At CNN, AJ Willingham writes that The Sims, first released in 2000, is a "haven for neurodiverse players, some of whom grew up with the game and continue to revisit it well into adulthood." According to some fans, the fact that The Sims is a world where there are no expectations except those put in place by the person playing is of particular comfort to some folks on the autism spectrum and/or with ADHD. From CNN:
"I've always been fascinated by human behavior. I also love any game that allows me to build and create. The Sims combined both of these," she tells CNN.
Of course, you don't need to be neurodiverse to find comfort in low-stakes, come-as-you-are games like "The Sims." But for people like [Sims fan Helen Ashcroft, a video game journalist is autistic] , structured social interactions and the ability to create different situations act almost like a laboratory for real life.
"I can play in different ways depending on my mood. Sims have their own emotions for me to discover and I can play out different situations in a safe environment. Neurodiverse players can explore relationship dynamics that don't come naturally to us," she says.
Benji, a video game journalist and "Sims" creator with autism who prefers to be called by his social media handle, says he turns to video games as a form of escapism.
"One thing that makes 'The Sims' so special is, it's not 'punishing," he tells CNN. "It's a very good oasis, so to speak. My daily life asks so much from me, and I just get to sit down and do whatever the heck I want with those little people."