The Sims 4, a life simulation video game developed by Maxis and owned by Electronic Arts, has just announced that it will launch a new Eco Lifestyle Expansion Pack on June 5. The latest game pack opens up a new world called Evergreen Harbour, which has been marred by pollution over the years. With every action they take, Sims can either help restore nature to the planet, or end up living with the consequences of a climate-stricken world.
One of the best-selling video game series of all time with over 200 million copies sold worldwide, The Sims franchise is one of the most popular life simulation video games where players can explore different personalities and decide the direction of their Sims’ lives.
Originally created in 2000, the franchise has kept its name alive over two decades because of its ability to keep up with major trends – and this time, it is spotting sustainability in the mainstream. In their latest game expansion, EA is releasing a new Eco Lifestyle Expansion Pack for The Sims 4, where players navigate a new polluted world called Evergreen Harbour.
“Over the years, it has become…well, not so green at all,” says the description of the much-anticipated expansion pack. “Smog and dirty air cloud the skies, junk has accumulated in empty lots, and trash litters the docks of the harbour.”
But with each daily interaction, purchase and choice that players’ Sims make, there is a chance for the green nature of the planet to be revitalised.
Sims can choose to redecorate their homes with secondhand goods, diverting items that would otherwise pile up in the city’s overflowing landfills. They can also resell their existing items to lengthen the lifespan of products, or send them to recycling after taking out reusable components that can be upcycled into new items.
Neighbourhoods can be transformed with community green initiatives – Sims can gather their friends and family members together to participate in clean ups, create local marketplaces or build vertical gardens and hydroponic plants. Weekends can be spent at the insect farms, where different species of bugs can flourish – some Sims might even choose to add insect protein into their diets, though this wouldn’t exactly be the cruelty-free or slaughter-free option.
They can vote for the city to make a switch to renewable energy sources, from wind turbines to solar panels. If there hasn’t yet been enough support for citywide change, each Sims can take individual action in their own homes and can set up their own solar grids.
Other individual climate actions include going plant-based, or exploring an entirely new career in the growing list of sustainability-related fields, such as a freelance crafter who creates new resources out of repurposed materials, or becoming a civil designer to fix up the town the green way.
For game reviewer Alyssa Mercante, the new Eco Lifestyle pack represents something profound – that while sometimes, it may seem like the climate crisis is too big to solve, if we all did our bit, we do stand a chance.
“It may seem trite, but Eco Lifestyle lets me live in a world where my choices actually matter,” Mercante writes. “[It] is a reminder that there are real-world ways to treat our planet better (like recycling, composting, and using alternative energy sources), and it starts with us.”
All images courtesy of EA.