The Sims 3 is much more than a game. With the right tools and enough imagination, you can transform The Sims 3 into a movie studio, a fashion showcase or even a commercial opportunity. Meanwhile, the people who play The Sims 3 are so much more than fans. They’re a thriving community, constantly working to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the game, then sharing their discoveries for everyone to enjoy.
You can make art with The Sims 3. You can make money with The Sims 3. You can even make real-world friends with The Sims 3. You just need to know where to start…
The Sims Resource
What is it? Exactly what the name implies: excluding the game’s official website, this is the best resource for Sims information and downloads. Compared to other links on our list, it’s refreshingly well-designed as well. You’ll find what you’re looking for with speed and ease.
Why should you bookmark? The Resource has been an essential bookmark for a decade, since the very first days of the very first game. Now is no different. Already, the site boasts nearly 2,000 downloadable people and house lots for The Sims 3, plus nearly 3,000 downloadable patterns. If their archive for The Sims 2 is any indication, those numbers could grow as high as 50,000 and include unique clothing, makeup, objects, walls, floors, eye colors, skin tones, facial hair and more.
That’s only the beginning, though. The website also offers a long list of detailed tutorials, devises clever challenges that can extend your replay value and creates themed collections like “Retro” and “Summer.” Yeah, if you’re a Sims diehard, you can lose a lot of time there.
Mod The Sims
What is it? A simple community forum (owned by a decidedly non-simple publishing conglomerate) that teaches players how to modify the game, then gives them a place to exchange and discuss those modifications.
Why should you bookmark? Playing within the game’s rules will only get you so far. And while you can find modding tutorials and custom downloads on many of the other links we’ve listed in this article, Mod The Sims always manages to highlight some unique item or creation that we’ve never seen or found anywhere else. In just the past week, for example, their Featured Items have alerted us to an expansion on the available foods, plants and cooking ingredients in the game, as well as a Create-A-Sim “hack slide” that enables you to adjust faces and body attributes past the minimum and maximum extremes usually allowed.
As the users get more skilled with The Sims 3, expect even wilder and crazier additions. Browsing through some recent mods for The Sims 2, we found a “Redneck Mansion” constructed out of stacked trailer homes and a post-apocalyptic TV station with plenty of moody static and test patterns. Plus, Jean-Luc Picard!
What is it? A marketplace for user-created items, particularly bodies and hairstyles. It’s difficult to navigate and still focused heavily on The Sims 2, but worth visiting for the founder’s first experimentations with The Sims 3 alone.
Why should you bookmark? If you’ve ever complained that this series is too cartoonish and too childish, here’s your solution, or at least the promising beginnings of one. “Pegy” specializes in detail, crafting ultra-realistic Sims with reflective eyes, feathered hair and sculpted muscles. Remarkable or repulsive? Cool or creepy? Whatever you decide, the results are certainly worth checking out… and guaranteed to grow in the months to come.
Alice and Kev
What is it? The touching story of a homeless father and daughter, told entirely through screens captured in The Sims 3.
Why should you bookmark? Go to the game’s official website and you canflip through hundredsof player-told storybooks. Most are amateurish, but quite a few are fun and some are even great. None, however, come anywhere close to the tale that British game design student Robin Burkinshaw is weaving on her Wordpress blog. She has a gift for discovering drama in the simplest of situations, though her characters – the caddish, possibly insane Kev and fragile, emotionally abused Alice – do give her plenty of material to work with. Best of all? Robin pushes readers affected by her chronicle of virtual homelessness to donate money and try fixing real homelessness.
The Sims YouTube Channel
What is it? A collection of nearly every Sims 3 movie ever made, including surprisingly funny clips from the game’s marketing department and surprisingly polished machinima from the game’s legion of fans.
Why should you bookmark? You’ll gain an entirely new appreciation for The Sims 3 after you’ve seen what a clever edit or carefully-positioned camera angle can do. We all imagine storylines for our pet computer people, but on this page, you’ll find miniature masterpieces of comedy, tragedy, horror, romance and sex told anywhere between a few minutes and a few seconds. Watch enough of them and you may even be inspired to start creating your own.
Here are two of our favorite pieces of Sims 3 machinima, so far. The first is player-made and the second is EA-made.