The 10 Best Sims Games of All Time

Best Sims Games
Back in my day we couldn't choose if we were "trying for baby."

The Best Sims Games of All Time

Faloopsinarb, woo fa goo!

The Sims is the longest-running life simulation series in video game history. It is revered as “almost the only game of its kind” (partly because EA suffocates the market with a studio too large to compete with). While a small number of similar series exist for console, The Sims has dominated PC-based life simulation forever.

I fondly remember the joys of having to playing in 640x480 with the most recent expansion CD and having no idea which one it was. CD-Roms didn’t have the space to hold an entire Sims universe so Maxis, the simulation division of EA, developed expansion packs to allow players to build out their Sims experience.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 Sims expansions of all time (thus far)!

1. The Sims: Makin Magic

The Sims: Makin Magic Official Trailer.

Makin Magic was the final expansion to the original Sims game. It was released in 2003, about a year after The Sims surpassed Myst as the best selling game of all time. With Makin Magic, Sims could learn to make magic charms, cast spells, and battle in wizarding duels.

Upon moving in a household with Makin Magic installed, a package containing the tools to become a master magician would appear at the front door of Sims’ houses. Sims could travel to Magic Town: a quirky hole-in-the-ground where kids could play and adults could cause chaos without getting fined by Mystery Man.

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By 2003 standards, this was the coolest promo image ever.

the sims makin magic, makin magic, best sims expansions
Long before Sims could be resurrected, they summoned spirits for tips.

2. The Sims: Superstar

The Sims: Superstar Official Trailer

Superstar brought Hollywood to The Sims and is one of few expansions with no true successor. NPCs based on real-world celebrities were added to the game and they made zero time for D-listers.

Studiotown opened careers in film, modeling, and music and were the first jobs that players could accompany their Sims to. The concept was reimagined in Sims 2: Open for Business, Sims 3: Ambitions, and Sims 4: Get to Work. Celebrity Sim mechanics made appearances in Urbz: Sims in the City, Sims 3: Late Night, and Sims 3: Showtime.

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How DARE you tell me where I can and can't be a wannabe! Ooo shanga day. (Translation: Why me?)

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If you wannabe my Sim Star, you gotta get with my friends.

3. The Sims: Unleashed

The Sims: Unleashed Official Trailer

Pets are companions that love us conditionally even though we mere humans don’t deserve it. Unleashed added pets to the game and created a lasting love in the community for animal-related expansions.

Having pets in our games was so important that each generation of Sims has had its own version of Unleashed. Sims 2: Pets was a direct remake. Sims 3: Pets added horses and tons of small critters. Sims 4: Cats and Dogs included a thorough Create-a-Pet, pet-related careers, and a new veterinary clinic system.

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It was so hard not to adopt every available animal.

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But sometimes you did adopt every available animal.

4. Sims 2: Open for Business

Sims 2: Open For Business Official Trailer

Simpreneurs were, like, totally all the rage once Open for Business introduced business simulation elements to Sims 2. The expansion gave individual Sims the opportunity to run their own business. The “talent badge” system acted like skills, and Sims would perform actions within the workplace to improve their efficiency.

Open for Business also returned the Servo robot to the game, this time as an artificially-intelligent Sim that took on all skill points of its activator (plus 10 points in Cleaning, Cooking, and Mechanical).

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I'm trying to do my job, sir, and you are standing directly in the way.

sims 2 open for business, open for business, best sims expansions
Entrepreneurship starts young. Benzi chibna looble bazebni gweb! (Translation: Nothing is impossible if you believe!)

5. Sims 2: Seasons

Sims 2: Seasons Official Trailer

The addition of Seasons opened up a meaningful passage of time for Sims. Holidays weather, and temperature made the world more believable, increasing our suspension of disbelief and pulling us further into our unhealthy addiction the game.

Weather meant Sims had to dress appropriately if they wanted to go outside in the snow without freezing to death or getting struck by lightning. Probably not a good idea to have a snowball fight in that bathing suit, Miss Goth. Seasons was remade for Sims 3 and was announced for Sims 4 during summer 2018.

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I came out here to have a good time and honestly my snowman is feeling very attacked.

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First version of Gardening skill was able to influence Plant Sims and be influenced by weather and temperature.

6. Sims 2: University

Sims 2: University Official Trailer

In reality college is four years of suffering in exchange for investment in your future. In University it’s an opportunity to party and gain skill points. Sims could enroll in one of three universities and could pursue degree-exclusive careers.

Sims were able to join a fraternity or sorority in College Town and making friends with the right Sims entered them into a secret society. With easily-trashed grades and a lightweight stomach, University captured the romanticized college experience.It ended up being remade for Sims 3.

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It's like they found my awkward freshman year photos.

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Are we still posing like this?

7. Sims 3: Ambitions

Sims 3: Ambitions Official Trailer

Before Ambitions, jobs had been little more than a trade-off of time and Simoleons. When Ambitions came out with a modified career progression system, a Sim’s work felt dynamic for the first time since Open for Business.

Players could choose how their Sims acted on the job and events that took place at work impacted their lives. Sims could also choose to register as self-employed within a Skill Career. Similar mechanics were included in the Sims 4 base game and explored further in Sims 4: Get to Work.

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Even the key visuals say "don't let your dreams be memes." 

sims 3 ambitions, ambitions, best sims expansions
Nerdy Sims got adventurous by being Inventors.

8. Sims 3: Generations

Sims 3: Generations Official Trailer

Generations added vibrant life experiences to each stage of a Sim’s life. New activities and decisionss were included to “embrace the complicated realities” of human life. The expansion of family life and lifetime events touched the hearts of Live Mode Simmers.

Children could play with imaginary friends and teens could go through emotional turmoil. Graduations were family affairs and the passing of a loved one became a real heartbreak. Giving diversity to family life was one of the most well-received additions to Sims 3.

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Even in The Sims we can’t escape parents taking embarrassing prom photos.

sims 3 generations, generations, best sims expansions
Generations let players develop unique family dynamics.

9. Sims 3: Late Night

Sims 3 Late Night Official Trailer

No, it’s not Urbz: Sims in the City. But it definitely has that vibe.

Late Night included the first city to ever appear in the core Sims series. Bridgeport re-introduced the thrills of hard partying, apartment living, and Celebrity Sims. New skills and social interactions based on nightlife were added including bartending and dancing.

More important than the city itself were the details of urban life that made it believable. Scaffolding and construction zones dotted Bridgeport and outside noise could keep apartment residents up at all hours. Sims 4: City Living emulates a similar experience.

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No, it's not Urbz: Sims in the City. But it definitely has that vibe.

sims 3 late night, late night, best sims expansions
You can form a band through friendly interactions partying with other Sims. Rock on!

10. Sims 4: Get Together

Sims 4: Get Together Official Trailer

Get Together is to-date the only Sims 4 expansion to bring a completely new social mechanic to the series. With Clubs, you can set rules, purchase perks, and hang out easily with your buddies in Windenburg.

This is the first Sims game to offer a dynamic social group function. Giving new life to socializing and letting players create their own cliques was an innovative addition and a natural progression based on how the games have developed over time.

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Club Points in Get Together allow you to buy perks that apply to Club members. This is especially helpful if your group is skill or hobby based.

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A club for fancy senior Sims? I’ll drink to that.

Which Sims expansions have been your favorites? Do you agree with my picks?

If you're an obsessive Simmer like me, you might also enjoy:

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Gamer Since: 1998
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