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The Sims has been around for over two decades and is still going strong. In 2022 alone, gamers spent more than 1.4 billion hours in the virtual world. But a few things have been missing. In a game based on life simulation, some players have lacked options to accurately portray their own experiences, particularly trans people and those with disabilities.
The latest update for The Sims 4 is addressing some of those shortcomings with new customizations. Players can now modify their Sims with top surgery scars, binders and lower-body shapewear. A 'medical wearables' category includes a hearing aid in 15 color variants and a glucose monitor that can be placed on an arm or abdomen.
Advanced players have been creating their own mods for years, and YouTuber Trans Simmer pointed out that the binders aren't functional; they don't actually flatten chests. But the overall reception has been positive, with players expressing joy at finally being represented in their game. Next up: wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, crutches and service animals?
I've been looking at my sim self with hearing aids for like an hour. bc never thought one day I could represent myself in The Sims but im glad it's here. 🦻 pic.twitter.com/HDhgSoORbU— Luddle's in The Family Tree. 🌳 #stayanddraw (@LuddySimmer) January 31, 2023
Representation of diversity in games and other forms of media and entertainment isn't just validating. It has the power to shape societal norms and foster acceptance for those who are different. And to help (young) players embrace their own differences.
With this in mind, The Sims could take inclusivity to the next level by implementing a disability or gender identity switch that would randomly assign a player specific traits and have them experience the world as a trans mom for a week, or as a teen in a wheelchair. Nothing like exploring the world from a different perspective to build empathy :)
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