Life will be simpler with some trends. Status bar, for example, to remind you to take care of yourself. Perhaps some clues about the intentions of others. Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a place to try it all, free from the consequences of the real world and the embarrassment of choices that went wrong.
Pixel by pixel, the life simulation game “The Sims” has been providing this experience for over 20 years. Since its first release in 2000, “The Sims” has become One of the best selling PC games In the world. Nor did time fade its luster.
The Sims creators on Twitch and YouTube put the game through its paces, build intricate homes, and try absurd challenges like having as many children as possible or subjecting Sims to Kafka-type psychological torture (all in good fun, of course). Some of the leading “Sims” creators are even role-playing on Instagram, showing their picture-perfect Sim lives to their other Sim friends to praise and envy.
But The Sims is also a haven for gamers of neurodiversity, some of whom grew up with the game and continue to revisit it well into adulthood. “The Sims” is an open world game, which means there is no right or wrong way to experience it. Whether one wants to run the apocalypse quickly or just help young Sims do some laundry, there are no expectations that the player himself has not set. For some with autism, ADHD, or other conditions, this means that they can design the game to be whatever they want: a place to rest in a bewildering world, a social roadmap of some kind, an alternate reality where they are in control, or just A lifelong personal interest.
The idea that The Sims offers a neater and easier version of our own world is embedded in the game’s DNA. Toymaker Will Wright lost his home in a California firestorm in Oakland-Berkeley in 1991. While rebuilding, he was moved to consider what real life was like. A series of needs that must be met? Items to own? people to love?
“When something like that happens, you get a big picture,” Tell Berkleeside in 2011. “Where do I want to live? What kind of things do I need to buy? You almost see your life as a project in progress.”
This view resonates especially with people with autism or ADHD who spoke to CNN. Neurodivergent is a non-medical term describing people whose brain develops or functions differently for some reason. According to the Cleveland Clinic. Such conditions provide equal opportunities and challenges. Parts of life that others may find easy or automatic, such as completing daily tasks, taking care of basic physical needs and interpreting social situations, are often, in the words of Monkey Wright, a “project in action.”
Helen Ashcroft, Sims operator and video game editor Autistic, she first picked the original “Sims” when she was 20 years old. Through the different stages of her life, she has found comfort and creativity in the open play of the game.
“I’ve always been fascinated by human behavior. I also love any game that allows me to build and be creative. The Sims combined those two things,” she tells CNN.
Of course, you don’t need to be nerve-wracking to find comfort in low-stakes, come-and-go games like “The Sims”. But for people like Ashcroft, the organized social interactions and the ability to create different situations act almost as a real-life laboratory.
“I can play in different ways depending on my mood. Sims have their own feelings for me to discover and I can take on different situations in a safe environment. Diverse players can explore the dynamics of relationships that don’t come naturally to us.
bungee, Video game journalist and Sims creator An autistic and preferring to be called by his social media admin, he says he turns to video games as a form of escape from reality.
“The one thing that makes The Sims so special is that it’s not ‘punishment,'” he told CNN. ‘It’s a very good oasis, so to speak. My daily life demands a lot from me, and I have to just sit back and do whatever I want with these little people.”
Benji says he gets the most satisfaction out of the game by setting goals for Sims and drawing what their story will be like. And although, as a very social person, he doesn’t identify much with the emotional aspects of the game, there have been times when he suddenly felt like seeing him.
“At some point, the developers introduced a new trait – now Sim can be ‘over-achievement’. So when I applied this trait to one of my Sims, he would get bored and restless when his life would fall asleep. When he took on challenging tasks, he was happy Very acquired. And I thought, “Wow. I’ve never had a lot to do with a Sim in my life.”
Educators and psychologists have noted the benefits of life simulation games such as “The Sims”, not only for groups with neurodiversity, but also those with traumatic brain injuries or those from poor backgrounds. Research from the University of Pittsburgh Sims-like presentations helped a group of cognitively challenged children improve problem-solving skills and learn how different traits affect behavior.
Research from the University of Kentucky It is suggested that simulation games can help those with ADHD, thereby honing executive functioning skills.
People with autism and ADHD aren’t the only ones who feel good about living in a world of their own design. As communities have naturally formed around “The Sims” and its many expansions and modifications, other marginal identities have realized a similar value. Some LGBTQ “Sims” players say the game has helped them on their way to living their true selves. (Sims have always been able to have romantic relationships with any other adult, regardless of gender.)
“When I realized I was gay, I couldn’t share it with others,” Polish “Sims” user DOTSim For Electronic Arts, the video game company that publishes “The Sims”. “I think the opportunity to express myself freely in a safe game environment gave me the courage to finally get out.”
Over the years, EA has released several updates that allow people to fully customize their appearance, ethnicity, cultural identity, gender identity, and sexuality. Benji, who is from São Paulo, Brazil, says he has occasionally noticed updates involving cultures outside the United States, such as music by international artists recorded in the Simlish language.
This inclusion underscores the real reason why hardcore gamers continue to reboot The Sims, year in and year out, in all stages of life. When the world doesn’t seem built to you, it’s a relief to be able to build one yourself.
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