pets was released for the PlayStation 2, GameCube, PSP and Wii and it was soon followed by The Sims 3: Pets which was released for the PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS and Xbox 360. It was maybe more fruitful as The Sims 3: Pets had achievements for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and is packed with loads more features, to maybe make it worth the playthrough but the The Sims 2: Pets does look more fun to play and is straightforward and linear. Not really much to these games, other then giving the main focus for the Sims to have and manage and cat or a dog, with all the content in the game to give it that different experience, such as feeding them to talking them for a walk or the vets, or whatever. It really transforms the gameplay unlike controlling a family or being with friends, which almost seems neglectful to know for a Sims game, considering it's popularity. Which is why it maybe deserves a good focus, as a spin-off standalone title.
The Sims 2: Castaway was released in 2007 for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable and Nintendo Wii. The Sims 2: Castaway allows the player to take care of Sims, who are shipwrecked and deserted on an uninhabited island, with one main goal in mind. To survive long enough and to try to get off the island. The game allows players to make their own clothing from foliage, which also could get worn as the sims wear them and move around in them. They can also try to hunt or fish for their own food, to stay alive and cure their hunger. Castaway was interesting for a more adventurous premise which was very different from what players expect from the Sims games and is worth playing in this day of age.
The game has aged nicely and really gives the game a unique premise as The Sims are usually settled in a neighbourhood, if not on its own, as their aren't as many adventure games, where characters get stranded on an island. It does make it look, really interesting to see how differently the Sims look when the surrounding area is of an island, with mountains and sea, considering during the late 90s and 2000s, had shows like Lost, which ran for 6 seasons and a film like Castaway with Tom Hanks, were extremely popular and well talked about, at the time. The game is a little bit predictable, as it's The Sims with, just getting off the island but it is fun and interesting to experience and seeing all the content coming together, as the Sims do need to get their moods lifted and to maintain themselves. This, allowing them to help live a castaway life on an island, while building a raft, before venturing off it, thus completing the game
The Sims Medieval was released for the PC in 2011, across the world and was developed by Maxis. The game is set in, you've guess it, the medieval times and your Sims house is a castle. You can add furniture and invite guest over and to have a kingdom for you and your NPCs in the game world. The game mechanics changes, of course, from goals to what the game calls "Kingdom Ambition". EA has made used of this, giving players missions, to help their kingdom grow and unlike the main The Sims games at the time, idling the goals until you complete them, doesn't happen. The game would give a Mission Failed instead, putting the player under pressure to complete the games goals. The player can choose a profession, from being a monarch, knight or merchant and many, many more, each with their own abilities and goals, to help build their kingdom and giving a different gameplay to progress the game.
The Sims Medieval was built on top The Sims 3 game and its engine, which helped Medieval give it's feel. This game also had an expansion titled Pirates and Nobles, if this spin off wasn't enough, which added what it pretty much says on the cover. It adds pirates as NPCs and gives a new treasure hunting mechanic, for players to look for treasure. The main game and its expansion pack, are released as The Sims Medieval Deluxe Pack and could be downloaded off EA's digital storefront Origin. Another niche title that got swept away as the Sims 4 had taken the spotlight, that I think really deserves a look.
The Sims Bustin' Out was released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube. Bustin' Out was like The Sim on a Road Trip as players would travel the road and country to meet other sim families in the universe and complete the needs of those other sims, which acts as levels for the game. Completing those goal, gives the go ahead to move onto the next. Bustin' Out's content was more hip, then all the other spin offs but it is mostly due to the developers remaking the content in 3D from some of the expansion packs from the first game, The Sims: Hot Date, The Sims: Superstar, and The Sims: Livin' Large (I notice how they knock off the 'G' in Busting and Living, maybe if that's showing off some sort of connection between the game and that expansion pack) which makes the game feel more unique for it to have as its own game.
If there's one game that really represented the country culture during the 90s, early 2000s, with its road trips, to make the player feel lost and to complete objects. It's this game. Again, another game which I really think, captures the culture back then and holds it. It's worth re-visiting and playing, in this day of age. Maybe it was a way to lock in third expansion packs to form one game but it manages to be unique on its own. This game also takes advantage of the link cable from the GameBoy Advance to the Nintendo GameCube version of the game, to unlock content, if anyone wants to try that out (which also works on the Nintendo Wii, with their backwards compatibility.
The Sims for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube was released in 2003. While thinking it was a port of the first Sims games, despite baring the same name as the original, the game is considered more of a spin off, then a port. While the original game was more of a 2.5D game. with the Sims being the only part of the game rendered in 3D, EA managed to make use of the power of these consoles, to deliver a game, being rendered entirely in 3D, which made it unique to the console versions. The game was the first time, any Sims game, was rendered entirely in 3D, to appeal to console owners, considering how the PC versions was rendered. I'm talking all the furniture and walls, doors, windows, anything, rendered in full 3D polygons.
The game had a story to it, a very loose story to it, as the player completed tasks settling at a home, which give the game its level based structure. A first for the Sims games. The player creates a sim, which was its main character to progress in the game and allows the character to interact with the other characters in the world. The character would move out from their parents house, be a room-mate for someone's else residence (who looks cool but turns out to be lazy, as you progress the game). Get a job, find someone to partner with and be in a relationship, have a kid, to take care off (or force them to join the army) and reach old age before competing the game. It is interesting to see the entire game, in world, making use of the features, like sleeping, working, using the bathroom, cleaning the house and etc, with a basic story and at the time, it may have just been a basic life simulator but it was almost un-noticed maybe because the PC version was still dominant and interesting at the time and it was almost un-noticed that EA was making spin-offs and really tried to push them onto the market. This game really sums it up and maybe it should have been the game The Sims for the PC should have been?!
The PC version of The Sims had modding support anyways, allowing players to create their own furniture, same with Sims 2 and Sims 3, so maybe leave what the PC was good at. It's just interesting how EA really build spin-off titles from there and make them, maybe how they should have been and did more with what they could make.
The other games out there:
The Sims Apartment Pets for the Nintendo DS. Maybe a quick put together game, which crosses the expansions packs Apartments and Pets for the The Sims. The game hasn't got much of a story as the vet goes on vacation, leaving you in charge of the story and never returns. The open end gameplay of healing other people's pet, gets tiresome, unless you really like taking care of pets. (I freaked out, when there wasn't much of a story, just mindless, day by day operations, with no progression).
The Sims Carnival Bumper Blast, a small casual game, a little bit like pachinko, where you fire a ball into an arena and sim characters portraits are on bumpers, hitting them scoring you points. You could get this game on BigFishGames, the home of small casual games. It's not really a life simulator you would expect but it's out there with over 100 levels, which doesn't allow the game to get boring. For the casual audience.
The Sims Social: A browser based games made for Facebook. I miss the Facebook gaming culture because it has so much that could have been going for it but at the same time, a bit bothered by it because it was only created to rake in as much money as they could. The Sims Social was a victim of being plagiarized by Zynga releasing their game The Ville which had caused EA to take legal action on Zynga for copyright infringement in 2012, describing it as a "unmistakable copy" of their game and settled in 2013. As Zynga had taken the designs, sims to sims, emote to emote, furniture to furniture (right down, to the bins). Just tells me that The Sims Social had something right, going for it.
That's the list, I'm sure there's a few other spin off releases, out there but not in a life simulator genre like The Sims DJ for the iPod or The Sims Bowling?! I personally like the Sims spin offs, for the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS because they're like a fine piece of art, which I enjoy playing, as they are linear and look forward to play, as I have copies laying around. The Sims has enjoyed success on the market and it is extremely interesting seeing spin off version of their game. While the game has have a more female demographic in players, which many have found fascinating, it is interesting to think that they funded the franchise for EA to make more games to maybe towards the male audience to play these games, to make the player base extremely natural. Will there ever be any more spin offs from The Sims 4 or even The Sims 5, if they were ever to be? Or has EA or any other company be done with forming The Sims spin-off games? Who knows but it is worth looking back to the games that originally were created to be standalone and to give a different adventure, then the original base games.
List by 91210user (08/25/2021)
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