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20 years ago, The Sims showed millennials a digital promised land where anything is possible

by Alexis Timmons (2020-02-24)

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id="article-body" class="row" section="article-body"> In The Sims, becoming an astronaut isn't a crazy dream.

EA Games It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since my sister and I tried to load the first Sims game onto our crusty old Dell desktop. It took forever. We sat side by side, passing the time by watching the loading bar creep forward. After what seemed like an eternity, it was time to play.

The Sims is a life simulation game from EA released in 2000 that has more than proved its staying power. Developers Maxis and Electronic Arts have steadily released multiple sequels, dozens of expansions, spin-offs, console and handheld versions. In 2016, The Sims landed a spot in the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The series surpassed $5 billion in lifetime sales last November.

But The Sims is more than a lucrative video game franchise -- it was a dream machine. The Sims gave millennial players access to a digital Eden, with the ability to invent and live out their wildest -- and I mean wildest -- lives. You can shoot off in a rocket as an astronaut, or join the circus. You can even go to college and graduate debt-free, choose a lucrative career in any field you like, own a house and a car, get married and tour yên tử have kids. Like I said, truly wild.

The digital promised land
Many millennials grew up expecting adulthood to look something like the aspirational and inclusive versions of life presented in The Sims. But we quickly learned that was not reality. Many members of our generation entered adulthood and the workforce in the midst of the Great Recession. It wasn't so easy to land your dream job and rise in your field when you were told to go to college, only to find that few jobs were actually available to those with liberal arts bachelor's degrees. And you were saddled with student loan debt.

The game lets you rise up in your career without facing barriers like student loan debt. 

EA Games Life in The Sims presents only possibilities. You can use cheats in the game to make things easier, but even without them, you can quickly level up your knowledge and get promoted to the top of your field -- with or without a college degree. On top of that, the wage gap for women and minorities is nonexistent.

Your Sim can still take the college route if you have The Sims 4: Discover University installed -- and doing so won't land you in six-digit debt. Once you graduate with your degree, the game offers a guarantee that you'll have an edge in the job field, leading to a higher salary, tour ba vàng which lets you buy a bigger home, and so on.

In the real world, more millennials and members of Generation Z aren't going to college, according to a 2019 report from Market Watch. The average US household with student debt, as of 2018, owes over $47,600, according to NerdWallet.

Accessible, affordable medicine and readily available doctors are also a huge perk of living in The Sims' world. In reality, we often hear stories of young adults not going to the doctor because they don't have insurance or the cost of medication is just too high. The Sims lets you meet your basic needs with as little stress as possible.

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