It’s pretty widely known that I am something of a Sims super-fan, and can you really blame me? The base game alone is always amazing, but with the huge selection of expansion packs as well, there’s so much content to sink your teeth into. We’ve already taken a look at all The Sims 4 expansion packs, but this time, we’re hopping back a version.
Sims 3 Expansions
The Sims 3 doesn’t feel old at all, despite first released back in 2009. And, in its four-year run, we were graced with a grand total of 11 Sims 3 expansion packs. So, with EA putting their back catalog on Steam, we’re diving back in, and taking you with us!
Editor’s note: For this article, we’re only talking full expansion packs, not stuff packs, or we would be here forever (as much as I would love to write about The Sims all week, I have other things to do around here as well).
The first expansion brought out for The Sims 3 was World Adventures. With this, they added three new vacation spots for your Sims to explore based in Egypt, France, and China. The ability to take your Sims on vacation was new with this expansion and brought with it some interesting spots to explore like ancient tombs, complete with mummies.
While it is a fun addition to your game, this isn’t what I’d call “essential” unless you plan on spending a lot of time exploring. You do get three new skills, martial arts, photography, and nectar making, but is otherwise not too monumental.
The second expansion was filled with much beefier content for your game. The Ambitions expansion pack introduced five new career paths: Firefighter, Investigator, Ghost Hunter, Stylist, and Architectural Designer, and they brought with them the chance to have more control over what your Sim does at work, taking away the usual wait for time to tick on while they’re off making Simeloeans.
It also introduced three new skills: sculpting, tattooing, and inventing and a new neighborhood - Twinbrook. All in all, this is what I would highly recommend grabbing this expansion as it opens up a lot of new gameplay options for your Sims.
Next up, we get to take a trip to the big city with Nightlife. Bringing us another new neighborhood, but this time a sprawling(ish) cityscape, it gave your Sims the chance to explore city living. Now that they had access to a big city, they needed some new jobs and skills to go with it! So, we also got access to the new Film career, and both the Music and Sports careers got an updated career path. And, four new skills hit the scene: piano, bass, drums, and mixology.
Finally, you now had the chance to make your Sims into either celebrities or vampires (or both). The more fame you gain, the more perks you get for your Sim, or enjoy all the advantages of being a vampire - it’s up to you!
For the family-inclined Sim, the Generations expansion pack is a no-brainer. As the name might suggest, it introduced a whole host of new options for the younger Sims in your family tree. While the game usually focuses on Young Adult and Adult characters, this gives you some fun new options for children and teens to enjoy such as prom night, field trips, and a whole bunch of school activities.
In addition, they also brought in one new career, Daycare, and one new skill, Chemistry - although neither of these is really at the forefront of the expansion. Ultimately, this is the perfect pack for those who like to build out big families.
If you can’t figure out what this expansion brought to the table from its name, then I don’t know how to help you. This expansion brought pets into play with three main pet types to choose from - dogs, cats, and horses, and with that introduced the new Riding skill too. As well as these traditional pets, there were also a number of smaller pets to choose from such as birds, turtles, lizards, rodents, and snakes.
That’s pretty much it though, so if you’re not an animal lover this pack definitely isn’t for you. But, having the option to add pets to your Sim’s household is always good fun.
Next up, we have the Showtime expansion which adds more to the celebrity aspect that was introduced back in Late Night. We get a new neighborhood aptly called Starlight Shores, as well as three new celeb-themed careers: Magician, Acrobat, and Singer. It also gave Sims the chance to build their DJ Skill, all aspects building to a more rounded celebrity experience.
This Sims 3 expansion pack was all about getting your Sim in the spotlight, so if you’re not a fan of that career path, this may be one pack to skip as there isn’t really much else on offer.
Supernatural, you say? But we already got Mummies in World Adventures and Vampires in Late Night, how much more supernatural can it get?! Well, Supernatural also brought werewolves, fairies, witches, and zombies into the mix. As well as these new playable options, which all come with their own perks for Sims who transform into them, we also got the Moonlight Falls neighborhood and the Fortune Teller and Alchemist professions (as well as the Alchemy skill to go alongside them).
For those that really enjoy the kooky nature of the game, including these magical races in your game only helps to build on that.
Seasons brought about one of the biggest gameplay changes of all the expansions as your Sims were no longer stuck in a perpetual summer. Now, they got to enjoy the changing weather of the seasons with every in-game week. Each season brings with it a bunch of seasonal activities to take part in, including well-known holidays and festivals. They also introduced two new skills, soccer and snowboarding - perfect for the new changing weather you could enjoy.
Strangely though, there was one other addition that Season brought with it - aliens. No, I don’t know why either. Aliens have long been a part of Sims games, so it was nice to see them return here, regardless of how strange their introduction was.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - I love the university expansions that come with The Sims. The Sims 3 expansion University Life was no different. Sims could choose from six majors: Business, Communications, Science and Medicine, Fine Arts, Physical Education, or Technology. You got to move out of the family home and into dorm rooms, join distinct social groups like Jocks, Nerds, and Rebels, and even join a Sorority or Fraternity.
This was also the expansion that upgraded your Sims phones into smartphones, allowing you to utilize them more in-game. University Life also brought some new skills with it in the shape of Social Networking, Street Art, and Science. Hands down my favorite Sims 3 expansion, and I recommend anyone playing this version of the game to grab it.
The Island Paradise expansion pack introduces another neighborhood, but this time it’s on a tropical island - Isla Paradiso. This new island locale brings with it a whole bunch of island-based activities like scuba diving, becoming lifeguards, and traveling around by boat.
Out of all the Sims 3 expansions, this one gets the most backlash online. It doesn’t bring a huge amount of new content with it and has often been plagued with bugs for many users. It’s pretty much a watered-down version of World Adventures and doesn’t really add anything spectacular to your game.
Into The Future
The final Sims 3 expansion was named Into The Future and brought some interesting time-travel options with it. Yep, time travel. Your Sim can travel into the future and even meet their own descendants in a new sub-neighborhood of Oasis Landing. This futuristic city can either be a glorious utopia of future-tech or may have become an unappealing dystopian landscape. There were also three new skills introduced; Advanced Technology, Bot Building, and Laser Rhythm-a-con which is a new instrument they can learn.
All in all, this was a fun expansion to end The Sims 3 on, and definitely adds some interesting gameplay aspects that we haven’t seen in previous versions of the game, or in The Sims 4 (yet).
Wow, I’d almost forgotten just how much content they managed to squeeze into The Sims 3, but writing this up has inevitably made me want to dive right back into it all and explore it all over again - who’s with me? Let us know which your favorite Sims 3 expansion pack is in the comments below! Sul sul!