The SIMS has truly become a top life simulation game. One can live out another entire life in the game. SIMS has become a personable game to many. Living out your fantasy, trying out wacky things, and interacting with other SIMS that you create or haven’t. There is so much to do in the game. A major component of SIMS is character creation, where you can customize the physical look of your avatar, known as “Create a Sim” (CAS) in the game. Unfortunately, like other customizable games, this is where they fall short.
This is not slight against the SIMS team. They created a game that is complex and difficult to build. I can’t imagine the time and skill it took. However, the character creation does not reflect reality, especially for people of colour. They find themselves having to use custom content (CC) to have accurate representation. While the default settings are “fine” for non-people of colour, others have to find workarounds. Modders create custom content (CC) that can be used in the game, such as clothes, skin, makeup, etc. There are hundreds of CC out there for free. It has become a major part of the gameplay and players can truly their lived reality in the SIMS.
Players have consistently asked for improvements to CAS, such as a petition signed by 84,000 to add darker skin tones, more hairstyles to reflect their reality, ethnic clothing, and more. Where electronic arts (EA), the company that owns SIMS are slow to respond while there are individual modders who are filling in the gaps.
You can see the difference CC can make below:
The addition of custom content doesn’t just make the CAS better but also helps in creating a more personalized experience in the SIMS environment. On Replayall’s podcast, there was an episode where a Simmer Autumn, used CC to create a world in SIMS where she lived out life and included her grandma who had pass away in it. The CC was a key component in bringing the world she knew into the game to life. She would use CC to have exact items she had in her childhood, make the people she knew and love look as close as possible to reality. It was a beautiful and touching story that shows the importance of CC to SIMS.
This problem is found in many games, this may be due to lack of user testing, diversity in the workplace, or other reasons. There are a growing number of games that are pushing for hyper customization in character creation. One game, for example, uses your face on a character. Hopefully, future iterations of SIMS will improve the CAS system, have default items that include items from other cultures, and have gameplay that encompasses life situations.
Let me what improvements can be made to the game in the comments, or anything else you want to comment on!