One of the biggest discussions in the Simming Community is how to make the Sims more Universally Inclusive. The Sims series is a life simulation game, which allows for players to ideally make their simselves… But what if there is no content for a player to make their simself? What does the player do then? Unfortunately, many Simmers feel as if they cannot make a good simself representative of themselves. This leaves many Simmers feeling like the provided content does not fit them. Is this really inclusion if so many Simmers are still left out?
What is Universal Inclusion
So what is Universal Inclusion? My interpretation of Universal Inclusion is to try to help make things accessible and inclusive to all. So universal inclusion is not just accessibility or inclusion… it’s both. I was given the following quote from an individual who works for a department of developmental disabilities. This professional finds this quote the best to explain universal inclusion in their view.
Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance. Verna Myers
For me, this quote really puts things into perspective. As the individual is not included at the party until they are invited to participate.
Asking the Gaming Community
As this is a current topic for many in the gaming community I made sure to talk with numerous gamers about Universal Inclusion in gaming. When speaking with different gamers there were two constant themes that these gamers identified. These elements were to make gaming accessible and the importance of gamers to be able to relate to characters or avatars in the games they played.
For many gamer families, there is a high value on their children being able to see someone like them in the games they play. Specifically, with Sims parents wish that their teens can create their Simself and feel that it is the representation they wish for. For example, I spoke to a gaming family that has a teen who is deaf and the teen would love to see sign language or hearing aids within the Sims.
Speaking with Professionals
The topic of Universal Inclusion means a lot to many individuals, however, it can also be a sensitive topic. Fortunately, I have a bit of an advantage to researching this topic as my mother has dedicated her entire life’s work to assisting those with special needs. For this article, I made sure to reach out to her and discuss Universal Inclusion in gaming with her.
Speaking with my mother and other helping professionals the core message was inclusion brings hope. Positive gaming can have a huge impact on someone’s life. For those individuals who have mobility restrictions, sometimes getting out to social settings can be difficult. This can be very lonely and gaming gives the option for socialization.
Sure Sims is not a multiplayer game, but the Sims Community is active and ALL over the internet. Plenty of people to socialize with and share all the silly things our Sims do. From a professional look on this, this includes so many people in playing the game and gives socialization and access to a hobby and entertainment.
Why Is This Such a Sensitive Topic?
Universal inclusion in gaming can be a sensitive topic as this is something that has to be carefully planned out. As not all disabilities are visible and everyone is unique. This includes individuals with similar disabilities, as a disability will not display exactly the same from person to person.
So how do you include these elements into gaming? A gaming company is going to want to include as much content for different people as possible without stereotyping the content. So how can this be achieved to not offend thousands… millions of Simmers? Like I said it’s tricky to do this justice and correctly. And even if it is done ‘correctly’ can it really cover all the needed bases and not disrespect or offend someone?
Mods and CC
This is where mods and CC come in! Fortunately, there are a lot of mods and CC that players can download to fill in some gaps. But just what sort of mods and CC are needed to really make sure Universal Inclusion is in the Sims. Simmers are a unique bunch and there are MILLIONS of Simmers! So LOTS of content is needed to give Simmers what they need!
Mods and CC at The Sims Resource
Here at The Sims Resource, we do have CC that you can download into your game that can help you make your Simself. For example, EvilQuinzel has created Hearing Aid Accessories for Kids and Adults. Kardofe has an entire medical equipment set that you can download as well.
Mods and CC Outside the Sims Resource
There are of course other CC items that you can find around the web if you look. There are wheelchair mods out there like Necordog’s working wheelchair, however, these mods are generally just for Sims to ride in the wheelchair and they can still walk around. I did find a Mod that allows for Sims to become deaf by DaleRune. This mod works under traits and incorporates moodlets and other traits to make this possible.
Obviously, with mods there are a lot of technical challenges that would have to be figured out to accommodate physical disabilities. However, looking DaleRune’s Deaf Trait mod, it does not look impossible in my eyes. With a wheelchair, I would imagine that traits and items would be linked in a way and more animations would be needed. The ability to walk would also have to be turned off for Sims with those specific traits. So not impossible but still sounds a little bit tricky to me. I hope one day we see more mods or Sims content like this.
So why does my opinion on this matter? Well frankly because I care. Also, I have had over fourteen years of education within the mental health and social science field (yes just a couple classes from a PsyD. and don’t do the math… I don’t want anyone to know how ancient I am.)
On a more serious note, I have special circumstances that I struggle with, and gaming and the gaming community have helped me in so many ways. I am a creative type for sure, however, for a long time, my voice online was muted or laughed at because I am dyslexic and cannot type well without the aid of Grammarly and Speechify. The friends I have met through Simming and other games have given me encouragement to follow my dreams and have given me positive outlets to grow and express my written voice.
Why This Topic is Important
To be 100% honest it hurts me inside to hear a dear friend say they cannot make themselves within the Sims game. This to me is a wake-up call that as much as The Sims has tried to include everyone, there are still many people who feel they are left out. Putting it all into perspective… how would you feel if you loved this game so much, but each time you tried to make your Simself you couldn’t because something core to you that makes you unique was missing.
What are your thoughts on how to add more Universal Inclusion to Sims? What kind of mods or CC would you like to see to accomplish this? Let me know your thoughts, as we will be following up with this more in the near future.
Keep up with more Sims stuff and what I’m up to at @TSR Jezi
Also Happy Birthday to Jezi’s Mom! <3 you Mom!