- Into The Future, while a compelling pack, was overshadowed by the release of The Sims 4 and didn’t feel like a necessary addition to the game.
- Snowy Escape, though visually stunning, didn’t offer much new content and felt more like a diversion rather than an expansion of The Sims 4.
- Generations, while adding important gameplay elements, lacked a central theme or mechanic to make it stand out, making it often overlooked by players.
Life is big and complicated. Attempting to simulate it in all its facets is challenging, but attempting to do so in one video game is nearly impossible. That’s why the creatives behind The Sims pursued a piecemeal approach to building a world of virtual people in a virtual utopia via expansion packs. Some expansion packs practically sold themselves; for example, Nightlife and City Living allow urban dwellers to drop into the big city.
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Meanwhile, Makin’ Magic, Werewolves, and Vampires gave supernatural fans something to sink their teeth into. However, many packs that brought something new, introduced essential elements, or freshened up the game seem to have been lost in time; in some cases because their features or themes were too broad to market, and others because of their late arrival in the base game’s lifespan. Either way, while Sims super fans might have every Sims release perfectly cataloged in their minds, these packs are often overlooked by casual Sims players.
6 Into The Future
A Zany Time Travel Adventure In The Sims 3’s Waning Days
The Sims 3
- June 2, 2009
- Released October 24th, 2013 for The Sims 3
- May not immediately spring into a Simmer’s mind because of its late arrival in The Sim 3’s lifetime
- Though it was packaged with a strong theme, the gameplay in Into The Future does not feel like an essential addition
One of The Sims 3‘s most significant selling points was its revolutionary expansion of the third dimension (that is, to say, the introduction of the open world). However, its last expansion, Into The Future, aimed to open up the fourth dimension: time. Sims could step into the future thanks to a time traveler and their time machine. Sims could visit their descendants and see how the future turned out (much as a result of their actions in the present).
While it is by no means the most forgettable pack, having quite the compelling (if a little niche) theme of time travel and being bundled with many interesting retro-futuristic playthings, it arrived right at the end of The Sims 3‘s life, when many Simmers were getting ready to see what the actual future of the franchise held in the fourth entry.
5 Snowy Escape
A Beautiful (If Niche) “Addition”
The Sims 4
- September 2, 2014
- Released November 13th, 2020 for The Sims 4
- While strikingly pretty, Snowy Escape offers largely niche appeal
- Many of the features do not expand the base game much, and many can be found in other expansions
There’s a lot to love about Snowy Escape, not least its emphasis on cozy Japanese decor, which is a beautiful addition for any homemaking enthusiast. However, as dazzling as the pack was made out to be, many fans at the time didn’t think the niche extreme winter sports activities of Mt. Komorebi added much to the overall game, and some fans felt that “lifestyles” were just traits with extra steps.
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Some of its main selling points (snow, rock climbing, hot springs) were added in The Sims 4’s other expansions. Overall, while Snowy Escape is a lovingly crafted expansion pack, it did little to actually expand The Sims 4, which is a problem for an “expansion pack,” making it more of a diversion than a memorable addition.
A Well-Rounded Pack Without A Strong Selling Point
- Released May 31st, 2011 for The Sims 3
- The content from this pack feels sorely missing when playing the base game without it
- Without a strong central mechanic or theme, Generations rarely pops up as one of the greats, despite its quality additions
Teenage parties, wedding events, imaginary friends, and more: Generations added a lot to make each sim and their world feel more well-developed. It is a fantastic pack that adds many essential gameplay elements that make playing The Sims 3 feel less complete without it, despite the base game being a feature-heavy offering right from launch.
However, as essential as the addition is for The Sims 3, it’s hard to lock onto one significant gameplay change among its many small but important additions. While spiral staircases took building to new heights, and waterslides were a splash, there was no pretty new neighborhood or singular mechanic to sell the pack or make it all that memorable. However, it definitely does not deserve to be forgotten.
3 House Party
A Tame Expansion In The Series’ Early Days
- February 4, 2000
- Life Simulation
- Released March 28th, 2001 for The Sims
- Somewhat forgettable due to the pack’s age and its main mechanic being rolled into every base game since
- Although a sim house party may seem arbitrary, it is an essential gameplay addition to The Sims
Picking up a phone and starting a party has been a staple feature in the Sims series for a long time, but this was not true for the first game until the House Party expansion. Before this, the only way to socialize was to be greeted by the neighborhood welcome wagon or by calling a sim over. For Simmers who work hard and play hard, House Party was a gift from Sims heaven, as it allowed sims to actively meet new friends outside, hoping that random townies would pass by, letting them climb the career ladder (as progression is tied to a sim’s friend circle).
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Sims can meet and make friends with new people at their parties, facilitated by the party objects that the pack provides. Nowadays, the pack tends to get forgotten because its features are interwoven with the base games in subsequent sequels. That and its age, with this being the second-ever pack released for The Sims franchise.
An Essential Addition Lacking Direction
The Sims 2
- September 14, 2004
- Life Simulation
- Released February 26th, 2008 for The Sims 2
- The pack expanded the game considerably, but it did not come with a winning selling point
- A “hobbies” expansion hasn’t been seen since, and many of its features were rolled into the sequels’ base games
Sports, hobbies, and extracurricular activities are all essential aspects of life and should definitely be included in a life simulator. With the revamped goals and aspiration systems, players had new ways to shape their sims and their sims’ journeys. The plethora of new objects and activities helped to flesh out the neighborhoods and lots of The Sims 2, from basketball hoops and DJ booths to restorable cars.
However, it’s hard to argue that many fans were begging for such a theme to be dropped into their game, no matter how well implemented. While plenty of Sims sequels have had reoccurring expansions (for example, the Pets expansions or the Seasons expansions), nothing has come along to mantle FreeTime, perhaps besides The Sim’s 4‘s Get Together, which emphasized group activities, or (very tenuously) The Sims 3‘s Ambitions.
1 Livin’ Large
Provides Features That Most Simmers Assume Come In The Base Game
- Released August 23rd, 2000 for The Sims
- Much of the content in Livin’ Large was unfinished features that had not made it into the base game
- The Grim Reaper, the genie, Servo, and the telescope were all added in with this, the first pack
It may come as some surprise to even the most loyal of fans (who were with the series from the start) that several iconic items, such as the vibrating love bed, the genie, and even the telescope, were, in fact, missing from the base game. They were only added in the series’ first-ever expansion, Livin’ Large. This pack also saw the introduction of the much-loved helper robot, Servo.
Fans may have forgotten this pack because it was bundled into the Delux editions of the game. It also doesn’t help that the expansion pack was not marketed with any specific theme, but this would have been hard to do since many of the features (cockroaches, sickness, and the iconic Grim Reaper, to name a few) were cut during the development of the base game to ensure that Maxis made their deadline.
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