GameSpot may receive revenue from affiliate and advertising partnerships for sharing this content and from purchases through links.

The Sims 2 First Look

We pick up some early dirt on The Sims 2 for mobile.


Even though Electronic Arts, the world's largest video games publisher, is brand-new to mobile, it's already striking a very confident pose. Since EA has had bountiful experience with developing successful games for other portable platforms, like the Game Boy Advance and the N-Gage, its positive aura seems justified. But is gaming's hegemonic power really prepared to understand and cope with the dramatic limitations (and equally wide-ranging areas of opportunity) that define mobile games? Our interview with one of the lead producers of The Sims 2 Mobile left us with the impression that EA is not only cognizant of the differences between console and mobile, but also it's come up with some interesting ideas to meet its possible challenges head-on, as well as bridge the gap between the two worlds.

EA's planning some wild tricks for its mobile sims.
EA's planning some wild tricks for its mobile sims.

The story of The Sims 2 Mobile is easy to tell. At some point, EA's Maxis studio decided that your life wasn't strange and memorable enough as is--especially when you're stuck on a dull commute or waiting for your oil to be changed--so there was an opening for a surrogate to step in and do more interesting things under your guidance. These miniature simulacra, called sims for short, have already been the subject of the most popular PC game of all time, so it therefore makes perfect sense to put the little guys on your mobile phone so you can enjoy their social antics at any time during the day.

It's a great idea, but, as always, execution is much more difficult than conception. How is EA going to get a game that resembles the sequel to The Sims onto an underpowered device with a 2-inch screen? As in many similar situations, a simple port could not possibly work. Consequently, EA is radically reengineering The Sims 2 to deliver a "Sims experience" to your phone. The game's producer offered us a basic sketch of the company's plans, though without revealing many specific details. For one thing, The Sims 2 Mobile is being built around a more-mobile-oriented-play philosophy. Rather than assuming gamers will make themselves comfortable for Sims sessions that last several hours, EA is taking care to make The Sims 2 Mobile digestible in small three- to five-minute bites. Completing these "minigoals," which may ultimately include short, arcadelike minigames, will boost your "SimQ," a meter that tracks the scale of your accomplishments in The Sims 2 Mobile universe.

At the same time, the producer made it clear that EA isn't skimping on details for The Sims 2 Mobile. As a result, the idea is to reconcile the need for short gameplay sessions with a level of depth that current fans of the series will appreciate. Hence, The Sims 2 Mobile will include full create-a-sim functionality so you can customize your avatar to your liking. You'll even be able to upload a sim from The Sims 2 PC version onto a special wireless application protocol site so you can then download him or her onto your phone. Once you have your sim up and running, you'll be able to enjoy some of The Sims 2 Mobile's unique mobile functionality. For instance, the producer described a scenario where you'd be able to access your cell's phone book within the game to send short message service notes to other gamers. Apparently, you'll even be able to copy other players' sims over to your phone via SMS, allowing your character to date them as non-player characters. The game's central mechanic, which consists of collecting objects for your crib, will also be opened up to mobile's connected possibilities, as every knickknack in the game will be tradable over a central server, at least in the most advanced version of the game.

Don't have a modern cell phone? Don't worry. The Sims 2 Mobile will have you covered.
Don't have a modern cell phone? Don't worry. The Sims 2 Mobile will have you covered.

After hearing about all these extremely ambitious features, we wondered if EA was planning to limit The Sims 2 Mobile to high-end handsets. Happily, this isn't the case. EA will produce three different versions of the game to hit the entire spectrum of mobile gamers. The smallest version, which will clock in at 64K, will be for low-end handsets. It won't have any connected features, but most of the other core gameplay will be intact; the action will take place entirely in your house. The game will unlock new pre-generated NPCs as you add improvements. The other two versions will weigh in at 128K and 178K, respectively. Both will share the same basic functionality, although the latter game will feature a larger world, seasoned with certain extra political and economic features.

The Sims 2 Mobile will be launching sometime this fall across 100 handsets on carriers throughout North America and Europe. We look forward to gaining more insight into EA's plans between now and then, and we'll be bringing you our updated previews as soon as we get them.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are no comments about this story