Sims and Real Life – What impact has the series had on your life?

The Sims franchise has been a part of gaming culture since 2000. In that time millions of people have played the game. For some it was just a nice little escape from real life, something that was played from time to time. For others it actually helped distract them from really difficult times in their lives while others met lifelong friends and even started a family. I fit into the latter two categories and it occurred to me, that I am probably not the only one.

I randomly had the idea for this article after talking to a friend about how The Sims has helped us through difficult times in our lives. This is definitely not a typical article for the Sims Legacy Challenge website, but I thought it was an important topic to discuss with readers. I will start the discussion off with my own personal experiences (some good and some not) and then, if anyone feels like sharing, you can respond with how the game has helped you.

This is probably the first time that I’ve publicly talked about how important the Sims has been in my life. I’ve mentioned it in passing on my Twitch and Youtube channels, but I never really went into great detail with it. Now I think I’d like to talk about it because I know I can’t be the only one that the Sims has helped.

I’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember. It all started when I was little (4 or 5 years old) and I would watch my dad play games on his old ColecoVision console (yes, I’m dating myself with that reference). My dad was always the driving force in my passion for video games. He was a gamer himself and watching him play video games really inspired my own love for it as well. I didn’t purchase The Sims 1 at release, in fact I hadn’t even heard of it at first. I was involved with another game at the time (Petz 3 if anyone remembers that game). However, that all changed in November of 2000. My dad, the man responsible for introducing me to one of the biggest passions in my life, passed away suddenly. He was sick for a while due to a genetic disorder, but we didn’t realize just HOW sick until he fell ill while on a business trip in Texas. We flew down there to be with him in his final days. I was 15 years old and I was devastated.

Shortly after the funeral I went to my cousin’s house and saw that he was playing a game called “The Sims”. I had heard of Sim City, but I hadn’t heard of The Sims. I played it for a bit and I was immediately hooked. My mom took me to CompUSA (another blast from the past) a couple of days later and I bought myself a copy. I played it EVERY DAY for months after my dad passed away. While the pain of my dad’s death never truly went away (even to this day, there are days where I find myself crying because I miss him and wish he could have met my husband and kids) The Sims really helped to distract me from some of it. It was at that point that The Sims because a huge part of my life.

My story with the Sims 2 is much happier than that of my Sims 1 story. I purchased the game shortly after it released given how much I had loved The Sims 1. I was immediately hooked and, again, found myself playing it as often as I could (which was less than Sims 1 due to the fact that I was in college and working full time). About a year later I discovered Pinstar’s Legacy Challenge on the forums and that brought about a whole new level of joy for me. I was so enamored with the challenge that I decided to message Pinstar and tell him how much I enjoyed it. That message turned into a 4 hour long conversation. We ended up becoming friends and about a month later started dating. As most of you know, Pinstar and I are now married (and have been for almost 8 years) and have two kids. And we never would have met at all if it hadn’t been for The Sims 2 and our love of the series in general.

Fast forward to 2009 and the release of The Sims 3. Pinstar and I had gotten married 4 months earlier and were getting ready to move to our first house in upstate NY. We were temporarily living with his parents while we waiting for the closing date on the house. We pre-ordered Sims 3 and played it the minute it launched. It was while I was playing it on the day of its release that I got a call from my mom. My dog, the one we had adopted only weeks before my dad passed away, was losing his battle to bone cancer and was going to have to be put to sleep. He was only 8 years old. After the procedure was done, I yet again had the Sims 3 to help me cope with another loss. This time for a beloved pet who helped me get through the loss of my dad. A few days later, we moved into our house and were unable to play for a bit. But I was back to playing it as soon as my computer was hooked up. The Sims 3 helped me get through not only the loss of a pet, but also helped me cope with the stress of moving to a new state where I knew no one. I was so grateful for the game and the many friendships that I made in the community (many of whom I am still friends with today). Those relationships helped get me through the fact that I didn’t know anyone local.

And finally we are at the Sims 4. Shortly after The Sims 4 released Pinstar lost his job with the company that he was with for 10 years. We decided to make The Sims Legacy Challenge website at that point as we had some extra time on our hands while he looked for a new job. Yet again, we found the Sims series helping us through an incredibly difficult time. And this time, we got to share our passion for the game with all of you through this website and our Youtube and Twitch channels. Since then Pinstar has gotten a new, awesome job. We have moved yet again and the Sims series has helped us adapt to our new lives in another new state. We even have 2 kids that greatly enjoy watching us play the game now too. Our oldest sometimes even plays it himself and loves it.

It always amazes me just how important this game has been in my life. I can’t say this about any other game I have ever played. Not one. The Sims has helped me through some incredibly tough times, and has also been there during some amazing times as well. I wouldn’t have the family that I have today or many of the friends that I have today if it wasn’t for the Sims. I can literally look at both of my sons and say, “You are here because of The Sims.” And that’s pretty awesome. I may take my breaks from the game from time to time (burnout happens), but I always come back to it. It will always be part of my life. And I am so incredibly grateful for that.

So what about you? Do you have any stories about how The Sims has affected your life? I’d love to hear it! I’m actually thinking about doing a stream on Twitch at some point where I discuss this topic with you all. I LOVE hearing about how The Sims have affected the lives of others. I know how important it is to me and I’d really love to hear how important it is to you too. Want to share your story in your own blog post or Youtube vlog? Feel free to share the link with me on Twitter with the hashtag #simsandreallife! I think it would be great to see how many stories we can get and share some positivity about the game that we all love so much.


What a great topic! I love the way The Sims have factored in your life!

Oh, I have stories I could tell, but the best part of The Sims has always been the friendships that have grown from it. I don’t know where I’d be without all the friends I made on the Sims and Sims 2 BBS’s! The games themselves have also always been a great escape when things were bad, and a great pastime when things were good 🙂

Awww… All I can say is that is a lot. I’m gonna tell my story but as I’ve only just read this I’ll need some time to put it all together. I just thought I’d reply to yours now. I feel for you, but keep up the good work both you and Pinstar, I love the reviews you both do and I have followed some of the tips in playing the game.

I can definitely relate to this (as I’m sure many others can too). I suffer from depression and an anxiety disorder, to being able to ‘distract’ my brain from constantly worrying about things is fairly important to me. Gaming in general is a big helper with this, but none more so than Sims. I didn’t know about the game during Sims 1 (I didn’t even own my own computer back then, low income family and all). But a little more than half-way into the Sims 2’s lifespan, my then-roommate introduced me to the game. Once I figured out HOW to play (with her helpful hints) I was completely hooked. I’ve always been a sucker for romance and relationships, and for me it was such fun to play with these digital dolls and watch their lives unfold. I pre-ordered the Sims 3 as soon as it was available, and it was playing that game that I learned about Pinstar’s 10-Gen Legacy Challenge and that just opened up a whole new level of love for the series. Now I had some sense of structure to the sandbox, and could watch my families grow into dynasties that spanned generations. The release of Sims 4, same deal–immediately pre-ordered and was playing on launch day. It was then I discovered Lets Plays, and found a little channel by someone called Imagining Mystic. Lo and behold, the wife of Pinstar himself. I can’t properly iterate just how much it means to me that the both of you dedicate as much as you do to this franchise and its’ fan-base. We Simmers may be notoriously picky and opinionated, but we’re also a real community. And it’s players like you guys (Pinstar and Mystic) that make it so. <3


I remember your romance well, both your simselves were tortured at some point by my Uglacy Family. The sims 2 helped distract me from my mothers death. It also really got me into story writing and I made some great online friends as well. It’s a positive game that’s based on families and life in general (although some of us might torture our sims in a few twisted ways). Of all the games I have played, sims is definitely my favorite and has impacted my life the most.


Oh my gosh I remember your Uglacy! It was one of my favorite Legacy reads!

Wow! I love how the two of you met!
What a great post ImaginingMystic!

I was so excited to see this post and I look forward to sharing my story as well.

It’s amazing how the Sims games have been a tool for people to overcome hard times in their lives.

I can remember many, many times when the sims helped me through.
For nearly 17 years,
this game has been here for me.
Through pain and hospitalization and new cities and homlessness and new houses …
the sims games have travelled with me.

I am so grateful the hard times are over!
I can finally sit and enjoy the game I love playing!

Anytime burnout hits me…I come to this site to reignite that flame for the game! Lol!

Thank you and
Happy Simming!

A game that’s about solo play has connected me to more good friends around the world than any other game.
I Started late with the original and it was lent it from a friend, I heard him and his family talk about building houses and playing families and thought this is “juvenile” they said PLAY IT and see. I did and was hooked, enough to buy the last two expansion packs; Which I gladly let them have for free. Not too traumatic since Sims 2 came out. 😀
Found the game to be FUN and been playing ever since.
Finding such a great community IS my biggest find though.
Great People
Great Game

I also use sims to distract from real life problems and to express creativity. I’ve also made three of my best friends through legacy-oriented forums. They all live far away from me, so I never would have met them otherwise, but now we chat all the time. Sims has been something I’ve shared with my sister some too, although she isn’t hooked on it like I am, lol. I agree that this is a really special community. 😀

I have, still have, every expansion for Sims 1, Sims 2, Sims 3, and Sims 4. I have been playing since August 2005 and have made many friends through the game. My involvement in sims related forums has been limited to just a few forums, but I have made connections with players from around the world. I found the legacy challenge during the Sims 2 years and spent a lot of time reading stories written by players. I read a lot of stories and ended up with my employer blocking “sims” and “boolprop” because of how long my browser would be on the forum (in the background while I worked). I am still trying to complete the apocalypse (in any version) and have completed legacies in Sims 2 and Sims 3 (Sims 4 is eluding me – in fact I am currently creating another founder to try again and came here for the random generator to roll for her traits).