Sims Players Want More Diverse Options From Fan-Made Creations

Screenshot: The Sims 4, EA/Maxis

If you don’t want to make new Sims in The Sims 4, you can always download ones other players have made from the gallery. Some players are saying that unless you’re looking for characters who are white, your options are pretty slim.

The gallery has been a feature of The Sims since The Sims 3. Players can upload Sim households and houses to the in-game gallery, and other players are then able to download them. In theory, this opens players up to new and interesting kinds of Sims they might not have thought to make before, and to some degree it’s true.

The gallery goes through trends, be it hot guys or pregnant teens, but recently players have started complaining that even non-trendy Sims are too same-y. Namely, they’re mostly white.

Three days ago, a Simmer posted a topic in The Sims’ subreddit titled “People on the gallery still posting their white teens when skin tones like this exist ... smh.”

Included was a picture of this Sim:

Screenshot: The Sims 4, 4dpsNewMeta

Although this thread has over a thousand upvotes, the comment section reveals a contentious conversation among Simmers. Some players agree with the original point being made that too many of the Sims in the gallery are white, and say that players of colour are generally speaking undeserved by The Sims and its fanbase.

Others say that they just don’t feel confident making Sims from races other than their own, either because they don’t want to mess it up and look disrespectful, or they’re afraid of retribution from other players if they do it wrong. Others point out that the Sim being used as an example may have dark hair, but still has thin lips, a slim nose, and straight hair, which are so-called “European” looking facial features.

Everyone, though, acknowledged that there are more white Sims than any other race—even the people whose opinion boiled down to “it’s just a game, get over it.”

If you open the gallery, you’ll see that while there are a few Sims of colour, the vast majority of them are white. The Sims that aren’t white tend to be very light skinned. Of the top 50 households in the “Popular Now” category on the gallery, only 10 include people of colour.

Simmers hoping to make more diverse Sims don’t have as much to work with in the game’s toolset, either. Free updates in February and August added new curly hairstyles and a wider variety of skin tones, but there’s still a long way to go.

If you have kinky hair or wear your hair in braids or locks, it’s still difficult to find hair in the game that matches your own without downloading mods. The makeup the game provides also tends to look a little strange on darker skin tones. East Asian Simmers have also complained that the skin tone that comes closest to matching their own has a pallid yellow undertone.

Even if The Sims’ diversity doesn’t rest on the shoulders of Simmers alone, the gallery is a resource made up of their creations. If Simmers want to see more diversity on there, they have to highlight it within their own community. 


    I get the article’s message but it’s borderline suggesting that people are wrong for making sims that they want to make (because they’re white).

      It's 2018, don't you know it's illegal to be happy and white? You're supposed to hate your race.

    It took me a few goes to accept that the headline I thought I read was indeed the actual headline.

    "East Asian Simmer" sounds like a delicious spicy broth, perhaps with noodles and an egg.

    The sheer entitlement in telling other people what ethnicity Sims they should be creating in their games is breathtaking.

    We've reached peak Kotaku...

      They are almost so woke they have no where to go but broke!

        No wonder the insane amount of adds now haha

      If I hadn't seen it for myself, I probably woudn't have believed this article was real.

      This took a level of entitlement to produce that I truly didn't think actually existed until now.

        Every time lately I read an article on here from America, it pretty much falls into that category.

        Why do I keep coming here after all these years?

        Remember the days when Serrells ran the place and it was all about the gaming and not the identity politics?

          Because the Australian articles are still good. I like the Australian writers because even when they do engage in a bit of political posting it’s generally much more balanced and nuanced. Kotaku US is basically long screeds of virtue signalling and manufactured outrage.

            Pretty much. The manufactured outrage is absolutely abhorrent these days and the virtue signalling is some of the worst out there now. They don't even pretend to try to be impartial on some topics, they revel in their bias.

              Genuine question: Why it cannot be that they actually care for these things? I mean, a good number of their staff are from minorities, PoC, queer, etc. If you don't care about the stuff they care, that's your entitlement, but to call it "virtue signaling" is passing judgment on their intentions.

              The headlines pretty much tell you what you can expect of the content, and you even wonder "why you keep coming". So I ask you instead, why you keep clicking and then reading, and then coming to the comment section to add your voice to the many who apparently can't withstand this content, yet consume it avidly? As other commenter noted, there are still other more gaming-focused articles in Kotaku, you could just keep scrolling until you find them.

                Small addendum: If you believe that this is a type of content that the majority of Kotaku AU visitors actually don't care for, your best course of action, in fact, is not clicking. This is an ad-based business so that would send the strongest message.

                So the author can express a dislike for something... But anyone who might want to express their dislike of that article should just be quiet and move along.


                  That's not what I said at all. You are entirely free to do as you see fit and express your opinion. I was merely commenting that if this kind of content annoys you, it would be a better expenditure of your time (and more protective of your peace of mind), not to even click on it.

                I prefer to read an article rather than assume the content from a headline. I have the right to do that of course as they have the right to publish it. I also have the right to critique it as it's put out to the public as they have the right to publish it. That's the long and short of it. It's really no more complicated than that.

                Were you maybe hoping for a more elaborate answer?

                  I don't know why you and the above poster assumed that I was saying that you don't have the right to do this? I was literally wondering about your reasoning to click, read and comment since you wondered first about coming to the site at all. I now consider such wondering answered.

                  And sure, if you have the time for it, I'd like to hear your answer to the question I posited in the first paragraph.

    Its almost as if the top search results are based on what people search for. Resulting in these results.

    But no, We have to force unpopular results to show more than higher results coz diversity,

    Its almost as if these people are offended at what's popular. Popular now is based on what people search and download. You start changing that because of "much feelings" you can no longer call it "Popular now"

    If these people are so offended by download rankings, Perhaps they can, I don't know, Make more stuff and download it more.

      Exactly. Make more if you want more diversity in there. Otherwise, people are making stuff they want. Are we really going to penalise people for that? I mean, it's not like those who play the Sims are restricted in the kind of characters they can create...

      I'd agree with you if this is actually what the article was saying, but it really isn't.

      The article mentions a post on Reddit and gives time to both sides of the comments – the people saying there's an over saturation of white Sims, and those saying that it's not on them, or maybe even not appropriate for them, to create Sims of other ethnicities. The article then shows some snapshots of the Popular Now page and notes that it is mostly white Sims on display. Gita doesn't go any deeper than presenting this as fact.. which it is. She isn't suggesting that Popular Now should be changed. If you think she is, I'd like to know what quote you think says this. To me, the coverage of Popular Now is just highlighting a fact. You can decide what you want to make of that information. For most people it's going to be "well, yeah, that's obvious".

      What she does criticise, and pretty lightly if you ask me, is the lack of styles and options to create a diverse cast of Sims. Seems like a pretty reasonable critique?

      But, yeah, nowhere in the does Gita suggest messing with the Popular Now algorithm, or even suggesting that it's on everyone to create Sims of colour.

        In fact, this last line:

        Even if The Sims’ diversity doesn’t rest on the shoulders of Simmers alone, the gallery is a resource made up of their creations. If Simmers want to see more diversity on there, they have to highlight it within their own community.

        I read that as Gita saying, while the tools aren't perfect, if people have an issue with the lack of diversity, it's up to them to do something about it and create it. That seems pretty in line with you comment here:

        If these people are so offended by download rankings, Perhaps they can, I don't know, Make more stuff and download it more.

        Same same, to me.

          Please provide the exact line where I stated the name "Gita".

          Because as far as I'm aware, I mean I wrote the comment after all, I should know what the meaning was behind my comment. I was directing it towards the people taking issue over this situation, You know. The ones on Reddit.

            Nope, you’re right. I’ll cop to that. I just saw your comment amongst the stream of others saying “murr Kotaku” and took it in the same tone as the others. But I choose to your thread because, from my experiences in the comment sections here, I’ve seen you and @Weresmurf contribute to constructive and thoughtful discussion.

            Apologies for misinterpreting. My opinion still stands for the other 90% of comments on this article though.

    I mean if people actually wanted more diverse sims, there's nothing stopping them from making them and uploading them themselves. if they can't be bothered to make some sims of their own then I don't really have any sympathy for them.

    Help! I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up on Buzzfeed!

    The majority of Sims to download are white and good looking....and so what. I bet the majority of players are also white, probably middle class or higher (u need $$ to invest in games), probably live in countries with large white populations, and more than likely female.

    Content creators are creating for their own tastes as a reflection of their ideal versions of themselves or who they are generally exposed to.

    So majority white people creating majority white Sims downloaded by others who are more than likely white causes popular downloads to be majority white. Sounds like the algorithm is working to me.

    The Sims is basically the pumpkin spice of video games.

    Last edited 20/10/18 9:46 am

    The thing I find hilarious is all the outraged comments. HOW DARE WHITE PEOPLE BE TOLD WHAT TO DO! Come on, pointing out an imbalance is not telling anyone that they should feel guilty or that they are doing things wrong. Even the author said that if it was something that needed to be addressed, then the players needed to address it themselves.

    Having been living in a white person bubble, I had a look for myself after reading this article as I play Sims4 almost daily. The newest sims? All white. The top ten popular? All white. Maybe with a couple of vaguely tan and light brown (but definitely not actual POC) thrown in. In fact, I noticed more Indian-themed sims show up than POC. Reasons for this could be as simple as there is a larger population of one group of people playing than the other, or EA making is hard to represent everyone because of the cartoon style of the current iteration of the game. (Sims 2 & 3 actually had better tools in this respect.)

    To address this on a personal level as a player, I used reference photos (to make sure I was getting proportions right) and created a couple POC sims for the first time. The response in gaming groups I am part of was extremely positive and thankful, particularly from POC players. I fully intend on making more in order to make my own gaming experience less white-washed. However in doing so I realised that it was significantly harder to create POC sims because the tools are severely limited. It really is all geared towards Caucasian features. :/

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