• Strangetown introduced Simmers to a unique and mysterious environment outside of the typical suburban setting.
  • Henford-On-Bagley offers a cozy and secluded atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a peaceful countryside experience.
  • Bridgeport brought the series to life in a big city, allowing players to immerse themselves in the excitement and luxury of urban living.

The Sims series has always focused on giving players the chance to tell their own stories and cultivate the characters of their Sims on their terms. However, the life sim games would never have had the same draw if not for the secret sauce to the series: the neighborhoods. The beautiful scenery and idyllic backdrops serve to inspire players in their architectural designs and narrative weaving.

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Watching Sims enjoy their time in those virtual slices of paradise evokes an undeniable vicarious satisfaction across all the hours and years of Sims gameplay. With so many games to choose from, which neighborhood struck the perfect chord with its fan base? From cozy suburbs to bustling urban hubs, it's time to take a stroll down Sim memory lane.


The Sims 2

The Sims 2
Platform(s) PSP, PS2, Xbox (Original), PC, macOS, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, GameCube
Released 2004-09-14
Developer(s) Maxis
Genre(s) Life Simulation
  • Mysterious aliens, and the reappearance of a long-lost Goth?
  • A nice change of pace from the usual green suburban scene
  • 16 housed residents, 31 strangers in town

For many elderly Simmers, Strangetown was their first look into a Sims environment outside the typical North American suburb seen in the first game. Granted, the neighborhood was based on places commonly seen on the outskirts of real-life Nevada, but the eye-catching novelty of seeing cactus plants and rolling dunes set a precedent for the series' inclusion of a variety of neighborhoods for years to come.

Strangetown also played up to the more occult side of the series, with its mysterious UFO crash site and incognito alien family. Plus, there were the overt whisperings of Bella Goth's reappearance to keep players' eyes peeled as they hacked out a living under the desert sun and moon.


The Sims 4: Cottage Living

The Sims 4
Platform(s) PS4, PC, Xbox One
Released 2014-09-02
Developer(s) Maxis
Genre(s) Simulation
  • Modeled on the quaint English countryside
  • Rolling hills, mild skies, and gentle slopes
  • 14 full-time cottageers

If the name didn't already give it away, the quirkily named Henford-On-Bagly was modeled on the quaint towns of the English countryside. Although plenty of neighborhoods offer green and the great outdoors, Henford-On-Bagley gives players the feeling of cozy seclusion from the rest of the world. Rolling pastures, charming drywall fences, and happy cows and chickens are instant calmers for simmers looking to simmer down.

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Unlike other packs, the scaled-down neighborhood size feels appropriate. The slightly washed-out pastures give the open area a wholesome, rustic feel. All the open space is necessary for players to plop down their perfect allotments or animal pens.

Belladonna Cove

The Sims 2: Apartment Life

  • The largest lot in The Sims 2
  • 23 housed residents, 33 townie sims

The Sims 2's final pack went out with a bang, introducing a ton of content besides just apartments. Supernatural neighbors, spectral cats, and miraculous butlers all added magic to the pack, but the most enchanting of all is Belladonna Cove, the largest neighborhood in The Sims 2 in terms of lot number and population.

Belladonna Cove is the neighborhood that hints at the open-world innovation brought about by The Sims 3, as the neighborhood looks to have been crafted with multiple explorable districts in mind. The Cove offers the most diversity for players: industrialization, fresh beachfront property, mansions, and small apartments.

Chestnut Ridge

The Sims 4: Horses

  • A rootin', tootin' calm cowboy utopia
  • Housed residents: 8

Although many fans were disappointed to see one pet pack split into two (or even three) pieces in the standard Sims 4 fashion, EA at least saw fit to trot out the fourth entry's most beautiful world as part of the Horse Ranch expansion pack. With a scenic trail to canter around on, training barrels, and campgrounds for a comfy smokey campfire respite, Chestnut Ridge is the idyllic backdrop for equestrian-loving Sims to care for their horses.

While the tiny neighborhood populations somewhat dragged other worlds down in The Sims 4 packs, the solitude feels somehow appropriate in Chestnut Ridge, thanks to the lone cowboy themes. This is enhanced by the rustic aesthetic emanating from every structure in the ridge, from old-timey saloons to the nectar house.


The Sims 3: Late Night

The Sims 3
Platform(s) Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, iOS, Android, Nintendo DS, 3DS
Released 2009-06-02
Developer(s) Maxis
Genre(s) Simulation
  • The series' first (and, to date, finest) take on life in the big city
  • A truly massive 'hood with 72 sims occupying the city

The inclusion of Bridgeport in The Sims 3 was big: as the series' first fully playable urban city (not counting the Urbz), it cracked open the open world and made the world feel truly massive, allowing players to live out the fantasy of being able to rent an apartment right in the heart of a thrumming, historied metropolis, all without the annoyances of gridlock traffic and those mysterious subway smells.

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The city shares a strong resemblance to Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Vancouver. Small touches, such as yellow cab taxis zooming around the blocks, longer opening hours for stores (or later work schedules for working stiff Sims), and the smell of wealth in each public lot give the neighborhood a luxurious sheen and a sense of scale akin to a real urban center.

Sim Lane & Old Town (AKA Pleasantview)

The Sims: Unleashed & The Sims 2

The Sims
Platform(s) PS2, Xbox (Original), PC, GameCube
Released 2000-02-04
Developer(s) Maxis
Genre(s) Life Simulation
  • The classic and iconic neighborhood from the original game
  • 4 housed residents, 9 with Unleashed

The 90s' nostalgic look back at the golden age of American suburbanism mixed with the optimism for the future to come of the early 2000s shines through this quintessential Sims neighborhood. For life-long players of the series since its inception, this iconic set of roads, homes, and empty lots perfectly captures the dollhouse dynamism that hooked millions of players. The Unleashed expansion extended Sim Lane with Old Town, seamlessly adding the rest of the set.

Neat, simple, colorfully appealing, Pleasantview (or Neighborhood 1 as it was known in The Sims 1) wordlessly espouses the ideals of a conservative fantasy: the dream of stability, abundance through goods and consumerism, and vaguely unchanging cultural perfection. Considering their amicable, light, and wholesome natures, this primordial neighborhood indeed seems like the perfect encapsulation of Sim nature.

Sunset Valley

The Sims 3

  • The ideal location for fun, relaxation, and adventure
  • A whopping 67 residents

Perhaps a large part of this neighborhood's placement is the fact that it is accessed entirely without loading screens, at least after the game loads up for the first time. However, unlike the stereotypical suburban setting the series is known for, Sunset Valley does seem like a dream destination. Both futuristic and modern in terms of architecture, its thriving market street, golden beach, and fresh pine hills set it apart even from the most enchanting or magical 'hoods seen elsewhere in the series.

The neighborhood borrows the same aesthetically pleasing slopping shape as the original Pleasantview as it rolls into the calm lapping waves of the sea. Hotdog grills dot the sand and swimmers part the diamond-sewn sea. Open or not, Sunset Valley appeals to sun-loving outgoing Sims, comfort-loving indoor types, and everyone in between.

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2023-12-02T05:39:32Z dg43tfdfdgfd