The Sims and Diversity

Christina Blake

The Sims is a life simulation franchise that has been one of the bestselling video games for the past two decades. It is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. It can be played on the XBOX, the PlayStation, on PC and Mac OS. The Sims gained popularity by giving gamers the ability to create their own avatars, their own towns, cities, families and lives.

There are plenty of different options when it comes to setting. However, that is not the case when it comes to the avatars. When first playing the game, you can customize your avatar’s hair, their body type, their skin tone, their height, their clothing, their age, their demographic background, and more. Interracial couples, gay couples, and single mothers were not options that the avatars could choose until much later in the game. When the virtual interracial couples would have a child, it would be white instead of having a more realistic mixed complexion. They also lacked numerous mixed complexion skin tones. The settings were always suburban, lacking cultural diversity and by extent the option to be set in other countries.

The most recurring issues concerning the Sims were the following: they lacked various skin tone shades, a gender neutral option, and certain cultural and religious articles of clothing such as the sari, the hijab and the turban. Hair textures and hairstyles are not very inclusive either. Whether the Sims is remarkably diverse or lacks inclusivity has been an ongoing debate since its creation in 2000.

Nonetheless, video games should always leave room for improvement and feedback from its players. There is speculation that the Sims 5 may be released in late 2020 or early 2021 and many are hopeful that the company behind The Sims will become more inclusive and diverse moving forward.

Originally Published on Vol.50 Issue 02 on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *