Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Rick Casteel

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Electronic Arts
Price Range: $35-50
Learning curve time: 30-45 mins.
Age level: 16+
ESRB Rating: Teen
Patches / Upgrades: Yes
Game Web site
System Requirements: P-233, 32RAM, 300 meg HD

Genre: Simulation
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
   (some objectionable elements)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 5 of 5
Adult Content: 3 of 5

Box art of 'The Sims'

Sometimes a game comes along that catches you off guard. “The Sims” proves just such a game. I had read about it in the gaming press for some time. Being from the developer and producer of the famous “Sim City” games, the completion of “The Sims” was hotly anticipated. I was skeptical, as the premise of the game involved players developing simulated characters and controlling and manipulating their life. To me, that left too much room for the developers to work in worldly concepts and gratuitous situations. I'm glad to say for the most part my fears were unfounded.

“The Sims” takes the simple concept of playing dolls to the ultimate level. Players create characters and assign certain attributes to their avatar (a computer created representation with human characteristics). They then build a house, furnish it, get a job, make acquaintances, pay the bills, learn new skills and, if wanted marry and have children. The strategy of play is much deeper that you glean from this brief description. Though your Sims starts out as an adult, with many of the necessities of life, they are rather like children. You must make sure they eat, go to the restroom, clean up after themselves, get to work on time, learn how to cook etc. Your Sims success and happiness really depends on you. "The Sims" is an addictive mix of role-playing and strategy. While not role-playing in the typical sense, you do create and develop a character. The strategy from the sense of finding out what will make you character grow and flourish.

Screenshot from 'The Sims'. Illustration copyrighted.
My wife and I had a hoot playing “The Sims” together. We created a married couple, Catt Woman and Dogg Mann. Somehow, it seems appropriate! Her Sim was given high levels of neatness and kindness while I went for the higher playful and intelligence scores. Depending on the skill set you assign, your Sim will have certain strengths and needs. My Sim got grumpy if he wasn't directed to entertain himself at times (listen to music, watch TV). My wife's Sim was a social butterfly and always had neighbors dropping by to talk, even following her to the bathroom! Oh yes, you do have to make sure they get to the bathroom!

“The Sims” doesn't lead or direct your actions in developing your character, that is all up to you. That does lead room for some questionable actions. You can choose to live with another character and start a family without marriage. You can make advances towards neighbors, married or un-married. There is no overt sex or nudity. When your character takes a shower or uses "the facilities", they are blurred, when they get ready for bed, they twist in a whirlwind and viola, pajamas!

These issues have been of little consequence to my family in playing. It provided lessons in budgeting, work, fellowship, housekeeping, education and responsibility. As with all worldly situations, it presents an opportunity to discuss life from a Godly perspective. Unfortunately, your Sims relationship with God is not a characteristic that plays a part in their success or development. If I could make an enhancement to the game it would be to add this feature. Leaving it out is deceptive in relation to being truly fulfilled in life. For as we know from Eph. 2:12, "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world". No matter how successful we seem in life, if we are without God we are without hope! If we think otherwise we are truly in a pretend world.

Year of Release—2000

The addon pack does feature an option to add a vibrating heart shaped bed that a couple can “play” in (one sees the covers ruffling around as the couple “plays” under them) but we don't see any actual sex. The game can get pretty wild when you "mess with" the Sim's lives (barricading them in the bathroom for instance, or playing a total slob and insulting everyone you meet). Personally I think the mischief one can get into in the game makes it all the more appealing (hey, at least we don't do that stuff to our REAL neighbors, right?). In all, a good rendition of the game, and adding religion to the mix could make it more interesting. My Ratings: [5/4]
   —Kurgan, age 22

We have several SimCity type games, so when we came across "The Sims", I had to get it. The basic game is less objectionable than the Living Large Expansion Pack. All our children are now grown, but I was still reluctant to get the Expansion Pack because of things like a voodoo doll, and "Love bed" where they can "play in bed", a "magic lamp", crystal ball, concoctanation station where you can create potions. Also using the backyard telescope users can be abducted by aliens. Also, if you create your Sims very outgoing, it increases the chance they will get in the hottub with others in the nude. There is a nude patch (blur) and you can't really see anything, but it still makes me uncomfortable. However, you do not have to select these items, to put into play, in your game. We do not have anything to do with these items in our game, and enjoy the game. I do not recommend this game for children, not even young teens. If you do get the game and have minor children, you need to supervise them closely (in my opinion). I do like the creativity it allows the players and how it allows the players to really personalize the game. I have put up a web site for Christian Sims, so that Christians can add items to their game that does have a Christian theme to them. My web site is: I would rate this game for older teens and adults. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Terri Scott, age 44

"…This game is very subtle in what it teaches and probably a lot more dangerous than a blatantly occult or violent game. Because it is presented as such a normal suburban lifestyle simulation, kids can come to believe that astrology, materialism, and unrestrained sexuality are normal adult behaviors. This Trojan Horse packs a lot more deceit than any other game I have played to date and earns a 50% (F) for Epicurean excess."
   —John Gocke, Al Menconi Ministries

Comments from Young People…

The game is great! There are some objectional things in it like the homosexuality that you can force upon your Sims, or the bed in the Expansion in which your adult sims can "play" though this is open to interpretation. If you really find these objects to be offensive you can go into the files of the Game and delete them in the Game Data / Objects area. Also I wish that more people who can create objects would start Christian web sites from which they can be Downloaded. If you are interested in making objects, go to and you can find a link to Download Transmogrifier! My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Jordan, age 16

I really love this game. It is fun and addicting, so much so that you might have to hide it from yourself. I did have a weird religious experience while I was playing it though. You see, there is a "free will" button on the game that is automatically on unless you tell it otherwise. That means, unless you tell the sims what to do, they do anything they want, which is usually eat. Frustrated, I turned off their free will. I was amazed at how much I DIDN'T like the game when the free will was turned off. It was like bossing around pathetic little robots. Kinda made me think about why God gave us free will, even when we want to have a snack instead of rack up those creativity points… My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Arian Lang, age 16

…The Sims, well, it's one of the best games for the computer! There is some objectional things in it, like the kissing. But nothing too offensive. I've seen better graphics. But the gameplay is awesome! I already have all my friends living in my neighborhood! But the thrill about it is, you get to control your life in a computer world! Score this an A in my book.
   —Chris Jurewicz, age 12

I'm a big fan of Sim City. So when The Sims came out, I was really excited. I didn't get until a couple months after it came out, but it was worth the wait. First off, I want to point out the gameplay. It's so simple to play, I learned to play it in 10 minutes! The graphics I was hoping would be better. But down to the Christian Values. In the expansion pak you can get Christmas trees and that kinda stuff. But there is some objectionable material. I don't mind the kissing or flirting, and when they have to go, they have to go. It's nice that they put a large blur around your sims when they are going to the bathroom, taking a shower, etc. In conclusion, The Sims is something that you should buy. I don't recommend it for little kids though. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Chris Jurewicz, age 12

I saw this game in our local mall and I had to get it. I've never really liked games like Sim City or any of that but this is so much fun. Now, to warn you there is a zodiac sign assigned to every character and makes some characters more compatible with some other characters, and less compatible with others. Your sims can die if they start cooking and don't know much about it, or when changing a light bulb they may be electrocuted. If they fall asleep in the pool they drown (it doesn't show anything awful just a small urn {ashes}). Also they can have homosexual relationships but only if you force them to (their naturual inclination is to be with the opposite sex). You are not forced to see anything you don't want to. Just like the internet there is pornography, but you don't have to look at it. This game is terribly addicting to play (and to watch others play). My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Caleb Thiessen, age 16

To update on the religious content in the game, in the expansion pack some new objects are a Christmas Tree and menorah. So, the religious themes are handled. Plus, it goes to show that the Sims aren't necessarily astrologists of any sort, if you choose to buy these objects. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Jordan Harriman, age 15

OK, I never really liked "Sim City" or any of that, but when I saw "The Sims", I couldn't resist. I think that "The Sims" can teach people how God feels when we don't follow his word. When I create someone, and they are dirty and mean, and don't do what I say, it really upsets me. I think this is how God feels and it has motivated me to try my best to please him. There is no sexual content other than a little kissing or flirting, and one of the few downs is that you can create homosexuals. People use the bathroom and take showers, but there's a big censor block over them. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Bonnie, age 13

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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