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The Sims 2: The Ultimate Guide to an Iconic Simulation Game!

Today, we're diving into the amazing world of The Sims 2 (one of my favorite games of all time), a game that lets you unleash your creativity and sometimes accidentally burn down a virtual kitchen trying to cook grilled cheese (we've all been there, right?).

The Sims 2 Pets Life in Leipzig
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Interested in the history of those beautifully designed houses or need some tips on how to master cheats seamlessly? Don't worry if you're new to the game, I've got you covered. We'll explore everything you need to know about The Sims 2, from who created it to why it became such a phenomenon (all of its invaluable features, of course). Let's get started!

⭐A Pixelated Retrospection: History and Gameplay

Step into the colorful world of simulated realities, where you hold the power to control every character's destiny. Welcome (or welcome back!) to the realm of The Sims 2, a true icon in the realm of simulation games that has completely revolutionized the genre. This game holds a special place in my heart and it's one of those titles that I still find myself playing from time to time.

The Sims 2 has this incredible charm that you just can't resist. It's like having your very own dollhouse but with a playful twist. The game's blend of quirky humor and addictive gameplay is simply irresistible. The way it allows you to weave captivating stories and embark on thrilling adventures with your Sims is truly remarkable.

And let's not forget about the cheats! The Sims 2 takes the crown in the cheat department. It offers an impressive array of built-in cheats that allow you to unleash your wildest imagination and bend the rules of this virtual world. From limitless wealth to supernatural powers to "deleting" that one townie that gets on your nerves, The Sims 2 delivers. It's the ultimate playground for those who love to experiment and push the boundaries of the game.

The Genesis: The Sims 2 History

Now, let's take a trip down memory lane and dive into the fascinating history of The Sims 2. Created by the amazing Will Wright and brought to life by Maxis, this game hit the gaming scene on September 14, 2004. As a sequel to the beloved game, The Sims, it introduced an array of exciting new elements, upgraded visuals, and an immersive experience that had everyone talking.

One significant change was the introduction of time as a crucial aspect of gameplay. This meant that the characters, known as "Sims," were able to evolve, acquire new skills, grow older, and eventually pass away. It added a whole new level of realism and depth to the game, making it even more captivating and engaging for players like you and me.

My Sims by Lauren
Source: Flickr

The Gameplay: Take the Reins of Sim-Life

Playing The Sims 2 is a truly unique experience that offers a delightful blend of improvisation, planning, and surprising randomness. As you dive into the gameplay, you'll find yourself embarking on a whimsical journey where all aspects of life unfold before your eyes. From the joys of new beginnings to the solemnity of endings, the game allows you to guide your Sim through various career paths, immerse yourself in their love life, and even indulge in their interior design preferences.

One of the most appealing aspects of The Sims 2 is its open-ended nature, granting you complete control as the supreme puppet master. Whether you possess the nurturing spirit of Mother Teresa or a mischievous streak (like myself), this game caters to all players. You can create a benevolent utopia where Sims lead ideal lives, forever young and dutifully flushing toilets, or opt for a chaotic dystopia marred by unhygienic Sims and perpetually arriving pizza delivery guys.

The choice is yours, and that's what makes this game so enthralling – you create the world, and you set the rules.

A Guide for Newbies: Sims 2 Tips and Tricks

New players: welcome aboard this virtual slice of life! Here are some well-guarded Sims 2 tips and tricks to assist with your adventures.

1. Beat the Learning Curve: Spend some time exploring the game's interface and different control options. It's an investment that will dramatically improve your gaming experience.

2. The Aspiration Rewards: These gems can help achieve your Sim's life goals. Be sure to take the time to understand their value.

3. Cheat Codes: If you're stuck during the gameplay, some good ol' cheat codes can lend a helping hand (as well as some amazing mods). Don't shy away from a little digital mischief.

Cool Features of the Sims 2: It’s All in the Details

With its advanced AI, The Sims 2 introduced a world where your actions had real consequences. One of the game's coolest features is the genetic system, allowing your Sim's offspring to inherit traits and physical characteristics (and boy can things get ugly—literally!).

Another cool feature is the introduction of Aspirations – distinct life goals depending on your Sim's personality. Each Aspiration provides its own unique rewards and challenges, adding depth to the overall gameplay.

Graphics Expectations: Sims 2 - A Vintage Masterpiece

No gaming discussion is complete without touching upon graphics. The Sims 2, in its prime, was hailed for its significant improvement from its predecessor. Fast forward to today, its graphics might seem basic compared to current gaming standards. Nevertheless, they possess a certain retro charm that still manages to captivate gamers, and I must say, they look just fine to me!

If you prefer a more modern look though, there are a ton of guides out there to help you improve the graphics on modern computers. This one by The Sims Community is the one I use whenever I'm doing a fresh install of The Sims 2. This guide on increasing the resolution is also handy. If you're a visual person, you'll love this video from BellaDovah on YouTube (How to Overhaul Sims 2 Graphics | Complete Guide 2021 | From Lighting & ReShade to Tiny Details).

⭐The userstartup.cheat file: Holy Grail of The Sims 2 Cheats

As mentioned above, The Sims 2 guide has numerous cheats for you to use, but the mother of them all is arguably the userstartup.cheat file. Not to be mistaken for a standard cheat, this file is a unique beast altogether. Tucked away in the game's directory, the userstartup.cheat file enables you to play the game with an assortment of cheats automatically enabled every time you start the game.

As you can imagine, this file is extremely convenient and helps to save a lot of time; no more typing in cheats codes during gameplay! Imagine, more time to focus on the drama, the love stories, the career pursuits, and the hectic family dynamics. So, let's learn how to create this beauty!

Creating Your Very Own The Sims 2 userstartup.cheat file

Before starting, make sure your game isn't active. Good? Now let's craft your Sims 2 cheat file!

Step 1: Find It Or Make It

Head to "My Documents" on your computer and look for EA Games. Open The Sims 2 folder and look for "Config." Don't see userstartup.cheat anywhere? That's OK! You can create a new text file named userstartup.cheat.

Step 2: Cheat Codes Galore

Time to fill the file with your favorite cheat codes. For example, if you want 50,000 Simoleons every time you start the game, type "motherlode" in the file and save it.

Ultimately, your userstartup.cheat file might look something like this:
intProp maxNumOfVisitingSims 12
Moveobjects on
Boolprop testingcheatsenabled true

Step 3: Save & Restart

Save the file, restart the game, and you're done! Your selected cheats will now be active every time the game starts.

The userstartup.cheat file: Holy Grail of The Sims 2 Cheats
Source: ModTheSims

Customizing Your Userstartup.cheat file: Let's Get Creative!

We've started, but customizing your userstartup.cheat file is an art form. So, you'll need to tailor your Sims 2 cheat file to suit your gameplay style!

For example, if you always want to enable the 'move objects' cheat, add "moveobjects on" to the userstartup.cheat file. Or perhaps you're tired of Sims aging. No problem, just add 'aging off' to your list.

The sky is the limit! Experiment with different cheats to discover a host of enjoyable game modifications. Just ensure that every cheat is written on a new line. You can see a more detailed example here.

⭐How to Buy or Download The Sims 2 (Expansion Packs Included) For Free

To purchase The Sims 2, including all expansion packs, you would typically need to check out online platforms like Amazon, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Mercari, as the game is not available at its original retail stores anymore. You might also get lucky and find it in a local thrift store or garage sale! 

The Sims 2 for sale on Mercari

Here are a few sources I found in my research:

To download The Sims 2 for free on Windows, follow these steps:

  1. First, ensure your device meets the minimum system requirements for running the game - a decent processor, a good amount of RAM, and sufficient free disk space.

  2. Visit The Old Games Download website and search for The Sims 2, or just use this link which will take you directly to The Sims 2: Ultimate Collection (which includes almost all of the expansions and stuff packs).

  3. Click the purple "The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection.rar" button to download the game.

    Download The Sims 2: Ultimate Collection from Old Games Download

  4. Once you have the game downloaded, you'll need a program to extract the game’s files. I suggest using 7-Zip or WinRAR. Right-click on the .rar file and choose 'Extract Here'.

  5. For setting it up, go into the extracted folder, and you'll see a 'README.txt' file. It explains how to install and run the game. Also, be sure to make note of the "Installation Notes" on The Old Games Download page.

Another method for Windows users is by using The Sims 2 Starter Pack by osab

"The Starter Pack is an all-in-one source for obtaining, installing, and optimizing TS2 Ultimate Collection on modern hardware! The Ultimate Collection is the free 2014 Origin release, which includes the base game & all packs/updates.

Choose your favorite flavor from the latest release and follow the Full Installation Guide to begin!"

I've actually used this version on Linux (which I'll explain below), and it works amazingly. Here's how to get started:

  1. Visit The Starter Pack project on GitHub.

  2. Click "Releases" on the right side, read the information, and choose your desired version under "Assets."

    Download The Sims 2 Starter Pack on GitHub

  3. After the download has been completed, unzip the file using a program like 7-zip or WinRAR.

  4. Run the setup file and follow the instructions on the full osab TS2 Setup Guide.

Running The Sims 2 on Linux:

If you're a Linux user like me, you can also play this game (even though some people may tell you otherwise). I've been playing it on Manjaro Linux using Lutris for a few years now (there are a couple of other ways to get it working too though).

To play The Sims 2 on Linux using Lutris, follow these steps:

  1. First off, install Lutris on your Linux system if you haven't already. It's a free and open-source game manager for Linux. You can find it in your distribution's software center or you can install it manually using the instructions on the "Downloads" page.

  2. After installing Lutris, open your web browser and go to the Lutris website. Use their search bar to look for "The Sims 2". Alternatively, you can also search for games directly via the Lutris interface.

  3. On The Sims 2 page, find the version you want to install (I recommend osab's TS2 Starter Pack) and click on "Install". This will prompt a dialogue box asking to open the link with Lutris. Click "Open Link" to continue.

    Install The Sims 2 Starter Pack version via Lutris on Linux

  4. Lutris will open and the installation process will start running through a script. Just follow the onscreen instructions and provide the necessary input when asked.

  5. During the installation, Lutris might download some components it needs like Wine (a compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on Linux).

  6. Once the installation is done, you'll see "The Sims 2" in your Lutris library. Click "Play" to start the game!

Keep in mind that playing Windows games on Linux through Wine may run into some technical issues. So, if you're having trouble, feel free to ask the Lutris community for help. They're really friendly and always ready to assist fellow gamers. 

Running The Sims 2 on macOS:

Surprisingly, Mac users have even fewer options than Linux users! You can purchase The Sims 2: Super Collection listed above (thanks to Aspyr). This is the best option.

The Sims 2: Super Collection on macOS

"Please note that half of the 18 available packs for the game were never ported to Mac. It is not possible to play the rest of the packs on MacOS. One advantage of Aspyr's version is that the game was updated to 64-bit in January 2020 so there is no need to apply the 4GB patch (or any of the other Windows-only fixes listed in the tech support section of our wiki)."

You can also use Bootcamp or Parallels to dual-boot Windows or Linux on your Mac. Then you can install The Sims 2 on either of those systems. It sounds daunting, but it's not as difficult as it seems. I've done it before in the past and had a great experience. You can find more information here.

⭐The Sims 2 Top Gameplay Features

Does the idea of creating a Sim family, moving them into a new house, managing their jobs, and even their (gasp!) demise excite you? Well, here's a quick guide to some of the top gameplay features of the game!

Drafting a Dream Family in The Sims 2

Playing God and crafting your perfect simulation family is the starting point. The Sims 2 provides you with a wonderful array of options and tools to design just about any type of family your heart desires.

Getting Started

Begin by launching The Sims 2. Click on "Family" and then "Create." Easy-peasy, right? This will take you to "Create a Sim" (aka CAS). "Any age besides baby or young adult (which must be made in University Create a Student) may be created.

This process consists of three sections: "Sim Description," "Sim Looks," and "Personality/Aspirations." Feel free to get creative!

The Sims 2 CAS
Source: Fandom

Creating Adults

For adults, you can choose their names, gender, skin color, and age range (teen, adult, elder), and customize facial features. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so don't worry if your Sim has blue skin or alien eyes.

Designing Children

Creating kids in The Sims 2 is slightly different. Their personality traits are a blend of their parents. Genius or goofball, slob or neat freak, it all depends on the parental genes.

Moving Your Dream Family Into Their Dream Home

Once you've created your family, it's time to move them into their new home, or maybe a not-so-new home, if you’re into that. Just remember to budget wisely! Your simoleons are not just for buying the house but also for furnishing it. Here's what to do:

Neighborhood Selection

Select your desired neighborhood. Here, you will see properties both occupied and vacant, just waiting for you to move in.

Strangetown in The Sims 2
Source: Fandom

Choose Your Estate

These properties range from simple starter homes to luxurious villas. Look at the price and select wisely.

Moving In

Once you've finalized your dream home, it's time to move in. Click on the house you've chosen, and click "Move In family." Your family will happily bounce into their new abode.

The Simoleons Scenario

Simoleons are the in-game currency of The Sims 2. You need them to survive and thrive, just like real money. So, how do you earn these coveted coins and maintain a healthy lifestyle for your Sims?

Securing a Job

Most reliably, your Sims can earn by getting a job. Your Sims' dream careers might be in Medicine, Law, Journalism, or even the Culinary arts. Choose wisely, taking your Sims' aspirations into account.

Methods Other than Jobs

Other ways to generate simoleons include painting, writing, gardening, and starting your own business (which can be run from your home lot or a separate lot). These side gigs can be equally fulfilling and beneficial.

Simoleon tree in The Sims 2
Source: The Sims Wiki

Oh No, They Didn't – Killing Sims (Yikes!)

While it's all unicorns and roses to create a family and establish a career, there comes a point where a Sim has lived its life and needs to exit (gracefully or otherwise) the game. Here's how it happens:

Natural Deaths

The most common cause is old age, however, Sims can also die from accidents, illnesses, and even ghost scares (I had this happen to me the first time I ever played The Sims 2 years ago, and I was shocked)!


When the natural causes aren't quick enough, there are cheats. For instance, the "boolProp testingcheatsenabled true" lets you force an error making your Sim "poof" non-existent. There are also numerous mods that have some interesting options available for killing your Sim (like this warrior sword or the InSimenator, which has a ton of features).

⭐That's a Wrap!

Get ready to let your imagination run wild as you create a tiny universe that can mirror our own, or defy gravity and common sense with outrageous scenarios that even Call Me Kevin videos couldn't prepare you for. In this guide, I've got you covered from the game's history to the clever tricks that will make you the ultimate digital puppet master. 

You're now equipped with some essential tips including cheats, game pack information, and installation advice, so that you can get the full experience. So let your pools be ladder-less, your ghosts eternally haunting, and your fridges forever full. Enjoy the adventure!


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