IT’S A SIMS WORLD OUT THERE – an exploration of meaning-making through Sims game play.

The Sims is arguable one of the most popular PC games ever. With its latest launch, The Sims 4, witnessed a massive turnout of 408,150 copies worldwide only four days after its launch and more than 1.10 million copies worldwide in just two months. The Sims has presented itself to be an alternative digital world of characters, love, conflicts, and emotions. Being one of the best-selling game of all time, it has truly placed itself on a pedestal of not only gaming culture, but contemporary culture in general. 

Image result for the sims best selling game of all time

(source: VGChartz through Wiki)

The thing that attracts most players to The Sims isn’t its graphics nor its advanced technology, but its incorporation of both simulation and game (Sihvonen, 2009). “Games are defined by the relationship between the designer and the player” (Chan, 2003). Undoubtedly, it’s the new-found collaboration of the game’s mechanism (i.e ruleset of the game, its aesthetics, its programming) and gameplay (the actualisation of these simulative qualities) that leads the players into a god-like position towards their own world. Never before have the gamers been made so powerful and free in their own decisions. That is why The Sims is greatly open for different interpretation, with countless discussions surrounding how we can make sense of this universe. 


Placing The Sims into meaning-making of games and it serves as a powerful paratext of how we can read sociological traits in a video game. And indeed, the critical study field of games have argued that “games as opposed to literature and film are not static representations made of fixed sequences of events but rather dynamic simulations” (Albrechtslund, n/a). 

Based on these foundation texts, my digital artefact will serve as a beginning exploration into the sociological effects of The Sims through its relationship with its players. I will emerge myself in the game, noting down thoughts and findings that are relevant to my research as a source of reference. Furthermore, I will engage in The Sims communities on YouTube (through walkthrough videos, game analysis videos), Reddit (r/thesims, r/sims4), and the Tumblr community (aesthetic blogs, discussion blogs, mod blogs) as my primary source. 

Please leave a comment if you’re also an active Sims player and give me some suggestions on how I can improve on my project!


15 thoughts on “IT’S A SIMS WORLD OUT THERE

  1. Hi Dang, I am very interested with your DA project and also the game you have mentioned in video. In this blog, you talked about how successful the game(SIMS) was and how SIMS connect different player together. However, in your blog I can only know SIMS is one of most popular game in game history and it is a game with best selling in PC games.(worldwide) As a player who never play SIMS before, I want to know more about the game itself. I want to know what kind of game SIMS is and what’s the main reason for why people love to play this game. For my opinion, you can add a short introduction(about 10 seconds) to introduce the game itself, and talk about the history of SIMS cause it seems like SIMS is a long series game to let people have a better understand with the game itself and why everyone love the game.

    Anyway thanks for letting me know there is a successful game called SIMS, I will check this game and maybe spend some time on it .

    Here is the link that I find for you,
    check it out XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the suggestions! I guess it was just a given for me that everyone knows of this game already haha. But essentially The Sims are a series of life simulation videos, you basically create virtual people and place them in The Sims world to direct their lives.

      I’ll make sure to have a short introduction of the game in my DA.


  2. ethancrawshaw

    Hey Mai I absolutely love the sims and, from what I can see in your blog post so does the rest of the world. I think the post-structuralist approach you aim to take in your first digital essay is a great decision and I think there is actually heaps to think about within the sims and your projected personality topic. Something I have found from conversations with people about the sims is that people see the sims as more than just a simulation of real life but as a way to live real life. This article about the sims is a really interesting one as the author says that we should “live a little more like Sim Jamie (her personal Sim).” The author started getting out of bed earlier, writing in her journal and socialising more. In the Sims your character “needs social time every other day to be in the best possible mood. I never thought about this being a necessity in my own life.” This could be a really interesting approach to this topic. Potential focuses include:
    Whether this game is right in saying what is good for a person and what’s not.
    And whether this game is potentially helpful for people who are trying to find ‘the perfect life’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mrharrisoneast

    Hi Mai!
    I can really appreciate your niche topic with The Sims and relating it to a variety of frameworks, especially that of your sociological approach and player behaviour.

    First and foremost, I would suggest explaining the term ‘mean-making’ in one of your video essays. As the content that you’ll be producing will be publicly available and aiming to aggregate an audience; context, even in its basic form, is crucial in making sure that your audience is on board with what you’re producing.

    The notion of escapism in games is always a relevant topic of discussion, even more so in relation to the simulation game genre. The ability to control life on a macro scale is enticing to almost anyone, I would argue. From a more intimate framework, you could look at player behaviour in the context of escapism and ‘branch out’ to discuss emotional connections that players can have with the ‘worlds and people’ that they create.

    The Sims and simulation genre is also a great place to discuss relevant topics such as gender, and the study of learning and creativity among players (

    Livestream content is also not to be overlooked here. Livestreams are a great place to observe live feedback loops and community engagement. You could then expand this data format to understand how experiencing and playing The Sims changes, i.e group play and multiplayer experiences.

    You can even look at expanding your analysis within the Sims franchise itself, for example by looking at SimCity to begin with.

    Good luck with the project! I look forward to seeing the content you produce!

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. This should be an excellent project! especially with the amount of content surrounding a game so popular around the world. It’s interesting how we can be so involved in a real-life replication.

    I think a discussion that’s collaborated with videos of gameplay would be fascinating, Discussing the debate that revolves around the effect of playing sims and then entering back into the real world, do we use it as a lifelike escape? and do we, in turn, translate things we do on the sims came back into reality because the two are so closely intertwined? However, I struggled to find where and how you will be presenting the information you find. It may be interesting to consider overlaying a podcast of your information over gameplay of the sims.

    This source has information that is slightly skewed from your discussion topic, but it may still be an exciting read or an alternative for you if you cannot find enough information on your current theme.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Hi there,

    Im really interested to see how this goes and the research that you come across. Your video structure was really clear and well spoken. Additionally, the use of adding images to identify the game you are talking about to your audience was good too.

    The use of statistics in your blog post cemented to me that you really know what you are planning to talk about, and have done extensive research to support your argument.

    I noticed you mentioned in your video that people use Sims as an escape. From this, I researched the effect that Sims has on its players mental health, as this is also an avenue that you could explore.

    From what I came across, Sims helps to increase and improve cognitive skills. Furthermore, I came across a discussion forum where players have discussed how they believe their experience with playing Sims has affected their mental health (second link). The structure of where you want to go with your research is really good, I hope that what I have provided can help you to excel in your knowledge about the meaning making of video gaming.
    Best of luck, I look forward to see how you go 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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