Any true Simmer knows what the plumbob is: that usually green colored geometric shape hovering above the head of the Sim we're currently in control of. It's also become the main logo for The Sims series and is the one thing all fans of the game recognize regardless of context.
While this iconic indicator might seem like a simple shape that acts as a way for the player to know who they're currently controlling, the plumbob actually has a colorful background with tons of curious trivia. Let's have a look at 10 facts about the plumbob you probably had no idea of.
10 First A Placeholder, Now An Icon
When the first game in the series, The Sims, was still in development in the late '90s and early 2000s, the developers needed something to help them with the creative process. They designed a quick tool that would let them know which of their Sims they were currently in charge of.
This is how the plumbob was initially created, and it was only meant to be a simple developer tool. If anything, it was a placeholder for better ideas, but since nothing ever came along the iconic shape just kind of stuck and gained a huge fan base after the game came out.
9 It's A Real Object
You might think to yourself that the word plumbob doesn't actually mean anything, and while to most of us that would be the case, there's actually an object that is called the plumb bob. The shape was no doubt inspired by this in the original The Sims, which was mostly a game based on architecture and creating and furnishing houses.
The plumb bob tool is something used to ensure objects are vertically straight, thanks to a weighted metallic pointed hanging from a string. What does it have to do with the Sims themselves? Close to nothing!
8 The Evolution Of The Plumbob
The plumbob has always been represented in a similar way, as a diamond-shaped green icon that spins around itself. You'll also spot it in the loading screen of most of the franchise's games. However, the plumbob has gone through multiple overhauls when it comes to its color, exact shape, and appearance.
In The Sims, it was a matte, darker green kind, and has since lightened in color and gained a more glowy, crystal-like appearance to itself. The Sims 4 recently went through a huge graphics overhaul where the plumbob was yet again redesigned to a more minimalistic and artsy version of itself.
7 What The Colors Mean
So, we know that the different colors of the plumbob in-game represent the state of mind and physical health of our Sims. The color scheme hasn't always been the same, though, and has evolved quite a bit over the years.
In the first game The Sims, a white middle color was used to signify a neutral state. This was later abandoned and re-purposed into a glowing platinum one in The Sims 2 when a character had reached a high level in their aspiration bar. Now, the neutral state is represented by lighter colors of green, while yellow and orange signify discomfort and red means your Sim is in a critical state.
6 Different Plumbobs For Different Life States
It's not just the colors that vary when it comes to the plumbob. Ever since The Sims 4 came out and began introducing its other life forms, such as aliens, vampires and recently mermaids, a set of special plumbobs have emerged with a ring around them.
The aliens have a futuristic, clean-looking ring that's something akin to a space ship. Vampires, on the other hand, have a dark, rocky ring with the picture of a bat on it. Finally, mermaids have a white shell-like ring with a wave pattern going all around it.
5 The Mysterious Blue Plumbob
There's one color for the plumbob that hasn't seen much use due to changes in the game, and it's the blue plumbob. First introduced in The Sims, it was used to identify a Sim that was grouped up with you on a date.
The shade of the blue would reveal to the player how much the person was enjoying the date, with darker shades signifying a higher level of satisfaction. This mechanic carried over to The Sims 2, where the blue plumbob would also appear above a date's head.
In The Sims 4, the blue plumbob was replaced by a diamond-like hexagon, which signifies the person is grouped up with you.
4 The Sims Know It's There
While usually, our Sims are blissfully unaware of the green diamond hovering above their heads as they go about their daily lives, some references suggest that they might actually be more aware of it than we give them credit for.
In The Sims 2 PSP version, an evil man known as Dr. Dominic Newlow develops a conspiracy theory that a god-like entity out of his own universe is using the plumbob to control people in his world. This is one of the few times the fourth wall is broken in a Sims game, and a fun little detail to add to the series.
3 It Appears In Spore
The plumbob has become so iconic over the years that it has made its way to Halloween costumes and even other Maxis-made games like Spore.
One small Easter egg in the game is when your creatures are engaged in conversation, their speech bubbles might sometimes depict a shape that looks surprisingly close to the plumbob itself. There are plenty of theories we could make, about the plumbob being a reference to a higher power of sorts, but most likely this is just a fun little detail the developers decided to put in.
2 Disagreement Over Spelling
Not only has the plumbob gone through a visual overhaul, but it has also seen some disagreement over its spelling.
In The Sims, it was first called the PlumbBob, closest to the original object that it was meant to reference. However, in The Sims 2, the spelling suddenly changed to Plum Bob, perhaps to separate it from the actual object and give it a more separate meaning.
While the community continues to misspell the word either by accident or on purpose, it has been stated the current correct spelling for The Sims 4 is plumbob.
1 It Appears In A Strange Painting
In The Sims 3: Island Paradise, an interesting treasure can be found once you've gained access to the Island of Plumbob. Within a treasure chest, your Sim will discover a painting called The Evolution Of The Plumbob. The painting depicts sketches of three different plumbobs, up until the last one that looks very similar to The Sims 3 plumbob.
One can only wonder what the Sims would think about such a painting and if they can even understand what it truly depicts!