Sul Sul! Although it has been almost 20 years since The Sims 2 was released, Emily Sheehy discusses why it’s stood the test of time.
I was around 8 years old when I first heard of The Sims, after seeing my cousin play it. I was fascinated by the idea of a game where I could create a character and control every aspect of their life. It was like a dollhouse brought to life on my computer. After watching Sims 2 horror films on YouTube set to Evanescence’s ‘Bring Me to Life’, I begged my dad to buy me a copy from GameStop. I raced home, installed it onto my bulky laptop, and waited (a very long time) for the game to finally load. Within a couple of days of playing the game, I had created my own Sim, married Mortimer Goth and became the richest Sim in Pleasantview. It may be nostalgia talking, but I believe that The Sims 2 is truly the best game in the franchise.
After watching Sims 2 horror films on YouTube set to Evanescence’s ‘Bring Me to Life’, I begged my dad to buy me a copy from GameStop.
As I played The Sims 2 more, I wanted more and more content. I downloaded gigabytes of custom content and mods from shady websites and luckily managed to avoid getting any viruses. I picked up some expansion packs from the pre-owned section in GameStop that cost me about €5 or less. I played God a little too hard and deleted the ladder from the swimming pool. When The Sims 3 was announced I couldn’t be more excited. Upon its release, I was disappointed; the loading screens were incredibly long and the game crashed too often. I couldn’t afford the €40 expansion packs just so I could have weather or dogs in my game. I found myself returning to Sims 2 again and again.
Within a couple of days of playing the game, I had created my own Sim, married Mortimer Goth and became the richest Sim in Pleasantview.
While The Sims 3 has an open-world environment that lets Sims move around freely, and The Sims 4 has more options and expansion packs than any other game in the series, it is The Sims 2 that remains a fan favourite. The Sims 2 took everything that was good about the first game and perfected it. Sims in The Sims 2 are more expressive, have more personality and have more involved storylines in comparison to other Sims games.
I played God a little too hard and deleted the ladder from the swimming pool.
Surprisingly, some of the graphics and animations are better in The Sims 2 in comparison to Sims 3 and 4. For example, the experience of ordering a takeaway pizza in Sims 2 is more detailed than in Sims 4; a pizza delivery person will drive to your house in a beat-up old car and your Sim will take an individual slice of steamy hot pizza from the box. In Sims 4, however, the delivery person just appears out of thin air in front of your house and when your Sim takes a slice, the pizza still remains whole. It’s these small details that really add to the experience of gameplay. The Sims 2 is also more difficult than other games in the series, but I contend that this is where the enjoyment lies. Within a couple of in-game days in Sims 4, it is easy for your Sim to quickly get married and promoted to a well-paying job. In Sims 2, however, it is quite likely for your romantic advances to get rejected by another Sim and takes a lot of time and hard work for your Sim to get promoted. Sims 2 is more challenging but more realistic and rewarding.
Although I play The Sims 4 quite often, as it is the most recent game in the franchise, I don’t agree with EA’s (The Sims’ parent company) decision to charge €40 for expansion packs that offer aspects of gameplay that should be part of the base game, such as seasons and pets. The sheer amount of options and extra content for Sims 4 feels overwhelming. While The Sims 2 is more simplistic in some of its choices, it feels more comfortable and familiar to me.
Additionally, Sims 4 seems to be targeted towards a younger audience and has therefore removed some of the adult humour and chaos that we knew and loved in Sims 2. In doing so, EA has alienated its original audience who are now in their 20s and 30s. The social bunny was terrifying, but it’s what made Sims 2 unique. While I loved the Nightlife expansion pack for The Sims 2 with its distinctly early 2000s aesthetic, its Sims 4 counterpart Get Together, which allows you to join clubs and expands the range of social settings for your Sims, does not have the same appeal.
Many other Sims fans will agree with me when I say that The Sims 2 has a special charm and quality to it. It was the game that first introduced many fans to the franchise. It encapsulated what it meant to have spent your childhood on the computer in the 2000s. Even though EA has sought to expand and improve the series in Sims 3 and 4, it is Sims 2 that remains my favourite.