The Sims 4 Bridging Generations: The Game’s Evolution Since The Sims 1

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Author: Jovanna
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Do you remember Sims 1, 2, and 3? The evolution of Sims games brought with it so many beautiful features and advanced options, and every game series was a big leap forward for Sims lovers. Read on to learn more about how the game has changed over the years, from the beginning to The Sims 4!

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The Evolution of Sims game: How we went from The Sims 1 to The Sims 4

Do you remember Bob Newbie and his tiny home? He was one of the first characters we had the pleasure to play, along with the Goths and a few others introduced in The Sims 1 base game. Today, in The Sims 4, and many expansion packs later, we can play many more households, make extremely complex characters, build realistic luxurious homes, learn more skills than ever, and play with super realistic interactions.

Since 2000 and the first Sims game release, the game underwent major transformations in all aspects of the gameplay. Graphics are vastly advanced, Sims worlds are more beautiful than ever, live mode options are endless, interactions are juicy, and build/buy and CAS menus are next level. As we are warming up for The Sims 5, it’s impossible not to look back at the old Sims series with nostalgia. So, let’s do a little nostalgic time travel together, go over key game features, and explore the evolution of Sims, from Sims 1 to Sims 4!

1. CAS: From Simplified Looks to Complex Genetics

The Sims 4 Bridging Generations How the Game Has Evolved Since The Sims 1

If you ever played the Sims 1, you know what it feels like to have a favorite face and have a few Sims walk around looking completely identical. The Sims 1 CAS is very simplified. We could choose between two sexes and three skin tones. There was no hair, outfit, weight, or face customization. Instead, we could pick from a few heads and a few complete outfits for each sex and age. Sims were ready to move in in just a few minutes. This changed in Sims 2 with the evolution of Sims.

  • Sims 2hairstyles, hair colors, eyes and eye color, makeup, accessories, and facial features became individually adjustable for the very first time. We could not only mix different bottoms and tops but also choose outfits for 7 occasions, from casual to sportswear.
  • Sims 3 – In Sims 3, we got the fabulous color wheel, that allowed us to pick colors and patterns with precision to customize skin tones and clothes. Weight, muscles, breasts, and facial features became even more adjustable with sliders.
  • Sims 4 – Today we can spend hours just creating a family! Every part of Sims’s bodies in Sims 4 is plastic and easy to manipulate and tweak. Although we lost the color wheel, we got many other options. Genetics are vastly improved, faces and bodies look less generic, and our Sims look better than ever.

2. Sims worlds: how have the worlds evolved?

The Sims 4 Bridging Generations How the Game Has Evolved Since The Sims 1

The story of the Sims franchise started in Neighborhood 1 from the base game, a world with only six houses, and 6 new neighborhoods were later added to the game via expansion packs. The neighborhood map, in Sims 1 is pretty static, and we can only assess individual lots. Being on individual lots felt like being isolated in time and space.

Sims 2: 3d experience and custom worlds

Sims 2 – In comparison, the Sims 2 worlds are more dynamic, and the game allows us to see them from a realistic, drone-like 3D perspective. Thanks to this evolution of Sims we could easily see neighboring homes while playing an active household. Combined, there are 6 worlds in Sims 2, and they are customizable. Not only that, but this Sims version allowed players to create worlds from scratch. So, if you happened to run out of lots to build on, you could easily place empty lots in the world you are playing, or create a never-seen-before world yourself!

Sims 3: The open worlds system

The Sims 4 Bridging Generations How the Game Has Evolved Since The Sims 1

Sims 3 worlds were revolutionary, and one of the favorite upgrades ever for many simers. This is the first and the only time in Sims history where we got to have open worlds. We not only had a 3D world perspective but could also explore worlds on foot, on a bike or in a car. Sims could jog from one lot to another, knock on people’s doors, and interact with townies in the streets.

Sims 4: Going back to the basics

In Sims 4, we are saying goodbye to open worlds and saying hello to loading screens once again, which seemed like a bit of a downgrade. Much like in Sims 1, the number of lots in Sims 4 is fixed, and it welcomes back static, simple map views. Sims can fully explore the neighborhood they live in or are visiting. However, to explore other neighborhoods, they need to do some traveling. Although worlds in Sims 4 look better than ever and there are 24 of them, we can play only with what we’ve got, and sometimes it feels like there is never enough lots to play with.

3. build and buy menus

The Sims 4 Bridging Generations How the Game Has Evolved Since The Sims 1

Do you recall being able to build only a two-floor house in Sims 1? Building homes was so simple, and there were only 3 lot types. Although building was fun, it was pretty simplistic, and building tools were less intuitive. With the evolution of Sims, the number of floors increased, and so did the number of swatches. Today, in Sims 4, we have a bunch of different lot types, all of which can have lot traits. Wanna live in a haunted house or off the grid? Just pick a trait, and the lot will have paranormal activity, no matter who lives on it!

Unlike pools, that have been with us since Sims 1, basements were introduced in Sims 2. Terrain tools and slopes, although a part of the first game, are now much easier to work with. With Sims 4, we can easily stack objects, place clutter, use all corners of Sim’s home to decorate, and even choose the height of the walls.

Thanks to the evolution of Sims, there are now plenty of modern details to play with. We have a click-and-drag feature that helps us easily alter space, manage base heights, and arrange objects so that we can create cozy, themed homes that vibe with us. Using space on the building grid is far more practical. Furniture is easily searchable, and we have more objects to play with than ever, especially thanks to the highly developed mod and CC community for Sims 4.

4. Personalities: From one-dimensional characters to complex individuals with likes and dislikes

Looking back at Sims 1 characters, they lived in a simplified human life simulation. The way they interacted and went about their day was far more mechanical than what we have in the latest Sims game. Sims from Sims 1 also had needs, careers, and relationships, and they could build skills and have a family, much like those in Sims 2, 3, and 4. However, life was pretty simple.

From Sims 2 onward, Sims could start building memories and be more seriously impacted by their experiences. For instance, a successful completion of an aspiration would grant Sims fulfillment for quite some time. But Sims 2 was just the beginning. Fast forward a few years, and we have Sims from Sims 4 that are far more sensitive. They are susceptible to mood changes depending on what they are experiencing. Their overall mood isn’t only dictated by their needs and major life events. They can also get distressed even over mild inconveniences, such as flirtation gone wrong.

In Sims 1 and 2, there were only 5 personality traits for every Sim, and we could only tweak how prevalent each of the five was by adding points. However, with the evolution of Sims, personality traits became more complex, and we can now pick from more than 90 traits for every Sim. Unlike in Sims 1,2 and 3, personality traits, can now change over time if Sims don’t do activities that support those traits.

5. story progression and character development

The Sims 4 Bridging Generations How the Game Has Evolved Since The Sims 1

Memories, as well as aspirations, likes and dislikes (turn-ons and offs), fears, and wants, all have their origins in Sims 2. In all game versions, these allow us to develop wholesome life stories for individual Sims and whole families. Although these changed and evolved from Sims 2 to 4, the idea behind them remained more or less the same. Sims 1 didn’t have any of these game perks. Sims had interests they loved talking about, but that was pretty much it.

In the latest game series, Sims 4, Sims can gradually develop and change their preferences, and youngsters can develop attachment styles. Every life stage has unique perks, challenges, and skills for Sims to tackle, and all life stages are nicely interconnected. The evolution of Sims made life less predictable and created space for characters to gradually develop as their life unfolds.

Compared to Sims 1, Sims from the last game have more free will, are more spontaneous, have a complex psychological makeup, and as such, feel much more human. In Sims 4 we also have a neighborhood stories system, that adds spice to households we aren’t currently playing. Just imagine dating someone from another household only to find out they just moved out or died.

More on SNOOTYSIMS: What are ways to create excellent and exciting narratives for your Sims? In this article, we’ll teach you how to weave some cool Sims 4 stories!

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6. Building Relationships and socializing became more wholesome

Our Sims were always social creatures. Sims could form positive and negative relationships and have pleasant (+) and unpleasant (-) reactions to others in social situations as early as Sims 1. The Simology panel has evolved and can now give us a detailed file on a person our Sim is connected to, from their traits and employment status to compatibility info.

Sims from Sims 1 had interests, so if someone wanted to talk about Sci-Fi stuff to your Sim, and they were not super passionate about it, the reaction would be negative. Their personality had an impact on their interactions too, but not as nearly as it does in later game versions, especially Sims 3 and 4. Personality traits and social preferences are a part of the evolution of Sims, and they now matter a huge deal, so Sims’s personality will dictate how they socialize.

Sims today have dating and WooHoo preferences, pronounces, different family dynamics with family members, and can be compatible or incompatible with others. They can fall in love multiple times, choose where to live, how to marry, get divorced, and experiment. There are different levels of friendship and a few different stages and types of romantic relationships. Sims from Sims 1 could only marry someone outside their households, which would later change in Sims 2. This is also when wedding parties and wedding arches became a thing! In Sims 4, there are a few ways to expand the family, and Sims can even have a science baby with a friend or alone, or adopt kids.

To make relationships more real, check out the WonderfulWhims Mod!

7. More Skills and Career options

With the evolution of Sims also came the evolution of skills, careers, and education. Our characters went from being able to learn basic skills, such as cooking and logic in Sims 1, to learning modern skills like programming, or streaming videos in Sims 4. Children from Sims 1 couldn’t learn skills at all. In Sims 4, all Sims, except newborns, have some skills to master.

Rabbithole careers were always a part of the game. Sims 3 featured active careers that require players to follow Sims to work and actively participate in their workday. Sims 3 and 4 feature both rabbit holes and active careers. However, Sims 4 has a few other fun career options. Adult Sims can opt for semi-active and freelance careers, or get odd jobs from time to time to get money. Much like in Sims 2 and 3, teens from Sims 4 can get part-time jobs to earn some simoleons.

The school has changed too with the evolution of Sims. School was always a rabbit hole type of experience, from Sims 1 to Sims 4. However, in Sims 4: High School Years, we can totally follow Sims to school on an active school day, and see how their school day unfolds! Kids from Sims 1 didn’t have many after-school obligations, and now they can not only get help with homework but also opt for after-school activities. Higher education became a thing in Sims 2 and remained with us all these years thanks to different University expansions.

8. Life, death and building family legacy

The Sims 4 Bridging Generations How the Game Has Evolved Since The Sims 1

Do you recall the blue baby cradle from Sims 1? Sims 1 had only 2 life stages – child and adult. Sims never aged. This has changed a lot with the evolution of Sims. Today, Sims can age up from newborns to elders to die of old age. There are now so many creative ways Sims can unexpectedly die. Sims 4 has 7 life stages: infants, toddlers, children, teens, young adults, adults, and elders (plus newborns). Toddlers, teens, and elders were introduced in Sims 2, and young adults were later added in Sims 3. Infants were added fairly recently to Sims 4 in 2023.

Family trees evolved with the evolution of Sims, too. This feature wasn’t a part of the original Sims 1 game and was introduced in Sims 2 for the first time. This allowed us to play across generations, play legacy challenges, and have family trees with many ancestors. In Sims 4 familial relationships are more complex thanks to family dynamics and many personality quirks. Even the youngest, such as infants and toddlers can interact with one another and build relationships from early age.

Every age group has a set of milestones, typical for that age. Infants will have to learn how to clap or babble, toddlers will need to learn to walk, and children will want to learn how to ride a bike. We can watch our Sims grow up and become the characters we want them to be.

9. Life states and occult beings

Did you know that life states, such as spellcasters, PlantSim, werewolves, and vampires had their brief introduction in Sims 1? That’s right, we had our first glimpse of vampire, witchy, zombie, and werewolf presence in Sims 1: Makin’ Magic. However, it was in Sims 2 when creatures like vampires, werewolves, aliens, or witches had their grand entrance. Occult beings have been since improved and tweaked in Sims 3 and 4, so much so that today, in Sims 4, we can have an 8-member ghost family!

For instance, thanks to the evolution of Sims, ghosts have been haunting the living Sims Sims since the first game, but it’s only in Sims 4 that they became fully playable characters. All occult beings in Sims 2, 3, and 4 have some superpowers, or some quirks typical for their life state.

Some creatures, like mermaids, fairies, and unicorns were late to the game, being introduced for the first time in Sims 3. Fairies and zombies were not re-introduced in Sims 4.

10. expansion packs

Every Sims game had one thing in common – they all started with a base game, and all came with fabulous expansion packs. Sims 1 had 7 expansion packs, all of which were a historical introduction to expansion pack themes in later games, in one form or the other. However, with the evolution of Sims, the Sims team also introduced stuff packs, game packs, and kits. Let’s get a brief overview!


The Sims 4 Bridging Generations How the Game Has Evolved Since The Sims 1

Sims 1 had 7 expansion packs, and they were the introduction to a few key themes for the future games. For instance, this is the first time we got a glimpse of fame, pets, sent our Sims to vacations or used magic. Being the first game, it had the least amount of DLC’s. These are the packs:

  1. The Sims: Livin’ Large (2000)
  2. The Sims: House Party (2001)
  3. The Sims: Hot Date (2001)
  4. The Sims: Vacation (2002)
  5. The Sims: Unleashed (2002)
  6. The Sims: Superstar (2003)
  7. The Sims: Makin’ Magic (2003)


Sims 2 brought, not only 8 expansion packs but also introduced us to stuff packs. Combined, there were 18 DLCs, all of which had wonderful themes. There were many novelties with this game series, and being able to send Sims away to University or let them enjoy seasons for the first time were just some of those. This is how the evolution of Sims 2 looked like:

Expansion Packs:

  1. University (2005)
  2. Nightlife (2005)
  3. Open to Business (2006)
  4. Pets (2006)
  5. Seasons (2007)
  6. Bon Voyage (2007)
  7. Free Time (2008)
  8. Apartment Life (2008)

Stuff packs:

  1. Holiday Party Pack (2005)
  2. Family Fun Stuff (2006)
  3. Glamour Life Stuff (2006)
  4. Happy Holiday Stuff (2006)
  5. Celebration! Stuff (2007)
  6. H&M Fashion Stuff (2007)
  7. Teen Style Stuff (2007)
  8. Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff (2008)
  9. IKEA Home Stuff (2008)
  10. Mansion & Garden Stuff (2008)

SIMS 3: Going bigger, getting better!

The Sims 4 Bridging Generations How the Game Has Evolved Since The Sims 1

The third Sims series had 20 incredible DLCs. Some ideas from Sims 2 were now improved and adapted to fit into the Sims 3 scenery. Expansions were impressive and offered a lot of novelty and excitement to players, and stuff packs were a nice addition. Here is what the evolution of Sims brought us in the Sims 3:

Expansion packs:

  1. World Adventures (2009)
  2. Ambitions (2010)
  3. Late Night (2010)
  4. Generations (2011)
  5. Pets (2011)
  6. Showtime (2012)
  7. Supernatural (2012)
  8. Seasons (2012)
  9. University Life (2013)
  10. Island Paradise (2013)
  11. Into the Future (2013)

Stuff packs:

  1. High-End Loft Stuff (2010)
  2. Fast Lane Stuff (2010)
  3. Outdoor Living Stuff (2011)
  4. Town Life Stuff (2011)
  5. Master Suite Stuff (2012)
  6. Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats (2012)
  7. Diesel Stuff (2012)
  8. 70s, 80s, & 90s Stuff (2013)
  9. Movie Stuff (2013)

SIMS 4: a bunch of EP’S, GAME PACKS, stuff packs AND KITS

Finally, we’ll tackle Sims 4, the last stage of the evolution of Sims (at least for now)! The latest Sims game has 4 different types of DLCs and by far the most expansions compared to previous game generations. Currently, there are 70 DLCs to play with, all of which come with unique themes that improve gameplay. Some packs are based on previous Simsthemes, such as pets or ambitions, but also plenty of never-seen-before features, such as eco footprints from Eco Lifestyle. These are all the packs:

Expansion packs:

  1. Get to Work (2015)
  2. Get Together (2015)
  3. City Living (2016)
  4. Cats & Dogs (2017)
  5. Seasons (2018)
  6. Get Famous (2018)
  7. Island Living (2019)
  8. Discover University (2019)
  9. Eco Lifestyle (2020)
  10. Snowy Escape (2020)
  11. Cottage Living (2021)
  12. High School Years (2022)
  13. Growing Together (2023)
  14. Horse Ranch (2023)
  15. For Rent (2023) – New!

Game Packs:

  1. Outdoor Retreat (2015)
  2. Spa Day (2015)
  3. Dine Out (2016)
  4. Vampires (2017)
  5. Parenthood (2017)
  6. Jungle Adventure (2018)
  7. StrangerVille (2019)
  8. Realm of Magic (2019)
  9. Star Wars: Journey to Batuu (2020)
  10. Dream Home Decorator (2021)
  11. My Wedding Stories (2022)
  12. Werewolves (2022)

Stuff Packs:

  1. Luxury Party Stuff (2015)
  2. Perfect Patio Stuff (2015)
  3. Cool Kitchen Stuff (2015)
  4. Spooky Stuff (2015)
  5. Movie Hangout Stuff (2016)
  6. Romantic Garden Stuff (2016)
  7. Kids Room Stuff (2016)
  8. Backyard Stuff (2016)
  9. Vintage Glamour Stuff (2016)
  10. Bowling Night Stuff (2017)
  11. Fitness Stuff (2017)
  12. Toddler Stuff (2017)
  13. Laundry Day Stuff (2018)
  14. My First Pet Stuff (2018)
  15. Moschino Stuff (2019)
  16. Tiny Living Stuff (2020)
  17. Nifty Knitting Stuff (2020)
  18. Paranormal Stuff (2021)
  19. Home Chef Hustle Stuff (2023)


  1. Bust the Dust Kit (2021)
  2. Country Kitchen Kit (2021)
  3. Throwback Fit Kit (2021)
  4. Courtyard Oasis Kit (2021)
  5. Industrial Loft Kit (2021)
  6. Fashion Street Kit (2021)
  7. Incheon Arrivals Kit (2021)
  8. Blooming Rooms Kit (2021)
  9. Modern Menswear Kit (2021)
  10. Carnaval Streetwear Kit (2022)
  11. Décor to the Max Kit (2022)
  12. Moonlight Chic Kit (2022)
  13. Little Campers Kit (2022)
  14. First Fits Kit (2022)
  15. Desert Luxe Kit (2022)
  16. Pastel Pop Kit (2022)
  17. Everyday Clutter Kit (2022)
  18. Simtimates Collection Kit (2023)
  19. Bathroom Clutter Kit (2023)
  20. Greenhouse Haven Kit (2023)
  21. Basement Treasures Kit (2023)
  22. Book Nook Kit (2023)
  23. Grunge Revival Kit (2023)
  24. Poolside Splash (2023)
  25. Modern Luxe Kit (2023)

11. Graphics and game

The evolution of Sims also changes basic game options. We had dimetric projection and zooming in and out, as well as view rotation was fixed. From Sims 2 and onward, we could rotate, and zoom in and out with far more flexibility and precision, which allows us to see our homes and characters from different angles. We went from pixelated characters in Sims 1 to highly detailed Sims and environments in Sims 4. Character movement in Sims 1 was almost robotic. Animation, details, and texture quality of pretty much everything have greatly advanced, and Sims now move seamlessly and everything looks so stunning.

Today we have the in-game Gallery where we can borrow content from other Simers, and Sims is better at multitasking. Overall, there is a smooth transition from one action to the next. Game options allow us to turn on and off certain features, allowing us to have more control over the gameplay than ever!


In retrospect, Sims 1 was the pioneer of the franchise and served set the main course of game development. The main concept of the game hasn’t changed from the start till today. Sims still have needs and can die if those are unmet. They can still build relationships, choose and follow different career paths, learn skills, expand family up to 8 members, and build and furnish homes. They can earn simoleons to sustain themselves and still speak Simlish. However, the ways to go about these things have greatly improved, and with each new series came a lot of pleasant surprises.


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