The Community’s Opinion on The Sims 4 Interface

The Sims Community is very vocal about their thoughts and feelings on The Sims games. People often tweet or message The Sims page on Twitter with thoughts on new packs or ideas and concerns for the direction of the game. There are also a number of YouTubers who voice their thoughts and get their followers to respond with opinions under their videos in order to start conversations about matters surrounding the game. These YouTubers also share mods – fan made modifications to the game – that they enjoy and think their audience would benefit from. 

I will be looking in more detail at opinions by three Sims YouTubers involving the issues with the game that I mentioned in my previous post. I will be focusing mainly on the main menu and loading screen. 

Main Menu 

Plumbella

Plumbella has a very similar opinion on the main menu as I do. She claims that ‘it looks way too commercial’ and that ‘this is the least ‘Sims-y [menu] screen that I have ever seen’. ⁽¹⁾ I am inclined to agree with this statement as, looking back at previous Sims games, the Sims 4 main menu really does not match. 

Both the Sims 2 and Sims 3 menus are almost straight into the game and are simply a choice of which neighbourhood the player wants to use. There are no advertisements and no options for spending more money, the game is just that – a game. 

She states that ‘it could just be because of nostalgia that I’m saying that [but] the old menu screens make it look like an actual game but this menu just looks like it’s for a business’. ⁽¹⁾ With the number of advertisements and links to webpages to buy more packs, I have to agree that this menu definitely focuses on earning money rather than gameplay. 

She also briefly mentions the colour palette saying ‘the colours are just so off’. ⁽¹⁾ She goes on to say ‘the contrast of the colours in older games worked really really well – it was very fluid. These colours, the blue in the logo and the green in the plumbob, they clash’. ⁽¹⁾ As seen in my last post, I 100% agree with this opinion as there is a distinct lack of fluidity between shades. 

Plumbella then goes on to talk about the new colours for the extra packs. She says ‘I think in some ways it works well because now you can clearly see what’s a game pack, what’s a stuff pack, what’s an expansion pack and what’s free. And I can see this working with younger audiences to initially help them differentiate between packs’. ⁽¹⁾ She then argues her own point by saying ‘kids aren’t stupid, they’re going to play around with the game, they’re not going to know what’s what. But after a couple of weeks they will know what’s what and they’ll be able to differentiate between a game pack, an expansion pack and a stuff pack because they’re not thick’. ⁽¹⁾ While I absolutely agree that kids will be able to figure out the game for themselves – as I did with the first Sims game in 2000 – I also believe that it is immoral to encourage children to spend money on in-game extras. 

She then shares her personal view by saying ‘I do definitely prefer the individual colours. It made packs stand out a lot more [and] was more aesthetically pleasing. It made more sense in your head that Cats and Dogs is red, Seasons is green, and I think that way works the best as we can connect with them colours’. ⁽¹⁾ 

EnglishSimmer

EnglishSimmer says that, although she does not suffer with colour blindness, she ‘really struggled at first [with the] distinction between the game packs and the expansion packs. At first I genuinely could not tell the difference between those pack icons’. ⁽²⁾ She goes on to explain that ‘colour is such a specific thing to a person, you can never really describe how you see a colour. So I think those packs need to be more distinguished, whether that’s adding in a third colour, I don’t know’. ⁽²⁾ 

Deligracy

Deligracy’s opinion on the main menu was much more positive, she said ‘I know a lot of people didn’t like this but I personally really like it. I think it’s really nice and simple, it’s easy to see, it looks easy to navigate. It looks good to me, I like it minimal’. ⁽³⁾ 

She also mentions the pack icons briefly, saying ‘I also happen to really like the icons for the games. Again, I kind of would’ve preferred not to have that shiny, fragmented shape thing overlaid over the icons, I just feel like simple is best. Just block colours would have been nicer for me but I do appreciate that it’s so easy to see’. ⁽³⁾ She does also mention the colours of the pack icons, saying ‘I do think it’s interesting that they’ve gone for blues for both expansion packs and game packs, I thought they would’ve wanted to differentiate between those colours a little bit more’. ⁽³⁾ 

Loading Screen 

Plumbella

Plumbella’s opinion on the loading screen is also very negative. Her initial thought is that ‘it feels so flat and ugly, I hate it’. ⁽¹⁾ She goes on to say ‘I think it’s because I can’t justify this loading screen because I can’t understand how someone can look at this and think, yeah good design’.⁽¹⁾ She also says that ‘there are a lot of loading screens in The Sims 4, if you want to leave your house, you’re going to have to sit through one. So shouldn’t the loading screens be kind of interesting.’ ⁽¹⁾ I really agree with this point as it is so true. Everything in The Sims 4 requires a loading screen so the designers should definitely have paid more attention to the look and feel of this element. 

She explains that she ‘did have a conversation with someone on Twitter who has sensory issues and they said that these colours are too much and even YouTubers sharing these images are getting too much for them. I do agree with that person [and] I am a bit sensitive to sensory things – probably actually why this loading screen is offending me so much. I think this could be an oversight with EA in terms of accessibility‘. ⁽¹⁾ 

EnglishSimmer

EnglishSimmer goes into more detail about the sensory issues involved with this loading screen. She explains that ‘people have been getting migraines, headaches, light sensitivity [and] blue light sensitivity.Being at risk from getting severe pain through that loading screen, that’s not a game that you’ll likely want to play or spend your money on’. And this is true. The Sims Team are completely overlooking a huge portion of their player base by creating unnecessarily bright screens that harm their players. And while the argument from some of the community that blue loading screens are not new for The Sims, the old games use ‘different tones so they aren’t one static blue colour’. ⁽²⁾ 

She then goes on to argue the point that not everyone with sensory issues has a problem with the screen. However on the flip side I’ve also seen people who have light sensitivity issues saying that the blue actually works a lot better for them over the [previous] white’. ⁽²⁾  This shows that even within the group of players with sensory issues, there are varying degrees of effects. 

She also talks about how other branches of EA are making life changing steps in accessibility. ‘I actually sat down at EA Play with Karen Stevens who is the wonderful mind behind behind EA Accessibility and she has done some amazing work within the EA Sports side to really open up accessibility. There are people who play Madden who have complete sight loss. So I hope that the team are serious about inclusion and accessibility’. ⁽²⁾  With this in mind, it puts into perspective how behind The Sims Team are when it comes to accessibility if no one considered the sensory implications of adding such vibrant screens. 

The final point that EnglishSimmer makes is that, in order for her audience to continue watching her gameplay videos, she will edit out all of the loading screens that appear in game. The fact that this is something content creators have to do in order to protect people from the game is ridiculous. Although the loading screen was updated to a darker blue more recently, I believe these issues should have been addressed before the initial rebrand launched in 2019.

References 

(1) Plumbella. (2019). Why Does The Sims 4 Look Like This?! (New Design Reaction). 
Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47qm95whlvA&t=137s
Last accessed 9th Oct 2020.

(2) EnglishSimmer. (2019). Everything Wrong with The Sims 4 Rebrand. 
Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yE3eilHyPU 
Last accessed 9th Oct 2020.

(3) Deligracy. (2019). Graphic Designer Reacts to New Sims 4 Logo. 
Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s94fzQABNI 
Last accessed 9th Oct 2020.

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