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Prerelease:The Sims (Windows)

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for The Sims (Windows).

Jefferson, Project X, TDS... could they not decide upon a single name for this toy? Thankfully, they did! And it was bound to become an absolute PC gaming essential.[1][2]
(Source: Maxis Alumni)

Oh, it's adorable! Just like a doll's house.

As the biggest milestone of what can now be viewed as Maxis' own Renaissance Age (along with its old sibling project SimCity 3000), the development history of The Sims is a textbook case of redemptive game design. Having mushroomed over seven years of creation during the nineties, the game unintentionally captures the technological (and, why not, cultural) touchstones of each moment the builds were compiled and, as such, joined the iterative dance at its own pace, experiencing dramatic overhauls until Sim Lane's streets could be open upon the world and everyone (emphasis on the game's broad demographic reach) were free to build their idea of "the American dream"... a true embryonic delight, from start to finish.

However, before the splines were at last reticulated and production had met minimal security, the project could not have been more of a disaster, being often plagued by one of its medium's biggest ironies: the overall skepticism (including from some fellow Maxoids) that felt as though the simulation of mundane life would find its place in mainstream gaming. But neither the world, nor the game itself, were quite ready to fully get into Will Ralph Wright's vision.

The tremendous community-building potential of The Sims was what hit a soft spot within a very conservative Electronic Arts and convinced Maxis' new owners to supply the Sims department with the drop of support it needed — from then on, an admirable endeavor was made in order so that nearly every aspect of the game was as easy to disassemble as it could be, evolving it into a custom-content wonderland. Fans saw active support from the game's core team to create multiple (and competitive!) fan-sites and establish a solid participatory culture all around the Sim sphere, catalyzing a spontaneous marketing boom that proved a win-win for all sides of the newly-built fan base... many months prior to the game's de facto launching!

This bustling community made The Sims a winner: In the early 21st century, it overtook Myst's throne and became a worldwide PC bestseller, as well as a cultural icon[2]. As sweet side effects, not only did its phenomenal sandbox-esque nature influence many people to take their creative/intellectual juices to a new degree through programming/3D modeling, but it is often quoted as a premier example of empowering players with a metaverse of infinite storytelling capabilities to be shared to the world, bulldozing the collective consciousness that girls could not game and that homosexuality wasn't quite appropriate for the medium, and made virtual architecture as easy as Build-Buy-Live.


Not bad for abandonware, don'tcha think[footnote 1]?

Development Timeline

1991-1995

  • Circa 1991 - During the time when Will Wright took care of his daughter Cassidy, he drafts up an idea of a "house simulator" whilst inspecting the usefulness of the objects around him.
  • October 19-20, 1991 - The Oakland-Beverly Firestorm of 1991 happens, where Will Wright's home was among those that were destroyed in the disaster. In the sense of an unexpected event, his concepts for future titles and part of the SimAnt code survived, where he looked as it as a miracle despite a good amount of his belongings being destroyed.
  • 1991-1993 - While developing SimAnt, Wright thought of the ants' simplistic behavior in comparison to human beings, which somewhat prompted the idea for a Sims-based game.
  • Late 1993 - Will Wright pitches his idea of a home-based simulation game, called Home Tactics: The Experimental Domestic Simulator. The idea wasn't liked by employees, due to the lack of a target audience for the game.
  • Summer 1995 - Development on The Sims begins, then known as "GORF" and "Project X", for Mac OS Classic.

1997

  • Early 1997 - Development is moved to PC, and is retitled as "Project Dollhouse".
  • Jun-July - Maxis is acquired by video game developer EA.[3]

1998

  • June 4 - The date of the Steering Committee build.

1999

  • May 13-15 - The Sims is shown off at E3 1999.

2000

  • Jan. 19 - The Sims goes gold, thus ending development of the game.[4]
  • Feb. The Sims is officially released.

Sub-Pages

Base Game

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General Differences
The price isn't quite right...
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Introduction
1991-1995. Big winners start small.

Early Development

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1995-1996
On trees, toilets and a dream. The Sims, virtually unrecognizable as a modified SimCity 2000.
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1997
Meet Archie, Archie, and his brother Archie.

1998

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Early 1998
January-May: Crazy Larry and friends.
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Late 1998
June-December: Happy Acres Welcomes You!

1999

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Early 1999
January-April: The start of SimMania.
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Mid 1999
May-August:Hey, chill out! It's just a lesbian kiss.
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Late 1999
September-December: The Last-Minute Challenges!
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SimWatch
Community-Oriented Coverage

Expansions

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Livin' Large
The first expansion in a series that would continue for years to come.
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Hot Date
The expansion pack that many parents thought was just too sexy.
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Superstar
The first and only star-studded Sims expansion pack to feature Christina Aguilera.
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Makin' Magic
A magical end of an era.

Homework

Base Game Development

Expansion-related

Footnotes

  1. The original Sims uses the now-discontinued SafeDisc DRM, making it natively unplayable in Windows post-7 operational systems. Given the unprecedented cultural impact the franchise has caused as EA's golden goose, it happens that fans usually find it quite disappointing that the game hasn't seen a major re-issue by EA since 2005, as the only official versions are the original discs.

References