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Once they’ve taken care of their basic needs, your Sims should get busy celebrating June 1. After all, on that date in 1995, software company Maxis—the gaming company founded by Will Wright and Jeff Braun—went public.


Wright developed the idea for SimCity—predecessor to The Sims—when he realized he was having more fun creating maps of weapons factories in the game Raid on Bungeling Bay than he was having destroying them (the object of the game). What if there were a game, Wright thought, in which no specific end point existed, and the object was simply to enjoy developing a viable city? His inner urban planner took over, and Wright began developing plans for SimCity. His early efforts to find a software company to produce the game were unsuccessful; few understood the appeal of such an open-ended game. But then Wright met Braun in 1987 at “the world’s most important pizza party,” and the two founded their own software company, Maxis.

Maxis continues to grow

Maxis had a hit on its hands with SimCity, and the company released multiple versions, including SimIlse, SimEarth, SimGolf and even SimAnt. But ever since Wright and his family had lost their belongings in the 1991 Oakland-Berkeley firestorm, Wright had been fascinated by the human relationship with “things”. In playing with his daughter, he began to wonder about a game that functioned like a dollhouse, in which players created families, designed their appearances, stocked their home, and gave them jobs.

Acquired by Electronic Arts in 1997, Maxis had another bestseller with the release of The Sims on Feb. 4, 2000. More than 150 million copies later, The Sims is the bestselling game franchise in PC history, with expansion packs offering your Sim the ability to live in the White House and wear Kate Middleton’s wedding dress. With its unique appeal among female players, The Sims brought gaming to an entirely new population.

For more details, check out this half-hour documentary on Sims history. Also, how does one say, “Great idea!” in Simlish? 

Photo: Olga Popova/

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Kate Johanns

Posted by Kate Johanns

Kate Johanns is a communications professional and freelance writer with more than 13 years of experience in publishing and marketing.

One Comment

  1. Well it was a fun 12 years but, it s time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door.”


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