Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best sims games

Ever wonder how you can live vicariously through an interior designer, evil boss, or high-profile celebrity? Now you can thanks to The Sims games — and before you know it, you’ll be addicted.

Imagine doing everything you’ve ever wanted to do, but on a smaller scale. When you play The Sims, you’re able to dive into exciting experiences, as well as find yourself in precarious situations. In fact, you might even get caught up with monsters or suffer from the plague. As existential as The Sims can be, there’s still a bit of luck and randomness involved in gameplay, which is why it’s remained captivating and engaging for almost 20 years.  

It’s an understatement to say the possibilities are endless with The Sims, so we’re here to guide you through your first gameplay experiences. Read our buying guide to learn about the base game, a broad range of expansion and activity packs, and our favorites. 

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Like most video games, The Sims offers periodic updates and patches. Sometimes this means servers are down while they’re being loaded.


Age range

The Sims has an Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating of Teen because of some crude humor and suggestive themes. For the most part, it’s a kid-friendly game without gratuitous violence or salacious content. While it’s intended for teens, many kids ages eight and above are capable of playing the game. If they’re experienced gamers and independent readers, then they’ll do well with The Sims


The Sims is a simulation game. Unlike other video games with matches, mini games, or definitive endings, The Sims is an open-ended game. That means you can log several or hundreds of hours of gameplay trying to level up without winning. 

In fact, there’s no actual “winning” in The Sims. Rather, it’s an ongoing game that measures success in a complex rubric, so you’ll have to satisfy a lot of in-game requirements to level up your character’s skills or home. As expected, it takes considerable dedication to develop each aspect of the game. Some gamers marvel at the limitless gameplay potential, while others can become bored with repetitive activities and quests. 


If it can be done in real life, then you can probably do it in The Sims. That means eating, drinking, working, and yes, going to the bathroom. Certain activities level up your skills, such as reading or enrolling in a class. Others, like decorating, don’t have a direct impact on your character except for improving their mood and making their home more aesthetically pleasing.

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Did you know?
The Sims has an in-game cheat code to obtain more simoleons, or money. Type “rosebud” for 1,000 simoleons, or “motherlode” for 50,000 simleons. Yes, EA knows this and is perfectly fine with it.

Types of Sims games

Understanding the Sims universe

If you’re new to The Sims, it’s important to understand the lingo behind the game. The term “The Sims” is inclusive and pertains to all games, packs, and activities related to the Sims universe and gameplay. The Sims 4 is the base game, which is required to play expansion, game, and stuff packs. 

Base game: The Sims 4, has plenty of content and gameplay. It’s fun and easy to learn, which is why it appeals to non-gamers, new gamers, and even experienced gamers. Have fun customizing your home and your character’s appearance, or dive into development by doing your best to perform at 100% across the board. Trust us, it’s just as tough to do it in The Sims as it is in real life. 

Expansion packs: These have themed content and new worlds or lifestyles to explore. The Get to Work expansion lets you experience the trials and tribulations of various professions. The Cats and Dogs expansion lets you live your best life as a pet owner or veterinarian (and you still need a pooper-scooper). 

Game packs: These are medium-sized packs that add new experiences in thematic ways. Unlike expansion packs, game packs are focused on immediate experiences as opposed to brand-new worlds. In the Dine Out pack, for example, you’ll enjoy managing a restaurant and putting out fires (literally). 

Stuff packs: These are essentially accessory packs for themed outfits and furniture. Some will piggyback onto expansion or game packs, such as the Toddler Stuff pack, which is ideal to play with the Parenting game pack. These are especially popular for gamers with secondary interests in fashion or interior design. 

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Expert Tip
You’ll need to continually improve your home’s décor by upgrading old furniture and decorations to maintain a happy Sim.

FAQ about Sims games

Q. Is The Sims 4 compatible with Mac?
A. It is, though it’s a digital-only release. You’ll need to create an account on Origin if you don’t already have one. Once you’ve purchased the game, you’ll download it onto your Mac and redeem your product code to start playing. 

Q. The characters in my game aren’t speaking. How do I adjust settings so I can hear what they’re saying? 
A. The Sims don’t actually speak intelligible words. There are, however, sound effects that accompany their moods and reactions. In terms of the information they’re communicating to you, simply follow the text prompts on the screen. 

Q. Will I need to upgrade my PC to play The Sims?
A. It depends on how new your PC is and whether it meets the game’s minimum requirements. You’ll need to cross-reference specs before shelling out lots of simoleons (money), so visit the EA website for more information. 

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