A Simmed Nightmare

I’m sure you’ve heard of The Sims before, right? It’s one of the best-selling PC games of all time; I even made a post about it last year: The Sims’ 20th Anniversary
— But this post is about the “uberdumb” difficulty it takes to run the first game on Windows 10. (I think I just invented a brand-new word!) I’ll try to explain why it’s so annoying to run.

So, The Sims was released in February of 2000, before Windows XP was released. The game’s target OS demographic is Windows 95, 98, 2000, and the dreaded Windows ME. That makes it very susceptible to compatibility issues with Win10. It’ll probably be even worse when Win11 comes out soon… But the game itself runs fine in 10, the main problem is with its DRM. Since it was distributed on on a CD-ROM, they had copy protection on it to keep people from redistributing it for free. Windows 10 actually purposefully blocks SecuROM (The Sims’ DRM) from running at all which means that you have to patch the game to bypass the CD check. That’s all well and good, since there’s hundreds of guides online about how to make it run, but my problem came with installing it.

The traditional way to install the game is to run the “Start.exe” file on the disc, but for me when I try that, Start.exe sits in my task manager, doomed to do nothing until I end it manually. So, that doesn’t work… Instead I had to go into a folder somewhere else on the disk and run “Setup.exe” which runs an InstallShield program to install the game. Thankfully that works for me, so the last thing I did was patch it to bypass the CD.

But then more stuff happened… I was out hunting for old video games, when in a bin of PC games for $1 a piece, there it was… A CD of The Sims , as well as Livin’ Large & Vacation! I brought it home, installed it on my Dell Inspiron 1150, and got to work.

Then I decided to try running it on my Windows 10 computer. I knew I’d have to circumvent running the Start.exe file somehow, but there was only one problem: This was the base version of the game, and the one I had on my computer before was the Complete Collection version of the game. The base version’s disc doesn’t use InstallShield so it’s impossible to bypass the start.exe file, which is for some reason called setup.exe on the base game disc. The only way I could get it to work is by installing it into a VirtualBox running Windows XP…

Ah, well. Another day, another failed project.