I have a pretty niche obsession: The era of Sims 2 handheld games that gave us evil robots, a rat superhero and a mythical mummy with magical powers.
For the longest time, I thought I was alone in my obsession. When I first started writing about games, there was barely any information about any of the handheld Sims games online. Despite being part of such a massive franchise, these wild spin-offs seemed destined to fade into obscurity.
But then, something strange happened. People started writing more about The Sims 2 DS. Reddit threads popped up about the strange aura around the game. My profile on the series was picked up in YouTube gaming shows and slowly, more people started talking about the franchise.
It was the strangeness of the series that stuck with people most, but that’s what makes each game so fun. When the handheld games were released in the early 2000s, The Sims was a household name. It would’ve been easy to coast on that fact alone — but the team at Griptonite Games had something much bolder in mind.
Instead of straight simulator gameplay (which reportedly didn’t translate well on the Game Boy Advance hardware), the team decided to throw everything at the wall. The first instalment, The Sims: Bustin’ Out, introduced a killer rooster, Scrooge-like ghosts and alien subplots.
Its sequel, The Urbz on Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance, doubled down on the weird factor. This game had bayou-bound vampires, a Shawshank Redemption-style jailbreak, a moon landing and a dinosaur-splicing island. Any leftover weird ideas the Griptonite Games team had were squashed into the The Urbz.
And everything else that didn’t fit? That wound up in The Sims 2 DS with all its evil cow cults, the magic mummy, the leg-breaking mob boss, the rat superhero and the haywire robot.
While the game is basically about running a big hotel, it was never afraid to amp up the strange, uncanny vibes and send you on quests you couldn’t find anywhere else. What other game will have you searching frantically for a hot iron to brand the stomach of the Prime Heifer cow god, while a goth princess watches on in horror?
What other game will task you with burying a mysterious, wiggling chest in the desert while an ancient mummy slumbers in the deep?
The Sims 2 DS is an absolute gem; it deserves a spot in modern gaming. It deserves Switch port so everyone can experience its off-putting vibes. The Nintendo DS will become obsolete one day, with many of its best games ported or remastered for future generations, while the rest will become trivia.
This series doesn’t deserve that. What it deserves is a shiny collection on Nintendo Switch, with every game wrapped neatly in a bow.
Now, am I saying it’s a possibility? Look, probably not. EA has other priorities with The Sims right now and many of the franchise’s spin-offs have been lost to time. But the thought of young kids not remembering what The Sims 2 DS is? The thought of kids not remembering the greatest, weirdest game of our time?
It makes me shake.
Once upon a time, games were weird. They were wacky.
Once, games let you do a funny dance to destroy a cow cult or wield a branding iron to demolish an ancient statue. Once, games had you drink an old cola and shrink down to the size of an ant to destroy a beetle queen. Once, they replaced your best friend with an alien, and nobody ever spoke about it again.
The Sims 2 DS and all its weird spin-offs deserve justice in 2021. They deserve new life. Whether on the Switch or elsewhere, the entire Sims handheld franchise deserves a place among the stars.
I will not stoop to begging, because I know how far away the possibility seems. But please, EA, all I’m asking is that you consider it.
At the very least, we should remember everything The Sims handheld games gave us: weird vibes, strange cults and great times.