History of The Sims Zone
It was February 2000 when Maxis released another Sim-game. However, this turned out to be more than just a game: it was "The Sims". Along with some other websites dedicated to this game, Matt (still member of the team) started a site called The Sims Zone. This site immediately became one of the best sites for The Sims on the web. Matt wasn't alone: along with several other people, he went on and regularly updated the popular site.
It was not long before things changed: In June 2000, The Sims Zone became part of Gaming Fusion, which was a new gaming network, and from that time on became known as TheSimsFusion. The first news post, written at 12 June 2000 was this:
"Welcome to TheSimsFusion. After many agonizing weeks we have now opened and are ready to supply you with all the latest news, information and downloads. If you've visited The Sims Zone you'll know what to expect as that is are old home. I hope you like the new site and enjoy visiting us regularly. If you have any questions please feel free to email me"
That was also the time when I joined the site after sending in "The Neighborhood Handler"
. TheSimsFusion kept growing along with the community. New sites kept popping up, original ideas were realised (like 7 Deadly Sims' "Deathmatches"), other sites closed (SimCoRally) when they were accused of theft, but reopened shortly after that (and closed again later), and Maxis held a SimDay every week. The first expansion, Livin' Large (or Livin' It Up in the UK) was also released in the same year. The famous object editor called The Transmogrifier
(T-mog) was also released, and quickly became one of the most popular downloads for all creative artists on the net. "The Sims Online" and "SimsVille" were both upcoming Maxis titles which would cause a lot of rumour. TheSimsFusion also held a review contest for Livin' Large: the writer of the best review of Livin' Large would win a place in the team of the site. The winner was Andy, who is still a member of the team. More people joined the team as the site grew. TheSimsFusion also managed to get an exclusive interview with Patrick B III, who was a major programmer at Maxis. "Blueprint", another object editor, was in the final stages of development when an "electric tornado" wiped it all away. Good luck that Bil Simser restarted it: his editor and other programs have became the most popular amongst the creative members of the Sims community.
Also there were changes in the team at TheSimsFusion. Steve joined the site in September, and Andy, who won a position at the site with the contest held in October 2000, joined in November. In October, Matt stepped down as webmaster to hand that job over to Matthew. Enzymes left the site in the first month of 2001 and on March 13th 2001, Matthew also stepped down as webmaster:
"Sorry for having to step down as webmaster.. however, once I get my exams over and done with, I'll be back in force in my new assistant role. Look out for the latest news on Simsville and Sims Online from June from me.. but ChEeTaH and the rest will see you through until then. And I'll pop in every now and then. Anyway, see ya soon.
In 2001, there was even more things going on in the community. The Neighborhood Handler 3.0
saw the light of day, and BluePrint 1.0
was released as well. A lot of news about "The Sims Online" and "SimsVille" followed, while Maxis released The Sims' second expansion pack: House Party. Unfortunately, the last news post at TheSimsFusion was written at 22 April 2001.
GamingFusion had a lot of trouble in the team and network. Many staff members of the site could not update anymore, and only TheSimsFusion seemed to be alive in the end (although only I could update there too). On April 28th, 2002, GamingFusion was declared dead, and the whole network was taken offline. However, the team of TheSimsFusion was restless and wanted to go on... and it did. In the months that followed, a lot of plans were made and a new site was designed and programmed. Everything to get TheSimsFusion back and better was prepared, but it took a while. It wasn't until 17 November 2001 when "The Sims Zone" reopened its virtual doors to the public.
Meanwhile, the community had kept growing. There were new sites appearing every week, but sadly there were old sites dying at a similar rate. Hot Date was just released in November, and SimsVille was (unfortunately) cancelled. Other sites kept doing what they did: making stuff for the fans.
However, The Sims Zone had started afresh. There only was some content from TheSimsFusion and the same team... with some differences. Matthew had decided to completely leave the site, and Matt only worked in the background. Bettyjoe had joined too, to make walls and floors for The Sims Zone.
In these past 6 months, yet again a lot has happened: Besides the release of Hot Date and the announcement and release of Vacation, The Neighborhood Handler 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7 were released. "The Sims" was released for Linux by Transgaming, and several expansion packs had already been ported to the Macintosh. Unfortunately, Maxis seemed to get sloppier when The Sims and its community grew. Hot Date is known as 'buggy' and it took months before there was a patch and at the time of writing, unless you buy the latest expansion (which is buggy in its own right), there still is no patch for all versions of Hot Date besides the US one. SimDay objects and programs were also pulled back within a day after their release because of mistakes and bugs in them. Maxis seemed to rush things to make as much money as possible - and not the fake simoleans (§) as in The Sims, but real dollars ($). However, it was not all bad. The community stuck together and sites became bigger, while new fans joined daily. The Sims was officially the best selling PC game ever in March 2002, when it had sold over 6.3 million copies world-wide, breaking the previous record by Myst. Bil Simser was still working on BluePrint and Tom van Dijck joined him to provide the community with several tools. Tom van Dijck was popular for Script Station, a program Maxis banned because it could do too much.
A lot of sites had become pay-sites to cover the costs which were huge. Many sites get the amount of visitors a medium to big business would be very happy with if they got that. "The Sims 2" was recently spoken of, and there have been very vague rumours of "SimUniverse". "SimGolf" was also released by Firaxis in January 2001, but only in the US so far. The rest of the world still cannot enjoy that game, 4 months after the initial release.
The Sims Zone had started a project called Sim Brother, which quickly became very popular. The daily reports were read and enjoyed a lot by many fans. Although we weren't the first with such a project, we do feel that it was the best version on the net. The Sims Zone started rather unpopular because it had to make a fresh start again, but the visitors started coming. It is now still growing to become popular amongst the fans. Of course, to keep the fans happy, we needed more staff provide the fans with what they wanted. We got those people: Carrie (December 2001), Ryan, Mike (both March 2002), and TJ, William and Sumit are our Newbies, having only joined us a few days ago.
More things happened in the community: More information about "The Sims Online" kept coming, "SimCity 4" has been announced recently, and reviews of Vacation started flooding the internet. The controversial and unofficial expansion pack "That's Life 2", also known as "Face Factory", was also released. The first version of this CD caused a lot of controversy when it was said that it redistributed files from fansites without permission, and therefore it was technically stealing. Also, "BluePrint" announced several new tools to make new things for The Sims.
At the time of writing, "The Sims Zone" has been set up on its new servers for only a couple of days. The community will live on and The Sims Zone will live on with it. This is definately not yet the last we've heard of Maxis or the Sims' fans. The Sims Zone is only 6 months old now, but life expectancy is high nowadays. The regular news items (over 300 in 6 months), the files (nearly 300 now), articles (19 including this one), Sim Brother (92 reports in the first series, reporting 83 Sim Brother days), all other content and the more than 400,000 visitors since February 2002 until now - May 2002 - feed the site well enough to keep it alive.
As webmaster of The Sims Zone, I want to thank everybody in the team for keeping the site up-to-date and helping me out all the time. More thanks go out to Jevon (and Cactusoft) for helping with the technical stuff and providing the hosting a bit cheaper than usual. Of course, I also thank you - all visitors of The Sims Zone - for your endless support, interest in this site and also just for visiting us.
Thank you all!
Written at 15:00 on Friday 17 May 2002 by