2021 is coming to an end in less than two days (or a few hours if you’re on the far east!) and we’re celebrating by looking back at everything that made this year special!
We started out strong in late Spring with a bunch of original articles that stood out and added a fun twist to our flow or regular news and updates on The Sims Franchise. In total for 2021 – 7,5 million unique users* stopped by on simscommunity.info to see what’s up in the world of The Sims (and beyond).
Before we continue with our very first Author Rewind, I’d like to thank our authors SnarkyWitch and Krista who tremendously helped out with the original content pieces and made this website what it is today. This year personally was very hard on me, but them, the community and The Sims helped me escape and find myself again when I needed it the most.
Without further ado, here’s our rewind and opinions on what made 2021 special!
Favorite Content Update for The Sims 4
SnarkyWitch: I’m a big fan of the addition of lot challenges introduced to the base game shortly before the Cottage Living release. I think it was a smart move to shift negative lot traits over to lot challenges. This frees up space in the lot traits for more beneficial traits and allows us to really challenge ourselves with as many lot challenges as we want. My favourite lot challenge is Simple Living; it encourages my Sims to utilize everything they harvest on their farms because they depend on it for their food.
Krista: My favourite content update for The Sims 4 this year would have to be the Spa Day Refresh. I really enjoyed exploring the new features that came with the refresh. Spa Day happened to be a Game Pack I barely played with prior to the update, and now it is one that I use frequently in my main save game. I’m looking forward to seeing more pack refreshes in the future! I also really enjoyed the Sims Session limited time event. I had great fun taking my Sims to the performances, as it was just something different for my Sims to do. I’d love to see the event return in some way next year!
Jovan: This year definitely felt like The Sims Team finally started taking notice on how to improve the core experience of The Sims 4. To me the biggest improvements were the introduction of Neighborhood Stories and my favorite one – the CAS Preferences Update. The game’s preparations for the Dream Home Decorator Game Pack was probably the biggest one The Sims Team has done (well, for a Game Pack) with a much needed addition of New Hair Colors, Bunk Bed Improvements and of course – Likes and Dislikes. Here’s to hoping that they add more activities and categories in 2022. I’d personally love for my Sims to pick their favorite foods and drinks.
Favorite (and least favorite) Kit released this year:
SnarkyWitch: My favourite Kit released this year definitely has to be Fashion Street. It offered far more items than we usually get in kits, along with several pieces that were unique, like the nose ring and henna tattoos. The colours and patterns on everything were just gorgeous as well. I use that kit all the time and really enjoy it.
My least favourite kit would have to be Modern Menswear. This kit just missed the mark completely in terms of what players were actually asking for with more masculine clothing. I would have much preferred it if they had focused on fixing the existing feminine clothes in the game, so they fit a masculine frame properly, rather than charging players $5 (or more in some countries) for one or two skirts made for masculine frames. This kit felt like a band-aid solution to two problems; a lack of masculine clothes, and feminine clothes that don’t fit masculine frames properly. Unfortunately, it didn’t really fix either problem.
Krista: This was actually really tough for me. I still find myself sat in the middle, as to whether I like the Kit concept or not. There are definitely Kits I use more than others. I also find myself using more of the Build Kits than the CAS or Gameplay Kits. My favourite Kit right now would have to be the Industrial Loft Kit. I’ve been doing a lot of building recently with the industrial style in mind, so it is certainly more of a go-to for me.
As for my least favourite, I would have to say Bust the Dust. I rarely use the vacuums as they still glitch a lot for me. I find it becomes annoying as my Sims are constantly vacuuming all the time! The Dust Bunnies are kind of cute though, I can’t lie there!
Jovan: I had high hopes that The Sims 4 would introduce more Gameplay Kits rather than just vacuuming. The Bust the Dust Kit had a lot of potential but it went through a buggy, disasterous launch in the first months of its release. Because of it I have a feeling that the team never gave Gameplay Kits a second chance because they just continued pushing out Build and CAS Kits that – although some of them were hits – a lot of them felt unecessary and completely missed the mark.
If I had to pick a favorite Kit released this year it would definitely be the Incheon Arrivals Kit. The CAS items hit all the right spots and understands the assignment of what was missing in the CAS Catalog.
On the other hand – the Modern Menswear Kit was embarrassingly bad. As someone who was screaming with every Pack release how the game was always providing way more feminine fashion choices compared to masculine – the Kit didn’t fill any gaps it was supposed to. Instead, the Kit provided awful translations of Stefan Cooke’s fashion catalogue that don’t seem fitting at all in The Sims 4. Of course, this isn’t a commentary on the team’s decision to finally add skirts and other clothing pieces that are perceived as more feminine. I applaud the bravery especially after seeing some harsh, bigoted comments on our socials how “they’re making sims gay” by giving masculine Sims feminine fits. It’s 2021. A piece of fabric doesn’t determine anyone’s sexuality – I thought we all understood that by now.
Still, it doesn’t feel like the right time to break the style boundaries when the game still doesn’t have proper modern fits and looks for masculine Sims. From outdated hairstyles to the lack of facial hairs, to fits that always end up either too loose or too tight – The Sims 4 still doesn’t understand what Modern Menswear is.
The Sims 4 decisions that made you raise your eyebrows
SnarkyWitch: I’m still scratching my head over this Bretman Rock partnership. I was familiar with him and his work beforehand and I see the correlation between creative influencers and the creativity of The Sims but I just don’t see what this partnership offers to the players. A poorly designed game cover change and a confusing trailer just seem to exist for the sake of existing. I don’t get it. Maybe I’d be more into it if I was a bigger Bretman Rock fan, I guess? I’m not really upset by it but I’m definitely perplexed.
Krista: There are a few different things that have left me either a little confused or questioning choices this year when it comes to The Sims 4. However, I would have to agree with SnarkyWitch on this one. Even though I know of Bretman Rock, I don’t really know much about him or his work. It just felt like the partnership was out of the blue and a bit confusing initially. I guess now that I’ve seen the promotional material shared online and also watched some of Bretman Rock’s content I understand how the partnership came about and how it works with the current Season of Selves marketing it makes a lot more sense, but I still feel that the campaign was out of the blue.
Jovan: Even though I applaud The Sims Team for stepping out of their comfort zone by focusing on the core experience of the Sims 4, some of the decisions felt “experimental” and contradictory.
First off we have Kits that were said to have no impact on the usual yearly Pack cycle that we’re used to. Although the timing of Pack releases was never set in stone, we’ve somewhat gotten used to 1-2 Expansion Packs, 2 Game Packs and a 2-4 Stuff Pack releases throughout a year. With the introduction of Kits it feels like we’re never going to see another Stuff Pack again – which compared to Kits are of much greater value, especially with each one giving a decent amount of new gameplay.
Cottage Living is a good Expansion Pack, but other than this Pack every other paid release has been very much focused on just new Build and CAS items. Even Dream Home Decorator is nothing but an oversized Stuff Pack with glitches that still need to be fixed to this day.
The content updates released this year have been promising, but it feels like their actual potential will be reached in the year to come.
The Sims 4 Updates, Events and Content you’d like to see
SnarkyWitch: I definitely want to see more pack refreshes, and I want Sims Sessions to make a seasonal return. Sims Sessions was such a fun and unique experience I’ve never had in a video game before. I discovered new artists I might not ever have come across without Sims Sessions. I also got the opportunity to get my Sims out of their regular routines to do something different. I just really loved how special the whole thing felt. I’d love to see it again with even more additions, improvements and new artists.
In terms of pack refreshes, the Spa Day refresh was a huge hit with just about everyone. Nails, facial masks, new ways to make money as a spa specialist and new aspirations all breathed new life into an old pack that was good to begin with but definitely needed a revamp after six years. I’d love to see either Dine Out or Get Together refreshed next.
Krista: More pack refreshes! I was pleasantly surprised with the Spa Day refresh, and it certainly brought a new lease of life to the pack. I’m interested to see how the Neighbourhood Stories plays out into future content next year, as well as the updated Townies. I’d like to hope that Babies may get an update at some point next year, as I’d love to have more gameplay for them.
Jovan: I share the same opinions with SnarkyWitch and Krista on Pack Refreshes. It’s an excellent move that, even though admits on one hand that some of the Packs are lacking and unfinished, also admits that the team is willing to listen to the players.
Still, if it weren’t for Pack Refreshes I would like to see more of Scenarios. No, not the current version of Scenarios that we have right now. They are a decent playthrough of the game to someone who’s just starting out with The Sims 4. Luckily The Sims Team said that this is the first iteration of Scenarios in the game.
The ideal scenario (hah, get it) on how this feature could expand is by giving more tools to the players that would let them turn their own challenges into Scenarios that they could share with the players. People are already creating their own Scenario Mods with the current version of this feature. Why not expand it with an extra layer of complexity and rewards, or even let players share their own Scenarios to The Gallery? This would make the game infinitely more fun to play with.
Oh, and also Cars and Babies.
Article you’re most proud of:
SnarkyWitch: This year, I really strove to highlight my skills as a storyteller and fiction writer, so I’m most proud of the new Story Starter Kit series I launched with Sims Community this year. It gave me a chance to show off different skillsets; Sim creation, building, and storytelling. It’s been a huge success, and I’m so grateful to the community for their enthusiasm and support for the Story Starter Kits. I can’t wait to keep bringing out new Story Starter Kits in 2022.
Krista: There are so many I want to choose for this question! I had a lot of fun with the Tell Me You Play The Sims Without Telling Me You Play The Sims article. I was blown away by the responses I had to the tweet that spawned that article. Many responses left me laughing along the way, and it was fun going through each of the replies and putting the whole article together.
I’d also like to mention two opinion pieces that I wrote, too. These being The Sims 4 Kits: My Personal Opinion & My thoughts so far on The Sims 4 Cottage Living. I tend to find opinion posts more challenging and out of my comfort zone, but with the more posts I’ve written like this, the more confident I’ve become writing them. I hope to be able to share more opinion based articles like this of my own and of community opinions in the future!
Jovan: This year I had a chance to focus more on delivering news regarding the franchise with, of course, some walkthroughs, guides and articles on the releases done this year. I’d be lying if I said that i didn’t enjoy doing some investigation and research on writing articles regarding the next generation Sims Game as well.
Still, in the midst of many news and articles published this year that you’d probably categorize as “professional”, the news report on the Chicken in a Suit has to be my favorite one for 2021.
Favorite Custom Content released this year:
SnarkyWitch: I actually don’t use a lot of CC in my game at all so all my favourite CC is several years old. I don’t tend to download much new CC. I’ll have to default to my favourite CC of all time which is the Pufferhead Stuff CC pack by MLys. This custom pack was released two years ago and it’s had a permanent home in my Mods folder ever since. It takes the world of Harry Potter and reimagines it in the world of The Sims based on the base game Henry Puffer poster. It creates new lore for the game based on one of my favourite book series and every piece is so perfectly Maxis Match, you would never know it wasn’t made by Maxis.
Krista: After keeping my game pretty much in a vanilla state for the past couple of years, this year saw me jump in and re-explore the world of custom content. While I could sit here and list all of my favourite individual pieces of custom content, here are some of my favourite Custom Content Creators that I have discovered this year! This includes SixamCC, Aretha, ThePeachyFaerie, ClumsyAlien and MyshunoSun to name a few!
Jovan: It’s not unusual for Custom Content creators to jump in and expand catalogues of newly released packs. HeyHarrie and Felixandresims blew up the original expectations of CC creators by releasing a two-part Orjánic Country Living Collection that perfectly accompanies the Cottage Living Build Catalog. They released 129 objects with flawless Maxis Match design and presets that fit into any modern or rustic cottage surrounding. What makes this so groundbreaking is that they’ve done it just weeks after the release of Cottage Living. Definitely a must have for anyone who can’t get enough of the Cottage Living lifestyle!
Favorite Mod released this year:
SnarkyWitch: I cannot get enough of Ravasheen’s Photographic Memory mod! She revamped it this year to add new features and refine old ones. It’s a must-have for any player who loves to take photographs of their families and decorate their homes with all those family memories. In fact, I loved this mod so much, I wrote an in-depth walkthrough of all of its features. Definitely check it out and go download this amazing mod ASAP.
Krista: Other than the go-to mods that many of us have in our games already, I don’t really use a lot of mods. One that I did enjoy was the collaboration between SixamCC and Nando which was the Breeze of Greece World Mod and CC Pack. I had great fun exploring all aspects of the collaboration and loved how Granite Falls was transformed into the world of Simtorini instead! Not only is the world beautiful, the accompanying CC Pack really brings everthing alive!
Jovan: Arnie’s Plumfruit Mod Pack brought the actual modern realism that was missing in The Sims 4 for so long. I’ve kept it in my Mods folder since the release of version 2.0, and it’s going to be my go-to for many more versions to come!
Huge thanks to all of our readers and the community for trusting in us. We can’t wait for the year ahead!
Stay safe and happy new 2022!
*Google Analytics report taken from January 1st to December 30th, 2021