The Sims 4 Guides

How to Play The Sims 4: A Helpful Beginners Guide

Sims 4 Beginner Guide

Getting into The Sims 4 for the first time? Let us introduce you to the game’s culture!

Are you new to The Sims 4? Or maybe a returning player to the franchise, and you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, as we have you covered with everything you need to know in our How to Play Sims 4: A Beginners Guide.

History of The Sims

The Sims was originally released back in February 2000 with The Sims. Since then, the franchise has gone from strength to strength. With four mainline games and various spin-offs across multiple platforms, The Sims franchise truly has a variety of content for both new and longtime players.

With the most recent iteration of The Sims games, The Sims 4 released back in 2014 the game and the community has grown significantly during that time and show no signs of slowing down!

Who are Sims Community?

We are the Sims Community. A dedicated and passionate group of players who showcase their love for the franchise through the content they create on this website. We’ve recently celebrated our tenth anniversary and we continue to share the latest news and information about The Sims 4. We also cover community creations, custom content & mods, walkthroughs, guides, and more!

Sims Community Logo
The Sims Community Logo

Getting Started With How to Play Sims 4 Guide

With The Sims 4 now a free-to-play game, you will be able to obtain the Base Game via EA App if you are on PC, Origin on Mac as well as the PlayStation Store or Microsoft Store depending on which console you own. The Sims 4 can also be found on Steam and Epic Games.

Any additional content in the form of Stuff Packs, Game Packs, Expansion Packs, or Kits will still need to be purchased separately from the relevant storefront.

Now that you have the game ready to go, you might be wondering what to do next. Well, that is completely up to you.

First, let’s look at the home screen in The Sims 4!

How to play Sims 4 Homescreen
The Sims 4 Home Screen the first time you launch the game.

While the home screen can look slightly daunting at first, it is actually relatively straightforward to navigate.

At the top right of the home screen, you will find several different tabs:

  • My Home – This is your main loading screen when you first load up The Sims 4. Here you will find information about the game including the most recent patch notes, scenarios, Gallery Spotlight, and more!
  • Packs – The packs tabs show you all the additional packs for The Sims 4 but broken down into several smaller sections. These include sections for the packs that you own as well as Expansion, Game,, and Stuff Pack tabs and any Free Packs you own.
  • Kits – Similar to Packs, this tab shows you all the Kits that you own, as well as an overview of all available Kits for The Sims 4.

As for the right-hand side of the home screen, this is where you will find a few more options.

  • New Game – The start of your adventure in The Sims 4!
  • Play Scenarios – Play goal-based stories within The Sims 4 where your choices impact the outcome. Each scenario has different and multiple outcomes, and you can choose any way possible to reach those goals.
  • Gallery – The one-stop place to see creations from players all around the world!
  • Options – The Options menu contains a number of further choices from looking at Lessons, Game Settings, Release Notes, Credits, and more.

Note: Once you have started a new game, your screen will give you more options, including Resuming the save that you last played or choosing a specific save game. Your home screen will look similar to this the next time you load The Sims 4.

Sims Home screen
The Sims 4 Home screen when returning to play

Creating your First Sim?

Now that you are taking your first steps into The Sims 4, you will first be greeted with Create a Sim. There are two ways you can go about making your Sim or even multiple Sims.

  • Explore and play around with the different features of Create a Sim
  • Use the Story Quiz to create your Sims’ backstory and then customize your Sim!
Sims Creation
The Sims 4 Story Quiz in Create a Sim

Both ways are a good starting point for creating your first Household. If this is your first time Creating Sims in The Sims 4 or you are brand new to The Sims franchise, the main thing to remember is to have fun exploring what Create a Sim has to offer!

Your First Home

Once you have created your Sims, you can move your Sims into their first home. You will have a budget available to spend on purchasing a home or an empty Lot and create your own home! You’ll be able to choose a home in either Willow Creek, Oasis Springs, or the empty world of Newcrest.

With your Sims now moved into their new home, it’s time to begin your Sims adventure! Create your own storyline or legacy and see where it takes you!

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Introducing Emily

Emily will be your helping hand, guiding you through the different features of the game! If you aren’t too sure how something works or need a bit of guidance, you’ll be able to count on her! She is your one-stop in-game help with learning how to play Sims 4.

If you need to call on Emily, you’ll be able to activate her by selecting her icon along the toolbar on the top right-hand side of your screen. This icon can be accessed throughout the game whenever you need a helping hand. The first time you will meet her is during Create A Sim and then throughout the game when needed.

How to Play Sims 4 - Emily
Where to find Emily, The Sims 4’s New Player Assistant

You can find out more about Emily and her features here!

Commonly Used Terms

As you play through The Sims or engage with the community both in-game via The Gallery or on Social Media, you may hear and read a variety of terms you’ve not heard before.

We have compiled a list of some of the most common terms you’ll come across relating to The Sims 4!

  • CAS – Create a Sim
  • BB – Build/Buy Mode
  • Townies – Randomly generated Sims
  • Pre-Made – Sims created by the Maxis Team
  • CC – Custom Content
  • Mods – Player-created game modifications
  • Maxis Match/MM – Custom Content that matches the game’s art style
  • Alpha – Custom Content that is more realistic and doesn’t match the game’s art style.
  • Maxis Mix – A player who uses a combination of both Maxis Match and Alpha Custom Content
  • Challenges – Player created challenges for alternative gameplay options
  • Sims Delivery Express (SDX) – Small pieces of content shared from The Sims Team that do not require a game patch to be added
  • Patch Day – This is the day when The Sims 4 receives an update. This can include bug fixes, and new content and prepares the game for a new pack release if one is scheduled.
  • Roadmap – An infographic shared by The Sims Team that gives players a clue as to what kind of content to expect over the next few months
  • Curseforge – The official Mod Manager for The Sims 4
Sims 4 Gameplay
Playing The Sims Forever in The Sims 4

How to Play Sims 4 Resources

Ready to find out more on How to Play Sims 4, here are some useful guides and resources for players to check out.

Beginners Guides

Additional Resources

Mods and Custom Content

The Sims 4 Cheats

Technical Support

Are you looking to expand your The Sims 4 collection with additional packs? Take a look at our in-depth ultimate guide!

The Community – Center of How to Play Sims 4 Guides!

Want to find out more about The Sims and the community? You can join players on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and even Discord! Share your stories, highlights, lowlights, and more with players around the world!

Want to get connected? Click the image below and join us on Discord!

With channels for all of The Sims games, mods & custom content, technical support, challenges, and more how to play Sims 4 player resources, there’s plenty for everyone over on our Discord!

How to Play Sims 4 - Discord Invite
Sims Community Discord

As this How to Play Sims 4 guide comes to an end, there are plenty of ways for you to discover how to Play With Life. Getting started is easy and with the handy points that have been covered in this guide, you’ll find plenty of ways to expand on your own experience in the game, create stories, memories, and more!

About the author


Hey, I'm Krista! Long time Simmer and Sims Community Staff.

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