The Sims Spark'd is a reality competition series based entirely in The Sims 4 with contestants who are all popular pro Sims players - a unique take on the reality competition show format. As of publication, the debut episode (opens in new tab) has nearly 800,000 views on YouTube - so this new formula clearly has some merit.
Since the season finale just aired last Friday, August 7, I sent over some questions to The Sims GM Lyndsay Pearson, judge Kelsey Impicciche, and host Rayvon Owens to get a better idea of the ideation, magic, and community that drives The Sims Spark'd, the first ever reality show of its kind.
So many reality competitions focus on wild challenges that push people's minds and bodies to the limit, but you'd be hard-pressed to find one based solely in a video game. "What feels so special about The Sims Spark'd is to ground all of those elements in a central game The Sims 4, giving a level playing field that anyone can enter," Pearson explains via email. "The competitors on the show are sharing their personal stories and the influences in their lives, but it's not a far stretch to see how I as a player could try it myself."
That's why it makes sense that the judges and even the host are members of the Sims community. Judge Kelsey Impicciche points out a new way The Sims Spark'd is reinventing the reality competition format, writing, "we're taking a game that you can play yourself at home, inviting in players of that game to compete, and meanwhile you can play along yourself at home. How many other shows can have you so easily play along with the contestants?"
I won't spoil the finale by telling you which team took home the $100,000 grand prize, but one of the most interesting aspects of the show's format is that many of the competitors know and respect each other as creators in The Sims 4 (also, none of these contestants are your stereotypical "reality tv dickhead"). "The Sims Spark’d is different in that these competitors all know each other," Pearson writes. "They follow each others' work and it brings an overwhelming feeling of cooperation and support to the work that they do in the series that reflects the attitudes of The Sims community at large. It's about celebrating what makes each of us unique and special and being inspired by each other."
As host Rayvon Owens writes, The Sims Spark'd does show off the community's inclusivity: "This Sims community is extremely inclusive and any and all are welcome — including those who sometimes may feel they are more 'outcasts' or maybe identify differently than others around them. To see those gamers represented and able to share their story onscreen is a feeling like no other."
The Sims Spark'd is posted to have future seasons - maybe you'll catch me on there. Or I'll catch you.