History

The History of SimTV

The SimTV site was previously a subsection of a larger website called Sim Media, which was founded by Jon and launched on the 8th of June 2003.


Earlier Websites

SimTV's founder, Jon, opened his first fan site for The Sims in 1999, when he was only 11 years old. This first site was called The Sims News Centre and was a basic website created in Microsoft Publisher, made up of around five pages.

This initial site soon developed into Sims World, where the very first series of Sim Brother was shown. Sims World was the first site of Jon's to offer more entertaining content, such as Sims-created comic strips, funny pictures from the game, and a fictional newspaper called The Monthly Sim. As the site grew, the latter was eventually axed and replaced with more SimTV shows.

 

The Birth of Sim Media

After two years of running, the Sims World website was closed down, as Jon had other commitments to fulfil. However, he began helping out at The Sims Xtreme and Sim Gateway, and in time decided to open a new website of his own: Sim Media.

The Sim Media generation of SimTV had its first show when it initially opened in 2003. This was Sim Date, a dating game show featuring the witty and likeable host, Mr Love.

The first series of Sim Brother aired soon after the site opened. This hit show progressed wildly after its first series, and with each year the show was becoming increasingly anticipated. To date, Jon has written two main series using the Sims 1, three main series in the Sims 2 and two mini-series.

 

Older SimTV Shows: 2005

Several new staff members joined the team after the site’s opening. Josh was one of these and with his plentiful ideas, he was put in-charge of SimTV and 'commissioning' new shows. Josh made two shows himself: SimTV’s first drama, The Cross, and a new reality show, Celebrity Fit Club.

Mark also joined the staff, initially as a moderator on the forums, but later as the writer of Design Wars, a decorating game show. Each episode saw two teams battling it out to have the best room redecoration. The show was continued by Jon for series two, but Mark returned to write the third and final series.

In early 2005 Lance and Stewart joined the staff, both to create new SimTV shows. At the time no dramas were available to view on the site, but this genre went on to gradually become the most popular genre amongst both writers and viewers. Stewart's show, Sim Street, was about about the residents of a fictional town called Riverside. There have been four successful series of Sim Street since, and a fifth series is indefinitely due.

Sim Police, Lance's show, had one successful series set around the staff of the fictional ‘Sim Hill’ Police station. It not only followed the crime fighting and investigation, but also the problems of the protagonists’ personal lives.

The 2005 schedule for drama was never empty, as two more new series launched towards the end of the year. The first was Sim Hospital, which was created by Paul, and the second was Jon’s first drama: Pleasantview. This aired throughout Decemeber 2005, and was another neighbourhood drama based on the lives of the residents of the neighbourhood from The Sims 2.

 

2006

With dramas really piling up, a show of a new genre was needed to keep fans interested. Jon created his fourth show The Game, which was the first ever Sims-created quiz show, hosted by a previous Sim Brother winner, Darren. The show also had an interactive episode with a quiz every week, where site visitors could compete to gain points needed to become the champion at the end of the series. Staff member Stewart won the first series.

After a brief diversion, SimTV quickly adopted a new drama called Lakeside, which was created by Tye. Lakeside incorporated some of the supernatural elements of the Sims 2, including aliens and robots.

 

2007

New staff member Rob joined to create a brand new type of show. This was a comedy sketch show, called Sim Sketch. No one was sure if a comedy sketch show would work in a picture and text format, but when Rob revealed the pilot episode that uncertainty was soon forgotten. Sim Sketch introduced us to funny and lovable characters such as Vicar Lorraine Sally Anne Jesus Praiselord and the Gay and Straight Teachers.

Despite the large amount of dramas on SimTV now, there was still room for just a couple more: the first was Downtownies, created by Jamster. Downtownies was different to most of the other dramas, focusing on a small group of friends, rather than a large neighbourhood cast.

The second drama introduced in 2007 was Sam’s Crystal Town. After four strong series of this popular drama, Crystal Town still stands tall in the Drama section, with prospects for a fifth series.

The birth of a new genre was also witnessed in 2007 with Asylum, written by Jason. This show follows the events surrounding eight Sims who wake up together in an unfamiliar house, with no recollection of how they ended up there. The show is due for another two series, which will soon be under production. Asylum introduced an air of mystery to the site, spawning the debut of a new mystery genre.

 

2008

Feb 20: The second major mystery drama to be introduced to SimTV was Obsidian, written by Vienna. Set in the bright lights of a metropolitan city, the show followed a young private investigator with more enemies than allies. Obsidian was the first to incorporate narrative text, written in the third person, which was incredibly successful in immersing the reader in the lives of the rich and powerful characters.

May 19: Another show was added to the drama section: Underneath It All, written by Ajay. In this show, the LaMarche family seemed to have it all: wealth, education and beauty. But underneath the exterior, trouble was brewing for this seemingly perfect family with hidden secrets threatening to surface and shatter their less-than-solid facade. The show ran for seven episodes, but was terminated when Ajay became inactive.

June 23: Like Minded hit our screens with its first series, devised by Melkaya. The show tells the story of an unusual teenage girl and the bizarre ordeals she is put through. Nurmel’s fainting spells are introduced to the viewers in the first episode, which are accompanied by visions of a mysterious teenage girl. Like Minded mixes narration from the main protagonist with a gripping scripted dialogue.

Towards the end of 2008, the SimTV site began to experience some prolonged periods of downtime. This discouraged some writers from starting new projects, and disrupted the schedules for existing SimTV shows. The downtime was repeatedly fixed, but eventually the site began to become neglected as Jon had commitments elsewhere.

 

Huckool's Era: 2009

To revive a dying site, Huckool took the reins as the new media manager of SimTV, with lots of inspiration and new ideas to implement.

The organisation of the site was revolutionised, as shows became grouped into the much-valued genres that still exist today: SimTV Comedy, Drama, Reality and Mystery. Huckool took the emphasis off individual shows and presented them as part of a category of shows. The range of content was also expanded to encourage new writers to contribute music videos, short comedy sketches, one-off dramas and viral videos.

Huckool introduced a system of ratings for shows, based upon their photography, management and storyline aspects. In addition, he implemented a page of rankings, where he posted the top 10 most visited shows along with their number of hits. A passing visitor to the forums, known as Dan, contributed a fresh new design for the website’s layout. In conjunction with this, Huckool also simplified the way pages were integrated into the site with html and php.

In early 2009, SimTV took on writers from a smaller website known as Sims Broadcasting Network (SBN), which saw great writers such as Adam, Nathan and Thomas join the team.

Apr 20: Absolute, the site’s latest graphic designer, introduced his drama Sunset to SimTV. The show worked well with a limited cast, comprising only two families, but the series unfortunately trailed off when its writer became inactive.

May 03: Ollingdale began its second series on SimTV, with the first series having originally been shown on SBN. The show featured several diverse families in a small American town, where disasters and conflicts are common. The show was a traditional drama, and followed in the footsteps of Crystal Town and Sim Street.

 

The summer of 2009 was definitely a summer of comedy for SimTV. The site had a huge boom of comedic inspiration, as it saw the debut of three series.

July 26: The first of the new batch of comedies resulted from a collaboration between veteran writers Sam and Rob. Bob&Betty followed the hilarious antics of the infamous Newbie family from the original The Sims game, as naive student Juliet enters a whole new world when she moves in with the rather quaint Betty and somewhat uninhibited Bob Newbie.

Aug 03: Debuting a week later, Werewolf! introduced a fresh new format to the SimTV comedy section. Implementing some very random sketches alongside a first person narrative, Jason’s comedy tracked the life of a quirky college jock after he was bitten by a werewolf and transformed into a similar hairy beast.

Aug 10: The Pleasant Life, written by Nathan, was a new addition to the Reality section. Based on the TV series, this show pursued the challenges posed to the two pretty, socialite Pleasant sisters – Angela and Lillith Pleasant – when all their riches were stripped away, leaving them to a world without money, phones or contact with their parents.

Aug 24: The Night of the Living Dead, also produced by Nathan, was the first to grace the new cinema section of the SimTV site. This piece took the movie of the same name and encapsulated it in Sim form.

Oct 05: The third new comedy to be released this year was Plant Sim, created by Melkaya. The story followed the affairs of Keith McDowling, an ordinary farmworker who had never ventured outside his hometown, after he is indefinitely cursed by a jealous witch.

Oct 06: After years of waiting for a new game show, viewers got what they wanted when Game, Set, Match began in the autumn, produced by Thomas. The show was short, consisting of only three episodes, but showed how eight competitors fought their way through to the final. A second series is being prepared for the end of 2010.


The New SimTV: 2010

Feb 16: Sam’s third SimTV production, Outbreak, came as an inspiring approach to the mystery genre. The story revolves around twelve people, all of whom are in some way associated with a mysterious scientific organisation, as events lead up to a virus being released that will spread across the world.

In early 2010, the SimTV site crashed and could not be revived until Jon sorted it out. After countless problems with server crashes, the SimTV community was getting frustrated and wanted some long-lasting change. Huckool created Plumbbob Studios and moved some of the existing shows from SimTV to this new site. However, not everyone was content with the transition.

But then Jon made a return on April 5th to propose an alternative ultimatum: he would either shut the SimTV site down and lay it to rest, or test out a new experimental user-uploaded site. The vote was unanimously in favour of the new site, and SimTV was reborn again. This time, it became a community-led website that utilised the uploading tool called “Joomla”, which was the key to SimTV becoming stronger than ever. Writers could upload their own shows, without the need for a middleman, and took the SimTV schedule into their own hands.

However, this also meant the imminent end of Sim Media, despite SimTV living on. Nonetheless, the Sim Media forums were transferred to the SimTV site, and are as bustling as ever.

Apr 20: The short mystery drama Satanism was released by Nathan, which was composed of only three episodes.

May 12: A new drama to the site was Richer Than Rich, written by Nathan. This show was centred on the wealthy Roth family in the neighbourhood of Riverblossom Hills.

May 14: After three years without a successful summer series, Sim Brother returned with a brand new writer. Sam’s spin on the Sim Brother genre has revived the SB fever amongst the SimTV community.

June 20: Riverview, Again was the second mystery series created by Jason. The show follows a female protagonist, who experiences a life-changing accident. Whilst she is in a coma, she has some wild dreams in which she relives some of the events leading up to her accident. But as readers begin to discover, the incident that rendered her comatose might not have been so "accidental".

June 24: Confidential, written by Thomas, was a new show that joined the Mystery genre. Police detective Chris David leads the hunt for a criminal suspected of murdering a Russian citizen in London. However, a deadly plan is hidden up this killer’s sleeve.

 

June 25: Yet another series produced by Nathan, Simvivor is reality show that sees ten contestants being sent off to live on a tropical island where they must fight for survival for three weeks. The “Golden Challenge” presents an interesting element to the show, whereby the contestants compete against each other in challenges to become the King or Queen of the island – a valuable position of power.

Written by Jason; last edited July 10th 2010