The Best Expansion Pack From Each Era of ‘The Sims’

Chrissie Miille
Games PC Gaming
Games PC Gaming

In the world of PC gaming, The Sims franchise is king. The life simulation game was released in 2000, and has endured thus far to see its fourth installment, The Sims 4. Why has it lasted so long? Because it continues to grow, both to expand its own gameplay and to adapt to the times. It’s done so by releasing extra content for each installment, including stuff packs and game packs. But the most exciting growth lies with the expansion packs — content packs that introduce major new features to the game. They are what keep Sims’ plumbobs spinning. Here are our choices for the best expansion pack of each installment of The Sims.

The Sims: Superstar

Sims at the modeling agency
Strike a pose!

The Sims 1 is what started it all — it introduced us to our Sims and their world. The Sims: Superstar, its sixth expansion pack, allowed “Simmers” to garner fame for their Sims and become celebrities. It was a truly unique pack and it gave the game an extra dose of nostalgia with that classic Hollywood era charm.

Its new neighborhood, Studio Town, provided so many fun options for your Sims to act, sing, or model. The fact that celebrity perks, such as a butler and spa objects, were available without needing to become famous was one of those things that raised The Sims from a life simulation game to sweet, sweet wish fulfillment. And of course, the inclusion of real-life celebrities, like Marilyn Monroe, was a surreal touch. Superstar never had a remake like other packs in later eras, and that’s what makes it all the more special.

The Sims 2: University

Grad Sims and the llama mascot
Gotta have the llama mascot there for graduation, right?

The Sims 2 base game raised the bar from The Sims 1, what with an immersive 3D world, life stages, and much more opportunity for detail. Its first expansion pack, The Sims 2: University, took that opportunity and ran with it. This pack allowed Sims to become young adults and go off to experience everything college has to offer.

The college system was a new gameplay feature unlike anything Simmers had seen before. For the first time, Sims could move to other university neighborhoods and live with NPCs. They could go to class, join a Greek house, and even join an exclusive secret society. Dorm life, in particular, added a sense of realism to the game. Between studying, making friends, and just having fun with life on a shared residential lot, there was never a dull moment. University is not only the best Sims 2 expansion but also one of the most important packs in the history of The Sims for how it set the standard for future packs.

The Sims 3: Pets

Horses in 'The Sims 3'
Horses, horses everywhere!

The Sims 3 upped the level of customization for the game and introduced an open-world concept. Since The Sims 4 is still in active development, The Sims 3 has the most recent and complete collection of content packs to date. This makes it that much harder to choose its best expansion pack. While The Sims 3: Seasons is a very close runner-up, The Sims 3: Pets is our champion.

While both packs complement each other very well, Pets wins because of one thing in particular: horses. All iterations of The Sims franchise have had a pets-themed pack that included cats and dogs, but only The Sims 3 had horses (and unicorns!). Horses were such a cool and unique addition to the game, serving as both pets and as a new form of transportation. Besides horses, there was a huge variety of small pets for Sims to own, including birds, rodents, snakes, lizards, and turtles. With so much diversity added, The Sims 3: Pets made itself an instant classic.

The Sims 4: Seasons

Sims in the rain
Sims life is smiling while your fellow Sim gets struck by lightning.

The current installment of The Sims is The Sims 4, which brought about more enriched gameplay and Sims with emotions. It also introduced the concept of a game pack, which is more than a stuff pack but less than an expansion pack. Thus, there aren’t as many expansion packs as there might have been otherwise. But since the game is still ongoing, there’s more to come. Out of the expansion packs available so far, The Sims 4: Seasons gets our vote as the best.

It’s all the little things that make this expansion so good. All the new objects and details Simmers can add based on seasons and weather add put the “life” in “life simulation.” Of course, the seasons and different types of weather themselves look absolutely gorgeous. One of the really cool things though is the new calendar. The calendar allows players to create their own holidays in addition to the pre-made ones.

Content packs are the heart of every The Sims installment, with expansion packs leading the way. When played in tandem with each other, they create such an amazing life simulation. Choosing the best from each era is like choosing a favorite Sim – it’s tough. But now we ask you: which expansion packs do you think are the best of The Sims?

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