Sul sul! That means “hello” in Simlish, and there’s a very good reason to be saying it. The most successful PC gaming franchise ever, The Sims, celebrates its 17th anniversary today, February 4th. Developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts, the life simulation game is currently in its fourth installment with The Sims 4. These past 17 years have spawned an impressive collection of content packs, countless fan-made creations, and a community of “Simmers” that few fandoms can rival. Let’s take a look at some of the game’s aspects that have made The Sims so iconic.

Music in the Key of Simlish

Hands down, The Sims has the best music of any video game. Even the very first trailer, shown above, has a beat that you can’t help but “shaka do thang” to. The composers never fail to deliver fantastic in-game music, but many famous musicians have also stepped up and recorded their hits in the Simlish language. Katy Perry has done so numerous times and even had her own themed stuff pack, Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats.

Playing With Life…and Death

Those who haven’t played the game probably at least know about the more…sinister aspects of it. After all, you can’t have life simulation without death simulation. The Sims features some very unique ways for Sims to die, which result in a visit from the Grim Reaper.

The most well-known method is to have a Sim go swimming in a pool, only to then remove the ladder and watch them helplessly drown. For those more in the know, there’s the classic Cowplant. Forget to feed it, and it’ll lure in a Sim with a cake slice until it swallows them up whole. But hey, the cake was worth it, right?

Sims of Its Own

Bella in The Sims 2

The broad idea of The Sims is that players can create virtual people, build them houses, and direct their lives. But they don’t just start in an empty world. The minds behind the game have created their own characters and neighborhoods, all with their own backstories, for Simmers to enjoy. The cool part is that a lot of these Sims have evolved with the game’s sequels, creating a rich history to explore.

Bella Goth, perhaps the most famous pre-made Sim, has been around since day one. She’s at different life stages in each of the game’s installments, with perhaps her most mysterious lore coming in The Sims 2. Aliens sure have a funny way of relocating people

The Game Adapts to the Simmer

4 generations of Sims

Perhaps nothing makes The Sims stand out more than the fact that there are endless ways to play. You can build and furnish, make Sims, or just straight-up play in live mode. Others prefer to do some storytelling by writing or making videos. There’s no one right way to do it. That’s what makes it such a powerful game – you can “play with life” any way you want.

The past 17 years have been so action-packed for The Sims in the best way possible. They were the first to teach me what fandom truly is, and they helped the world make life fun. Here’s hoping the next 17 years are filled with plenty of green plumbobs, llamas, and grilled cheese!

Chrissie
Chrissie Miille is a Fan Contributor for Fandom and an admin on the Danny Phantom Wiki. When not watching Danny Phantom, Gravity Falls, or Voltron, she's usually neck-deep in another fandom, following the Warriors, listening to Michael Jackson, or stargazing.