The Sims 2 was an alternate reality created by Will Wright in 2004 as an "improved" version of The Sims. Electronic Arts originally intended for The Sims 2 to be a means of communication with space aliens, but based on the information in this game, the aliens decided we were not a particularly intelligent species and focused their efforts elsewhere.
Since then, The Sims 2 has been turned into an amusement park for the 12-17 year-old AOL crowd, usually teenage girls who can't curb their desire for purchasing things and lonely middle-aged house mothers who don't know/refuse to learn how to play anything else but similarly desire crass consumerism. The Sims 2 features a new fully three-dimensional universe, advertised as giving players the opportunity to make more detailed Sims who resemble their friends, families and teachers for the purposes of sexing or killing them.
The Sims 2 is filled with addicting qualities like the ability to have lesbian Sims make out. Surprisingly enough, the lesbian angle has recruited a lot of girl gamers, a connection not many would have suspected. Some of the other new features which the Sims 2 offered in its base game was aging and memories, because nothing sells like the crushing ennui of growing old and being relentlessly reminded of past episodes where Dad drowned in the pool and Mom had an affair with the pizza delivery guy.
The Sims 2 is notorious for being the main transition from Maxis' quaint naivete to Electronic Arts' hoary abbatoir, leading down to an underworld nexus of their own devising. As such, it was no surprise then that the Sims 2 offered even more Expansion Packs under an even looser guise of charging people the same amount of money for progressively less in return. This was, in actuality, an essential move as the Sims 2 base game provided far less content at its release than The Sims had with its full array of expansion packs available at the time.
This list is only a handful of the many expansion packs sold by EA.
- University - Right away, the first expansion pack seeks to get players as far away from their Sims' homes as possible and send teens off to one of three colleges, none of which players will have time to explore in the hectic schedules of lecture classes that last all day and night and final exams every three days. The full experience of university life is here to depress players: eating ramen noodles for three meals a day, fraternity hazing, bad haircuts and spending the rest of their lives in debt. They can even burn their favorite teddy bear in a bonfire. To cheer each other up, Sims undergoing the torture that is University can dance around naked with the new "Streak" interaction and/or perform school cheers, which are well received by their school's mascot, the horny cow. Once they graduate, alumni Sims are allowed an insider list at specific jobs that only advanced education can get you such as Paranormal Research, which usually leads to Researcher Sims getting abducted and probed by aliens. This pack also introduces the Resurrect-a-Phone, that allows the player to resurrect and continue to torture their Sims by means of sleep deprivation or turning them into zombies.
- Nightlife - Maxis' most soul-crushing expansion pack enables players' Sims to go to nightclubs and attempt to get laid (but this is impossible without the aid of hacking), get drunk and get arrested for disorderly conduct. Sims can also "drive" automatic cars that not only allow their driver to fall asleep at the wheel without crashing (as well as talk on the cell phone they bought in University), but take six hours to arrive at any destination, provided that destination is in the same neighborhood. Sims are encouraged to become vampires and bite Mrs. Crumplebottom, who not only retaliates by soundly whipping the Sim with her purse, but also crashing the game.
- Pets - An expansion pack which creates Sim pets, and is identical to the Unleashed expansion pack released five years earlier (for the previous incarnation of the game). These pets come in all colors, and delight in destroying furniture, peeing inside the house, yowling, digging holes in the yard, howling, eating garbage, bringing fleas into the house, rolling in filth, disobeying commands, attacking their owners, and spreading lycanthropy. The slogan is "Once again, just like the real thing!"
- Open For Business - This pack lets Sims go bankrupt while they lose all their friends and become social outcasts trying to run their own businesses (like in real life) in exchange for shiny badges (unlike real life). Sims can experience all the fun and excitement of a minimum wage retail job (at the same time they're supposed to be in school), including handling upset customers, shelf stocking, and keeping the bathrooms clean. Your lonely Sims will no longer be lonely now that they have the new ability to make droids known as SexBots. They cook, clean and they won't laugh when you tell them you're going to Woohoo them up.
- Seasons - Seasons introduces weather, but mainly overblown hail, to the game. New activities like gardening, fishing, raking leaves, and being struck by lightning are thrown in to make it seem like the also overblown price tag is not too big. Sims love being struck by lightning, so they spend as much time outdoors in the hot tub and splashing in rainy puddles during thunderstorms as possible. The new juicer object enables Sims to enjoy tasty treats like pureed freshly-caught boot juice. Fresh-caught boot is also delicious grilled, boiled, baked, and fried, as it would be a terrible waste to simply hang this culinary delight on the wall as a trophy.
- Bon Voyage - Allows your Sims to go on vacation, just like they did five years earlier in The Sims Vacation, so that they can spend more money than they have on hotel lodging, get pick-pocketed, stung by bees, para-sail UNDER a flock of seagulls (with predictable results), contract a case of poison ivy, and return from the vacation with jet lag. The main feature of Bon Voyage is the five-hundred-percent more loading screens.
- Free Time - This expansion pack was originally known as "Get a Life" to remind the player that there really IS more to life than this game. In case the hardcore Sims-addicted player has forgotten about activities outside the game, this expansion pack features activities such as sewing, basketball, pottery, restoring old cars, blogging, and new careers. Of course, for most Sims, there is no such thing as free time between school/work, sleeping, and struggling to raise their mood score, which is still more rewarding than any of those pissant activities, though.
- Apartment Life - An expansion pack which comes with more useless junk, including a deadly Murphy bed that can kill your Sim (just like in real life). And if that's not enough, it comes with witches, that can purposely make a Sim be chased by bees. Players can enjoy having their underwear drawer rooted through by creepy serial-killer butane-addict landlords (are there any other kind?), woken up at three in the morning by neighbor Sims having noisy se...um, Woohooing, and of course pestilence spreads much quicker among Sims living in such disturbingly close and confined quarters. On the plus side, if your Sim's low on money to buy food, they can always eat a roommate (as opposed to buying groceries, again just like in real life).
- Hobo Life/Homeless - Originally shopping cart and the cardboard box.
- Nuclear Holocaust - Comes with melt-down nuclear power plant neighborhood decoration which turns neighbourhoods a nice shade of green, hazardous waste barrels, and glowing uranium rods. This expansion pack modifies your game so that the showers and tubs are unusable in radioactive neighborhoods. In neighborhoods with the meltdown event enabled, flowers and plants will not grow, Sims with less than 10 body skill cannot leave the house except to go to work or school, and killer zombies created at random roam the neighborhood and attack citizens. Delivery people are on strike, and refuse to visit radioactive neighborhoods. Manual typewriters have replaced computers, since nothing electronic works except battery-powered radios. The mafia is more active than usual however, and takes 10% of everyone's take-home pay away every week. Elders in radioactive neighborhoods automatically become senile and are no longer under the user's control.
In case fans' hard drives weren't full and wallets weren't empty yet, a 2003 EA brainstorming session came out with "stuff packs" that don't really do anything except add more fancy stuff to "update" your Sim's homes with.
- Family Fun Stuff - The first stuff pack adds 2 new themes suitable for WooHoo (Aquarium and Castle) while a child watches to train them how to WooHoo. Which is why this stuff pack is called "Family Fun Stuff".
- Lame Life Stuff - When EA thought they can make clones of items that are just like the same and sell them on a DVD. They created this stuff pack. Lame Life Stuff adds a series of much more expensive furniture that only differs on appearance and cost to steal money from obsessed fans.
- Happy Holiday Stuff - This pack installs a new NPC called Santa Claus who will give your Sim children empty presents filled with nothing but confetti for the price of a plate of cookies. There is also lots of holiday themed decorations so your Sims can celebrate Simsmas by filling up their rented storage areas with them when the holiday is over, at a price of course. If they fail to pay the price, the repo man comes with his ray gun to repossess items that are not in storage. Alternatively, they can sell the useless decorations back to Santa for him to decorate the North Pole with, and sell back to your gullible Sims the following holiday season. He never pays full price for his decorations!
- Romance Stuff - This pack is geared towards older players with items such as the vibrating bed, a new "super-WooHoo" interaction, hundreds of new outfits (including the "skinny dip" swimsuit), and many objects (such as dance poles) to support various alternative lifestyles. The censor bars that come when Sims do *stuff* are now out. In addition, the Sims are more anatomically correct in this version, so you can look at your Sims shower, and it feels the same as when you peek at someone taking a shower in real life.
- IKEA Home Stuff - In the pursuit of commercial sponsorship, EA created the IKEA expansion pack. All the new objects come packed and your Sims must assemble them. If a Sim with low Mechanical skill attempts to assemble an item, the Sim risks injury and/or death.
- Mansion and Garden Stuff - This stuff pack was deliberately designed to confuse users when their Apartment Life CD "stopped working" with the error message "wrong CD inserted, insert Mansion and Garden Stuff". Only a few players figured out that the game required this Stuff pack CD to continue playing instead of the Apartment Life CD. This stuff pack contains build-mode objects and buy-mode objects that are unaffordable to any Sims except the ones with mafia connections.
Now that Will Wright had realized how superficial Sims really are, he devised something to give Sims more depth and personality. That would be aspirations, and there are 8 of them, namely:
- Family Aspiration - Sims with this aspiration crave to have a lot of crotchfruit, whom they will also 'do it' with.
- Romance Aspiration - Sims with this aspiration crave to become sluts by Woohooing up with more than one person, although this is a very difficult task in the game.
- Murder Aspiration - The Taxi Driver of aspirations. Involves a lot of eating other Sims and being fired from work for throwing a hand grenade into Accounting.
- Knowledge Aspiration - Sims with this aspiration crave to be annoying know-it-alls.
- Fortune Aspiration - Sims with this aspiration crave to, well, get rich. Nuff said.
- Popularity Aspiration - Sims with this aspiration crave disaster. They love to throw parties that can cause anarchy and chaos.
- Pleasure Aspiration - Sims with this aspiration crave happiness, but will be sad as they can never get it. They are already beginning to realize, little by little, that they can never attain true happiness as with true happiness should come freedom.
- Grilled Cheese Aspiration - Sims with this aspiration crave to eat grilled cheese sandwiches all the time and talk about it. This stuff writes itself, folks.