While story-heavy games like The Last of Us and Fallout seem like they will make the smoothest jump to television, EA and TBS are making a TV show based on the extremely popular life simulation seriesThe Sims. Called The Sims Spark’d presented by ELEAGUE, this is a four-episode reality show that will start airing on TBS July 17.
Spark'd, which was announced by EA and Turner Sports on July 8, is a reality show starring members of The Sims community. The show's contestants will compete in creative challenges within The Sims 4 in order to "win the title of the world’s most creative storyteller and $100,000." EA will also hold limited-time in-game challenges in The Sims 4, and those who win will be on a future season of Spark'd.
Spark'd will build upon the "Play With Life" marketing campaign the series has embraced this year, which shows how The Sims is used by diverse players in order to express themselves. Buzzfeed's Kelsey Impicciche, singer Tayla Parx, and game developer Dave Miotke will serve as judges, while American Idol's Rayvon Owen will host the show.
Episodes will air on TBS every Friday starting on July 17, with episode coming to Buzzfeed Multiplayer the following Monday. While this is a pre-recorded reality show, EA is connecting it to The Sims 4 with an in-game event. A Spark'd Challenge Program will also be starting on July 17, and the players that come out on top in it will actually be on future seasons of Spark'd.
The Inverse Analysis — While the game-to-television adaptation discussion is often reserved for story-based games, this show does make a decent argument towards how more casual games can make the jump. Of course, game shows like these probably won't be winning any major awards or tell any gripping stories, but they are actually truer to the games they are based on.
"Since its inception, The Sims has been a groundbreaking experience, allowing players to create and virtually live out the stories they create in-game," franchise GM Lyndsay Pearson explains. "That’s also why this show is so exciting. We’re continuing that innovative spirit, bringing our community together to compete and showcase their in-game storytelling on a reality show in an entirely new way"
If a TV show based on The Sims attempted to add a gripping story or plot like The Last of Us' show will, it just wouldn't ever feel right. As such, a reality show utilizing the game makes a lot more sense, especially as esports becomes more popular. If you've got nothing else going on come July 17 and enjoy weird reality shows, you might as well see what Spark'd has to offer and try out the in-game challenges for a chance to get on TV.
Spark'd will debut on TBS on July 17, 2020. The Sims 4 is available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One right now.