The Sims has always been renowned for its inclusivity and equal representation; it was one of the first video games to allow its players to create LGBTQ+ characters, and it’s a game that will enable you to forget about all of your troubles for a while and divulge yourself in another world. In recent years, the Sims 4 has begun to represent people of all backgrounds. The players have been raising awareness on what The Sims should add to the game. Whether that be fully customizable skin tones or more options for textured hair, Sims players have become activists, campaigning for fair representation in a game that allows you to ‘play with life’.
In a recent update, medical devices have been added to the game. This includes hearing aids as well as Diabetic glucose monitors and insulin pumps - something that made my heart sing as a Type One Diabetic of sixteen years. Finally, my Sims can actually look like me - not only in body type, or eye colour - but they can also share the same medical devices as me. The Sims has been a huge part of my life for the best part of ten years; I can’t imagine how great the positive impact would have been if I’d seen my Sims wearing an insulin pump too. For the longest time, I hid my Diabetes devices out of embarrassment and the reluctance to explain what they were. The Sims is showing us that there’s no need to hide your medical devices, and in actuality, you should be able to embrace them. The hearing aids come in vibrant colours, as do the selection of Diabetes devices. There’s no discrimination in The Sims, though. You won’t have fingers pointed at you, or be questioned incessantly about your devices, hearing the same old ‘my aunt’s neighbour’s friend has Diabetes’ remark’; it’s a world that’s better than our own - a world to strive for.
Binders, top surgery scars and shapewear were also added to the game. In 2016, The Sims created to option to give your Sims masculine and feminine traits, representing the transgender community. Pronouns were included recently too and naturally, transphobes and narrow-minded people crawled out of the woodwork to express their outrage at this. All The Sims is doing here, is inclusion. There can only be good that comes out of letting your Sims explore their gender and sexuality because if we shun this away, it’s quite clear what will happen. People - kids in particular - will feel unseen, misunderstood and like they don’t have a place. But they do. Now more than ever, we need to amplify queer voices. The Sims is making it evident that we need to listen to the youth about the things they are passionate about and want to change. What’s so daunting about a future that’s inclusive and understanding of others?
Of course, we’ll never be free from prejudice or judgement, because the core reason for those things is misunderstanding and lack of education. I think that’s where The Sims comes in here - a non-performative, non-exploitative update like this gives us a quiet acknowledgement that we don’t have to reject feeling different when using medical aids or binders or anything of the sort. In fact, we can celebrate our differences, starting in a little virtual world.