The release of the first game was an amazing event for me. When I was younger I played games like Little Computer People, so I followed The Sims development very closely for years. My entire neighborhood came over to check the game out at my place, we made a shared neighborhood where everybody lived, it was pretty awesome. That being said I really feel that after TS2 they started to get away from what made the game great and started pandering to geeks.
By that I mean, Will Wright's initial vision was for a house builder that turned into a life simulator, but it in no way was ever meant to be Facebookesque. I bring that up to Sims fans and they just point at Spore as one of his debacles. To be honest I think Spore was an awesome idea - how far away, really, was its idea from being a kickstarter on the level of SC? In fact it only supports my point that EA turned both games into what we have today.