81,873,335 visitors since 2 February 2002 

18 Months and 1000 times News
18 Months and 1000 times News at The Sims Zone
The Sims Zone has now been up for 18 months. In that time, an amazing number of 1000 newsposts were written. With that average of nearly 2 posts per day, we've been providing the latest Sims news from the very start. We started that back at TheSimsFusion, which you can read more about in our 6 month anniversary article. You probably don't remember all the important things that happened in the past, but a bit of history can't do any harm. Hence this article, in which I'll look back to the news of the past year and a half.
In the beginning...
It was 17 November, 2001. After having no site or place for months since GamingFusion died (taking TheSimsFusion with it), this site relaunched as we know it now: The Sims Zone. It was a happy day, and when looking back to it, it was then when I wrote our first piece of history: the very first news item on our new home. We had relaunched. Finally. The Sims Zone had to start from the beginning, because we basically disappeared April 2001. All we had left were some files, links, articles and extras from the old site. Being back online felt good. On the same day, The Neighborhood Handler had moved too. A brand new version was released, version 3.5. That's now far behind us, but you can still read about it here. Besides that, there were some changes in the team since TheSimsFusion had gone, but that wasn't bad.

When we relaunched, Hot Date had just been released in the US for a few days. However, the UK and Europe still had to wait a little while to get it. Within a few days, one of the best expansion packs was released. Hot Date would change The Sims more than ever before. There was also some news that TransGaming and MandrakeSoft had brought The Sims to Linux. Unfortunately, the expansion packs were never ported and so you still can't play The Sims with any expansion pack under Linux.

November went by, and December 2001 was coming our way. Maxis had released a categorizer to make objects available in the new downtown that came with Hot Date. It was very early December when The Neighborhood 3.6 was announced and later released. The Sims Online was already a well-known project Maxis was working on, and they announced we wouldn't see that until the second half of 2002. A week before the holidays, Andy had written a review of Hot Date, to tell everybody what he thought of it. The same guy posted the first bit about the now famous Sim Brother. It was still a secret project that would be unique to the Sims community. Although The Sims Zone suffered some serious downtime towards the end of 2001, we could still wish you all a happy new year.
New year, New news...
We all survived the change to the year 2002. Immediately on the first day, we already knew about a new expansion pack that would be coming: Vacation. The first rumours were posted and later confirmed. Will Wright reached the hall of fame, and Aspyr posted they'd make Hot Date for Macintosh. The huge fansite TheSimsResource started subscription services while this site went through some upgrades. Then it was the start of Sim Brother. For 83 days Andy reported from our Sim Brother house, in which we put the contestants MNM, Jennifer, Tony, Davina, Anne R, Tom, Will S (later replaced by Jerry), and the winner Anna K. They would start their quest to win Sim Brother, which was made by combining The Sims and Big Brother to this new show.

The game Sid Meier's SimGolf was released, but it never did too well. It would be delayed for Europeans for months, but even then it never got high into the charts. In February, The Sims Zone gained more popularity and reached the #1 spot in the KillerSims top fansites list. The Sims was now two years old, and after a very long wait a decent version of the Hot Date patch was released, after the initial release caused even more trouble and was taken offline in January. Maxis also wanted sites to take Script Station, which allowed SimAntics editing, offline. That tool, created by Tom van Dijk made it possible to change the game's behaviour in a way Maxis didn't like.

The Sims Zone also launched its members area. Members would be able (and still are) to post comments to news items and so give their opinion to any matter related to The Sims. By the time it was March, many sites had become pay-sites, which means you have to pay to be able to download their stuff. I wrote an article explaining why sites were forced to go pay. Sim Brother, which was still running, had also had a nice contest for the Sims in the house: write a song. This rap is the result of that. Another big fansite, KillerSims, was forced to go pay after getting trouble because of the huge bandwidth usage. It was also March when Vacation was released. TSZ reached its first milestone with 100,000 visitors since 2 February 2002. The Neighborhood Handler 3.7 was /news/archive.php?ID=292">released, and some European stores were selling Vacation too early.
We love jokes
April 2002 began. And as we love a little joke every now and then, we posted that The Sims 2 and TSO were cancelled on April Fool's day. Later that month GameSpot told us about a public beta test of The Sims Online. Sim Brother was also nearing its end, and on 10 April it would be the finals night of series 1. There were also some first rumours that The Sims would come to the PS2. TSZ was listed in The Sims' frontpage community update, which caused our second milstone (250,000 visitors) to come sooner than expected. In May, The Sims Zone would move servers, and after the site wasn't updated at all for nearly a week, we were back online on new servers, with a new Vacation review that Andy wrote. The Sims on PS2 was confirmed too. Exactly 1 year ago now, it was our 6 month anniversary. That same day, we'd get ads on this site to provide some income, so we could afford the new servers. After a very long wait, Europeans could also finally get the Hot Date patch.

Then the E3 started. This big yearly event would bring us a lot of info about The Sims Online, a day after The Sims on the PS2 was shown. Some bad news would also come for Europeans: there were rumours that TSO wouldn't be released in Europe. However, EA later denied that, evne though everything was still very vague about the whole matter. Not so bad was the first news about Unleashed. It was quiet in the Sims community except for several previews and other articles being posted after the E3, and it wasn't until mid-June when there was some big news again: Hot Date for the mac had been released. We welcomed visitor number 500,000 to TSZ, a day before TNHH 3.8 was released. Within weeks after releasing Hot Date, Aspyr also announced Vacation for the Mac.
Hot Summer
In July we launched our Community section, and that community was in doubt whether Unleashed was true or false, but it was confirmed pretty quickly and announced not much later. Our Carrie gave birth to her first baby in a month that would mainly give us new information and screenshots of The Sims Online, The Sims PS2, The Sims Unleashed and The Sims Deluxe. August was pretty much the same, but fans of The Sims were getting fed up with Maxis because of the Deluxe version. It was called a rip-off, which resulted in an open letter to Maxis and even a petition - unfortunately all with not too many results, except a tiny reply on the official site's BBS.

There was more big news in August: Sim Brother 2 had started, and with its new rules it would be bigger and better than the first series. The ECTS 2002, similar to the E3, were held and meant some more screenshots of TSO and TSPS2. We've already travelled to September 2002 now, which was a quiet month. However, another new version of TNHH, version 4.0 was announced. That version would be a near-total rewrite of the original program. We also reported a bit more about The Sims Deluxe discussions whether it was a rip-off or not. Sim Brother held a Superfan contest and TSPS2 was delayed until early 2003. The official site launched the MySims feature and the Sim Brother competition closed, with a surprising number of 0 people who had all questions right. The results were announced soon after that.
Happy birthday to TSZ!
In October 2002 you could first sign into the play test of TSO. Europeans got little chance to do so in the beginning, but there was a bit of good news sometimes too, especially when it was possible for some countries to get the TSO cds shipped to them or otherwise download it. A nice Nessie cheat was found in Unleashed later in October. Andy posted an Inside Sim Brother article the day before the winner of series 2 was announced. Maxis also released the official Unleashed patch in November. The Sims Zone celebrated its first birthday in one week full of new items. You should check out the November 2002 news archive for all those updates. Unfortunately we had some server trouble exactly in that week. Good news was that Aspyr announced Unleashed for Mac. In December 2001, our server problems were finally solved and we launched our Donations feature as we needed more income to keep this site alive. For the same reason, we also started having pop-up ads. TNHH 4.00 Final was finally released too, after months of work and 2 release candidates. We also heard the first things about Superstar, but they were very vague rumours. However, The Sims Online would be shipped and released first, and The Sims on PS2 and SimCity 4 went gold. 'Sims' was searched for the most at Google when it came to game-related searches. That's how 2002 ended happily...
2003: Work-in-Progress
So far, 2003 has already been a year full of Sims news. Unleashed was released for the mac, and we hit another milstone with 100,000 visitors. The year also started with rumours The Sims for the GameCube and X-Box in January. The Sims on the PS2 was released, and not much later The Sims for the GameCube and X-Box became official. The Sims Online wasn't doing too great. Superstar was also still not confirmed when January was over, it even looked like it didn't exist for a moment. However, it was Matthew who posted about the final confirmation of Superstar in February. Because TSO wasn't doing to great, it was delayed for Europe until the fourth quarter of 2003, nearly a year after the US release. Nevertheless, we posted an interview with some designers behind TSO. That interview revealed there might be pets in the game in the future, but kids were unlikely to be seen.

Since the Summer of 2002 we'd been working on rewriting the software and the design of The Sims Zone. It paid off well, when we came back with a new design, version 4.01 of TNHH and more news of the week in which we've been offline. TechTV posted a remarkable article about how to kill sims, days before the GameCube and X-Box players got a chance to do so. Because we still love an occasional joke, we started off with an april fool's post that there was a virus in TSO. It was still April when I announced and released my latest tool: The Add-On Handler. On that day, 16 April 2003, we also scooped with some first rumours of a seventh expansion for The Sims - which is still nameless and unconfirmed at the time of writing. Some more news came to us a couple of days later.
What about this month?
At this point, I've covered over 17 months of news already. It's 17 May 2003 now, and The Sims Zone is now 18 months old. Exactly today, I also wrote the 1000th newspost at The Sims Zone. But what's happened this month? Well, SuperStar went gold and was released. The latest version of The Add-On Handler also saw the daylight and its big brother TNHH will soon be upgraded once again to version 4.10, which was also announced this month. But the biggest news was probably the announcement of The Sims 2. Perhaps not as big, but still big news was the other new Sims title that was announced: Bustin' Out would be the first expansion pack for the console versions of The Sims. We also caught a first glimpse of The Sims on GBA from the E3. The Sims 2 and Bustin' Out were shown on the E3, the biggest yearly event in the games industry. This year, that has resulted in 12 news posts in about 1 week, just about E3 reports. And the last bit hasn't been written about it. You should just check out all the E3 news in our May 2003 archive. And then came this post, number 1000.
What's next?
As you can see, there's been a lot of news in just 18 months. I haven't even mentioned it all, I could've made this article probably twice as long if I'd tell other slightly smaller events too. It's not just me (ChEeTaH) who has written all these news posts, but it's an effort from the whole team at The Sims Zone. A lot of news items were also small items, like new files, Sim Brother updates, small fixes on this site, new articles, and a lot of other things. This article only tells a small percentage of those 1000 posts. If you want to read more, simply check out our entire news archive. And the future? We'll see, but you can expect more news at least every few days. So if you want to know the latest about The Sims 2, Bustin' Out, The Sims on GBA, SuperStar, the possible seventh expansion pack, or just The Sims (and all the other expansion packs) in general, keep checking out the front page with the news of The Sims Zone!
Written at 17:54 on Sunday 18 May 2003 by ChEeTaH.

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