Sims 101

The Sims 2 is a game developed by Maxis, a branch of Electronic Arts, Inc. As was its predecessor, The Sims 2 (TS2 for short) is a notoriously addictive game in which you control the lives of digital characters of your own creation. It’s true that Maxis includes several pre-built neighborhoods in the base game (and one or more add-on hoods in each expansion pack), and you’re more than welcome to play the families already installed — but for many players it’s fun to invent your very own neighborhood from scratch and watch the population grow.

If you’re at all familiar with the game mechanics of TS2, this is not a section for you. If you have no idea what a Want/Fear or Aspiration is, however, please read on.

A sim’s life is measured in days. The average sim lives to be about 72 days. Several factors are involved in this, some random, some based on Aspiration. Here’s the basic break-down:

(In Sim Days)
Infant 2 days
Toddler 3 days
Child 7 days
Teen 14 days
Adult 28 days
Elder 9 to 31 days


As you can see, it’s the variation of the Elder stage that gives a sim’s life span its uncertainty.

Just like real life, a sim has certain goals, things they want to accomplish, things that drive them and bring meaning to their lives. These things are called Aspirations. The aspirations are, in no particular order:

  • Family
  • Fortune
  • Popularity
  • Romance
  • Knowledge
  • Pleasure*
  • Grilled Cheese*

*This Aspiration was introduced in the Nightlife expansion.

(Because this is just a brief overview, suffice it to say that the Grilled Cheese aspiration, though comical, will only surface in Soap City as a secondary aspiration due to the manner in which it is normally obtained.)

Okay, so now we know what drives them… but… how does it drive them? Glad you asked. Sims’ happiness is measured by their Aspiration Meter. Points are added to the meter through achieving Wants and subtracted from the meter through the realization of Fears. Here’s a screen capture to illustrate what I’m talking about:

An example of Wants and Fears

You can see the graphical representation of a sim’s wants and fears, and clicking on them in-game would provide details on each. In this picture, we see that Brittany wants to throw a party, make a friend, take a bubble bath, and dine out with another sim… while she fears being rejected for an Outing, getting sick, and fire. (The Wants Method, as described on the About page, dictates that the only actions I can take as a player must strive to fulfill Wants and prevent, risk, or realize Fears. Everything else a sim does is completely up to him or her.)

This is basically what you need to know to understand the mechanics of what is happening in Soap City. Sadly, The Sims 2 is no longer available except through second-hand means. The current iteration of the Sims franchise is The Sims 4. I encourage you to visit the official Sims website for details. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself interested in becoming a simmer too!

In the future I may add additional glossary terms to this page if it seems necessary. But for now… Let the sims tell their stories!

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