Gameplay Variety in Sims Fan Videos

One of the things that I’m curious about is how people talk about their gaming differently, and today I thought I’d look at it through fan videos on youtube for the Sims 4. The Sims, as I’ve mentioned before, is an awesome series because you almost cannot play it badly, and there are so many different ways to play it and every one of them is legit. Sometimes in, say, WoW, people argue about what is legitimate or “real” play, excluding things like role playing or pet battles, or any raiding below mythic level. I find the Sims community much more open (although don’t get me wrong, there are still arguments!) and accepting of different types of play – some prefer to play families, some prefer immortals, some create stories, some build – and every type is legitimate.

Some videos are a bit NSFW with language (but personally, I love that. Shows they are passionate players!)

A Sim playing the Sims - Simception!
A Sim playing the Sims – Simception!


Here we have a dude playing the Create-A-Sim (CAS) demo to create a SimSelf. A SimSelf is creating a Sim to look exactly like yourself, and giving them similar traits. Some people play these to re-create their lives with their family and partner, some people do it to create a fantasy life (including marriage to celebrities SimSelfies!). The Sims 4 is particularly good in that there is a lot more flexibility in the creation of Sims than previous games.

The player (also known as a Simmer) is analysing themselves through this process and works hard to try to make his SimSelf more like him. In part, this is at times a bit difficult perhaps due to his unfamiliarity with the new UI, but also he is critiquing how the game doesn’t have enough options to make the SimSelf true-to-life – such as through the player’s attempts to find out if he can give the SimSelf darker eyelashes as it is one of the player’s IRL (In Real Life) defining features.


This video is about structured gameplay. This Simmer is playing a legacy challenge. Challenges are entirely fan-created, with a story, rules, and sometimes points. This is up to the individual player to choose to abide by a challenge or not, they are not required for gameplay at all, but offer up an interesting alternative gameplay style. In this, the Simmer describes the character’s background and personality. This Simmer chose the very popular and well-known Legacy Challenge, which is generally about creating and following a single family line and creating limits around gameplay (no restarting after bad events, house lot must be the same, no resurrecting the deceased, traits must be randomly generated – which is on the page). In the video, the player discusses the rules and how she will be following them (there are a range of options).

Here is a written version of a legacy challenge by another player, whom writes as the character themselves.

This is showing gameplay with a SimSelf, but without any per-arranged challenge rules. Unlike the previous video, this player does not have an overall goal, more playing along as the game inspires and creating her own motivations. I found this interesting because the Simmer does what I do, in that she swaps between ‘I’/’We’ and ‘They’. This video also shows more mechanics of the gameplay and how it works, but also how the Simmer is constructing and contextualising the Sims actions (such as when one of the child Sims goes to get cake for breakfast, the Simmer sarcastically says how that is such a healthy choice). Later, she justifies choices she makes in the game based on her own personal IRL experiences.

This is a Sim voiceover series, where the game is recorded, but the player/s style it like a movie, without the interface and establish a story. Here, we have a new Sim, Lauren, that joins the neighbourhood, and how the neighbours react (each with their own existing relationships and tensions). This is not about the actual gameplay at all, but a player’s story creation. It imitates movies in many ways with meticulous editing, with scenic shots, montages, background music, and adjusting camera angles to face the Sim speaking.

Now this one is a totally other type of gameplay, focused entirely on the architecture and building aspect of the game, and not the Sims themselves. Sims, buildings, and even individual rooms can be uploaded to the Sims Gallery to share with other players. The voiceover includes some insights into the building and how she wanted to create and the problems she has in realising it, as well as personal details about her holidays and being sick. Some players will design a building based off real plans, but this player is building a house that she personally would like and creating a sort of story for the house, that it is rented, has been lived in by people before and so has some mismatching windows, has the cheapest stove etc.


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