The 20 most innovative games ever made

20 titles that changed video gaming forever

The 20 most innovative games ever made prev next


#13: The Sims

Platform: PC

Year: 2000

Original review score: 5 out of 5 Stars

In The Sims, players ruled. More of an interactive dollhouse than a literal "game," The Sims tasked players with managing a virtual family. What you actually did with them, though, was completely up to you.

Why It Was Innovative:

In The Sims, you won't find a storyline, a goal, or a cast of characters. Instead, you'll find a landmark game that allows you to build a virtual world from the ground up and tend to (or torture, or misdirect, or ignore) the denizens living inside it. You could order your Sim to eat, exercise, and pay his bills in order to be happy and popular; conversely, you could simply let him rot in his own excrement and gleefully take screengrabs. This open-ended quality of the game transformed The Sims into a monstrous mainstream hit, partly driven by its success with female players - something almost unheard of in 2000. There was no real way to win at The Sims, but the satisfaction of being an omnipotent voyeur watching over a completely customized simulated life was yet another fascinating innovation from the mind of designer Will Wright.

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