The Sims 4 has been around since 2014. That might not sound like very long ago for some, but that was the year that everyone was either crying to Sam Smith’s Stay with Me or dancing to Shake it Off by Taylor Swift, who has released six albums since. So, it was a while back.
But with the steady stream of Sims 4 expansion packs, game packs, stuff packs, and more recently, kits, the game still feels pretty fresh.
Sure, some of the packs may be more useful and exciting than others (I’m looking at you, Journey to Batuu), but we can’t deny that the folks over at Maxis have been hard at work churning out downloadable content to enrich the game all year, every year since then. They’re all set to wrap up 2021 with designer menswear for our fashion-starved masculine sims, and in 2022, they’ve even promised a system for adding pronouns to the game.
Plus, even simmers themselves have come out with plenty of exciting and sometimes terrifying mods. And though there is a wide array of simmers out there — including The Torturer, The Architect, and the Create-a-Sim Dweller, among others — what we all undoubtedly enjoy about the game are the sims themselves, and the stories that we can weave with the characters, lots, and gameplay available to us.
This is something that the game’s creators know by heart, and over the years, they’ve created some pretty fun characters — with fascinating backstories to boot.
Among all the townies in the Sims franchise, no one else has had a wilder ride since the year 2000 — and has been as iconic while at it.
Bella started out in Sims 1 with a pretty tame, slightly ironic bio, which read, “Elegant and athletic are two qualities that describe Bella. She enjoys a variety of activities, from golf to miniature golf.” But by Sims 2, we find out that she’s been abducted by aliens, and no longer remembers her luxurious life with her husband Mortimer as she wanders the streets of Strangetown.
Bella then makes an appearance as a child in Sims 3, but the Bella we meet in the Sims 4 world of Willow Creek exists in an alternate timeline where she was never abducted and had her memories wiped by aliens. Instead, she works as a Secret Agent.
Brant and Brent Hecking
Introduced in 2017 along with the Cats & Dogs expansion pack, Brant and Brent Hecking are the first male same-sex couple in the game. Brent is a painter and Brant is a personal trainer, and they live with Rosie, their adorable little pug.
Though they don’t have as rich a history as Bella, it’s hard not to love this cute couple. If you play in Brindleton Bay, you might see them exploring the neighborhood together and being extremely affectionate.
It’s all really wholesome, and not a lot of fans know that these two get their names from this hilarious interaction between the popular Twitter account WeRateDogs and a hater named Brant.
The Sims gave us Penny PIzzazz in 2016’s City Living — the expansion pack responsible for giving us apartments, the social media career, fireworks, and the beautiful world of San Myshuno.
In it, Penny reigns as the current It Girl. Not only is she an online A-lister in her social media career, but she also appears on one of the city’s billboards. She can get annoying as a neighbor because of the Lively Neighbors lot trait, though.
There’s also a pretty elaborate and very entertaining theory about the murder in the apartment next to hers, with Penny as one of the suspects.
Another character introduced to us through City Living, Salim was raised in the Arts Quarter, a place of poets, musicians, and other types of artists. That’s probably why his aspiration is to become a Bestselling Author, and at the start of the game, he begins his journey as a blogger in the writing career.
The problem is, he’s easily distracted. His bio reads, “He’s determined to become a great writer… right after he’s finished that book. Oh, and that video game he needs to beat. Come to think of it, he needs a nap too.” I feel you, Salim.
Whether or not you like his storyline, it’s also worth noting that simmers have said his genes are pretty incredible — his babies always come out stunning.
If you ever had a thing for Edward Cullen, then you would definitely enjoy the existence of Caleb Vatore, one half of Forgotten Hollow’s good vampire household.
Introduced with the Vampires game pack in 2017, Caleb currently lives with his sister, Lilith. Together, they want to be good vampires and avoid harming humans, and so are finding alternative ways to drink plasma. This puts them in the bad graces of their world’s grand vampire, Vladislaus Straud.
There’s also some speculation that Caleb is bisexual, as he’s often seen flirting with — and drinking from — male and female sims.
One of the pre-made sims of Sulani, the world that came with 2019’s Island Living expansion pack, Oliana is a bodybuilder who lives with her son Tane and her wife, Leila. Together, Oliana and Leila are the first pre-made lesbian couple in the Sims 4, and only the second in the entire game franchise.
Maybe I’m just a softie, but like Brent and Brant, their love story is pretty cute. Oliana has lived in Sulani her whole life, and had Tane, her biological son, with a previous relationship. But one day, Leila, a painter, came to visit the island for some inspiration. Oliana probably didn’t expect the tourist to stay — much less fall in love with and marry her.
Now, Oliana, Leila, and Tane live together in a beautiful house right by the ocean.
Mary and Blossom Greenburg
I’m always weak for happy lesbians, and for Mary and Blossom Greenburg, especially so. The couple made their way into the game with the Eco Lifestyle expansion pack in 2020, and if I didn’t know then that I needed elderly, artistic, and green-thumbed lesbians working for Mother Earth in my life, then I do now.
Mary has purple hair and a little nose ring, while Blossom looks like the kind of grandma you’d want to have a nice cup of tea and long chats with. Together, they’re trying to rehabilitate the world of Evergreen Harbor — Mary with her plants, and Blossom with her painting.
They also live with their adopted son, Knox.
Having been around since 2003’s the Sims: Makin’ Magic, Bonehilda made her return to the game with the addition of the Paranormal Stuff pack, which came out earlier this year.
Though we first meet her as a janitor in Magic Town, players have been able to have her on their lots by purchasing a closet (making her literally a skeleton in a closet) or a coffin.
In the Sims 4, however, you’ll need to have at least a level 3 in the medium skill to summon her from a séance table. Bonehilda plays the role of slightly disturbing house help. She can clean, take care of babies and toddlers, help with homework, water plants, repair broken appliances, prep food, and even protect your house from burglars and evil ghosts — all for free.
She also comes with a few quirks. For example, she will enjoy taking a drink from the bar, but the liquid will go right through her and leave unwanted puddles on the floor. In past iterations of the game, she will also tend to wave at tombstones and ask the Grim Reaper for an autograph.
Johnny Zest’s home isn’t much to look at — it’s a trailer in the middle of the desert in the base game world of Oasis Springs. He’s an entertainer, albeit not a very good one (yet), and has no relationships at the beginning of the game.
All this is why you might be surprised to know that he’s actually a son of Geoffrey and Nancy Landgraab.
The family name is a bit of a giveaway, as their household description in the Sims 2 describes them as, “Ruthless. Cunning. Brilliant. Ridiculously wealthy.” Nancy’s family “basically founded” the Sims 3 world of Sunset Valley, but Geoffrey’s wealth can be traced back to one Gregory Landgraab.
Gregory used to be a school teacher until he suddenly came into a great deal of money — and the game hints that it might just be due to foul play. All of that history has been lost over time, though, and today’s Landgraabs have plenty of lucrative investments in real estate.
As for Johnny, the story goes that he was so determined to make a career as a stand-up comedian that he dropped out of school and was disowned for doing so. His character design seems to be based on Johnny Test, the titular character of a Cartoon Network show, as well as the 1960s cartoon character Jonny Quest.
From the name itself, this is where things take a turn for the weird. Introduced as part of the world of Strangetown in the Sims 2 base game in 2004, Nervous Subject is part of the Beaker family household, having been adopted by Loki and Circe Beaker.
The game reveals that Loki and Circe aren’t exactly the best adoptive parents and that they’re actually performing experiments on him. His best (and only) friend, Pascal Curious, is pregnant after being abducted by aliens. He’s also known to twitch and blink frequently.
In Sims 2 for PSP, Nervous is dead and exists as a ghost in Bella Goth’s house after dying from an unfortunate experiment. And finally, in Sims 4, he can be downloaded from the Gallery, which describes him to be at the mercy of his adoptive parents because of his genetic composition.
His big genetic secret? Though he has memories of his biological mother Olive, his father is hinted to be the Grim Reaper himself. In Grim’s Ghastly Manor on the Sims 3 store, we see a nursery — possibly once Nervous’s — in the attic.
What’s Next for the Sims?
With a whole roster of playable and non-playable characters on top of the god-like ability to create and control sims and neighborhoods, the Sims has steadily built one of the world’s biggest video game franchises over the past two decades.
It has a reality TV show under its belt and even a multiplayer version in the Sims 5 reportedly in the works, and so we can only expect even more characters to love (or marry and kill) in the years to come.