Women and The Sims

When I first started reading the Gee book, he mentioned that women made up the majority of The Sims players. As both a woman and an avid Sims fan, this made me wonder why? I have been playing The Sims since the original deployment of the game in 2000. I have all the expansion packs for The Sims, five of the expansion packs for The Sims 2, and I have The Sims 3 installed on my laptop here at school and The Sims 3: Pets for PS3. Whatever it is that has women hooked on the game has sure got ahold of me.

After spending the weekend trying to figure out how they got my attention and STILL hold it, I figured out what that game has that many other do not. It allows me to play God. Moreover, it permits me to play God in my own life. I can set up a sim that looks like me and has my name and have myself marry whom ever I wish. I am then allowed to live out my life in whatever way I wish – even in ways that would never be possible in real life. Though the object of my affection has changed throughout the years, the Sims always allowed it.

Girls always want to plan and fantasize about their future, even at a young age. The Sims is an outlet to live out ones entire fantasized life whereas without it the best one can do is imagination. That is what I have decided is the main reason The Sims has held my and so many other women’s attention so long. We can live out fantasies and not have to worry what anyone thinks. Do any other Simmers have any other reasons they love the game?

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. smithale
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 11:22:03

    Also, (and this may sound a bit stereotypical, but) The Sims includes a large amount of womenly things like decorating and fashion. Romance also plays a large part in The Sims; part of the allure to the game is creating soap-opera-like relationship drama.

    I think, if Sims were able to murder each other or play sports, the number of male players might increase.


  2. juanve
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 11:26:17

    I personally have never played Sims, but my younger sister loves the game, and she’s probably been playing it for about five years now. And I totally agree- my parents disapproved of the game because it was giving my sister the idea of playing God, but she loved it! After playing character after character, she was always able to direct and control the virtual person’s life, and sometimes she would do the most random things for laugh or just to see what would happen. If anything, it was her way of acting out different lives or actions she would never be able to achieve in reality. To this day, whenever she plays it, she loves being able to say “Look what happens when I do this.” and then laughing whenever her virtual character plays it out. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to play God?


  3. Stephanie
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 23:37:26

    I too love playing The Sims 3. This game is one of my favorites, and it could easily be the game on which I’ve logged the most hours. It’s not the only EA simulator game I’ve played either. I grew up on SimTown and I also enjoy Spore and The Sims Medieval. (Interestingly, The Sims Medieval begins with the statement “You are the Watcher,” with the Watcher literally being the god of that world.)

    As to why The Sims is so appealing to women, another Sim fan expressed her love for the game, and mine as well, using an apt simile. She said, “The Sims are like dolls for grown-ups.” Now that I’ve heard this, I can’t forget it, and the comparisons are everywhere. Both let people, mostly girls, control characters, determining what they wear, who they hang out with, what kind of house they live in, and what they do with their time. Barbie dolls and actions figures were my favorite toys growing up. The Sims 3 is the next step, because now my “dolls” will act partially of free will if I want them to, and there are other characters and locations that my own Sims can interact with, even though I’m playing alone.

    Perhaps one big draw for women in the Sims 3 is the major focus on relationships between people. Personally, my favorite Sims to play with were the ones I sent out into the world to make friends/enemies/lovers, as opposed to the ones locked up at home grinding skills. The game play itself was more rewarding when my characters were social.

    While I certainly see the draw that these god-mod games have on women, I still see several examples of men playing games like The Sims 3. My favorite Sims 3 fan site was created by a male, and the site features several prominent male gamers who write many of the strategy guides. My younger brothers have shown interests in these games as well, though not to the same extent as me. They preferred SimTown, which focused more on buildings than people. It’s not that my brothers don’t like this type of game; they just prefer sports games like Madden or first person shooters like Call of Duty, so those are the games they go to first.


  4. hansmd6
    Jan 24, 2012 @ 23:50:52

    I’m a guy, and I have played the Sims 1 and 2 extensively because of how much I enjoyed them. They were fun and all, and I certainly liked buying more, building houses, etc., but the problem with the games was that they always had a LOW ceiling in terms of end-game (can’t believe I’m discussing Sims end-game…). You’d make a bunch of money, buy the best stuff… and then nothing. Yeah, I could dish out the money for the many expansions, but they’re basically providing virtual items for my dollar and never seemed to be a huge expansion (though Nightlife and Pets may have been exceptions). Eventually you would hit success, and then I got bored.

    My favorite part of the game was easily the “building” aspect: rearranging your house, new levels, wallpaper, etc. However, there too were limitations (number of floors, inability to build underground networks, and other such things. I feel like these detract from the immersion of the game overall, and it made it feel less “god-like.” Having played Minecraft for a few months now, I can definitely say that it does a fantastic job of capturing that same building aspect without as much limitation. If anyone finds themselves liking those aspects of The Sims, and wanted to try it out in another fashion, I’d definitely recommend it!


  5. Jungwoo Nahm
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 01:42:20

    I used to love playing Sims. Since I don’t have time to play games, I stopped playing. (I spending whole days to build my dream house, that I got tired even before playing actual games.) But I miss those days. From Sims to Sims 3, there are more abilities you can do, which made me be more additive to this game. One aspect of what I love about the Sims is that I have more control over one’s life(?), unlike reality. It’s much easier to earn money and spend money in Sims world. You can create any types of person, maybe someone that you wish you would be. It definitely gives you a feeling of “god-like”.


  6. enreamer
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 00:13:20

    For those who commented on this post and for others who might be interested, Gee recently co-authored a book called Women and Gaming: The Sims and Twenty-First Century Learning. In this book, Gee argues that the creative abilities that are exemplified through the Sims, and through other games like the Sims that allow players to create their own extensive worlds and to influence them, closely mirror the ideal education of the future, which is user-focused and constantly innovative. Interesting that we all love the Sims-and that a book was published that acknowledges this!


  7. Clare Obaahema (@obaahema1959)
    Jun 11, 2013 @ 17:23:11

    i like the sims for the money, hair (need more styles) and being a scientist. i DON’T like the aspect of my sim longing to get married and have kids. give it a rest, guys (sims creators); not all of us are wrapped up in stuff like that. i wonder if the male sims behave like that. love being a scientist!


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