This week marked some major milestones for The Sims 4. The infant life stage, coming next month, is the one everybody is talking about. However, the real groundbreaking game additions came in a regular update, released without fanfare at the same time as the marketing machine hyped up the new babies.
The Sims 4 now contains some essential everyday items that will help many players create their simselves more accurately. These include hearing aids, glucose patches, surgical scars, binders, and shapewear, and mark a level of inclusion for both disabled and trans players that we’ve never seen in the series before, and they were added in the perfect way.
These items are all a regular part of life for thousands of Simmers and dropping them without fanfare or a declaration of how inclusive the update is was the ideal way to do it. For many, these items are no different from a pair of glasses, a piece of jewellery, or a favourite outfit. They are things you simply wear every day in order to be your best self. The team doesn’t hype up every new dress, shirt, or pair of earrings that are included this way, and it’s right that such a stance is maintained here.
Customisation of body types, sexuality, and (more recently) pronouns already provided a solid foundation for LGBTQ+ representation. Now, the addition of binders and shapewear means trans players can finally reflect more of their everyday reality in the game, should they so desire. The fact these items were not included with the recent Simtimates Kit, which added underwear options, is also right. They shouldn’t be behind a paywall and the fact they dropped in a free base game patch is a good thing.
As trans issues burn under an ever-brighter spotlight, making an update that supports trans people more important than ever. That it was done discreetly, rather than chasing praise for its allyship, is even better. For those who cope with life by creating their simselves in a world where they are in control, this is a big deal, and the delivery of a promise to continue to include diversity. The fact it wasn’t preceded by hype also means it’s likely to continue in this way, with items like these just being added to the base game when they are ready.
This sentiment of representation also extends to players with hearing loss, and those who use wearable medical patches. Disability items have long been requested, and with a new medical wearables category, hearing aids and medical patches feel like just the start. This is another huge step and it’s equally important that they just dropped them into the game, as casually as a new hat or pair of shoes. It’s exactly how it should be. I don’t wonder if I should wear my glasses every day. The same thing applies to hearing aid users. It’s a small thing to most, but a huge step towards feeling seen for those with disabilities.
Sceptics may say the team wanted to avoid backlash for the trans inclusion in particular by keeping it quiet, but that’s largely irrelevant. The transphobic backlash was inevitable and it’s here regardless, as toxic opinions circle around communities that will never accept any kind of inclusion as a good thing. They’ll soon come flooding into my inbox as well, praising the update at all.
I say let them come. The Sims has always prided itself on being inclusive, and while we all want to see every bit of ourselves in the game it takes time. The world is an incredibly diverse place and representing us all is a huge task. I’m just pleased to see it’s happening more frequently and without a huge song and dance. Normalise items like this, add them to the game, and keep it coming. We know you see us and we thank you for it.
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