25 essential video games every gamer should know

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23. The Sims

If you bring up The Sims in conversation, chances are you’ll immediately get people talking about their favorite ways to torture the poor digital souls that reside in this game. The Sims takes Maxis’ popular SimCity and narrows it down, putting players in control of a neighborhood instead of an entire city.

However, while you’ll work on expanding the town, your main objective is to improve individual characters’ lives. You’ll control everything from building and furnishing their house to generating their personality to deciding if they should eat or use the bathroom.

And while playing this game as it was intended is certainly fun, the most memorable experiences come from creating miniature purgatories. Maybe that includes luring a Sim into a swimming pool and removing the ladder out or perhaps creating an elaborate maze long enough that the Sim has to decide if food, sleep, or cleanliness is most important before following the maze back out to go to their job.

Regardless if you play traditionally or become a sadistic god, The Sims has multiple sequels and expansions for any gaming system you’re on. Modern versions include options for pets, having babies, more diverse jobs and hobbies, raising children, and deeper customization of your characters.