The Sims 4 launches for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on November 17, joined by a new pets expansion for the PC version. Ahead of its launch, we thought it would be a good chance to take a trip down memory lane and explore the origins of Will Wright’s popular life simulation series.

Very few games can say they presented something truly original to medium like The Sims did, and even fewer can boast the kind of cultural significance it has. Released in 2000, The Sims allowed players to puppeteer the lives of virtual people, micromanaging every aspect of their existence with no real goal other than whatever they set for themselves.

For some, The Sims provided unparalleled escapism, letting them live out a fantasy life through in-game characters. For others it was an invitation to indulge their creative whims by crafting ideal homes and, of course, there’s also those that indulged their sadistic side by toying with the lives of Sims in cruel but often amusing ways.

The sheer amount of gameplay opportunities The Sims provided–and continues to provide–makes it a series with broad appeal. But the game it is now was formed of numerous building blocks creator Will Wright experimented with in other titles. Wright, one of gaming’s most celebrated luminaries, looked to the works of an MIT scientist, used 3D home design software as a jumping-off point, and even used his daughter for inspiration on the series that would define his career.

The story of The Sims is one of ingenuity, real outside-the-box thinking, and a fair bit of risk-taking. It’s a story that we explore in-depth in the video above. As a self-confessed super fan, Lucy digs deep into the origins of the The Sims, going as far back as Wright’s first game, Raid on Bungeling Bay, and then charts the evolution of his thinking and the resulting game design ideas that came along the way. Alongside this, she also discusses the cultural impact of The Sims as well as some of the stumbling blocks the series, its developer Maxis, and publisher EA faced. Check it out and give us your favourite Sims memories in the comments below.

The Sims 4 is off to a solid start in Australia, with both The Sims 4 and The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs Expansion Pack appearing in the sales chart. The new expansion allows players to create a variety of cats and dogs, add them to homes, and care for neighbourhood pets as a veterinarian. You can watch The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs DLC trailer to see some of these cute new arrivals.