The Sims is a phenomenon that I willfully passed over for years, for no reason other than I just didn't think I'd be interested. In a bit of a gaming funk I tried The Sims 2 out of boredom, and became immediately captivated by it. There's more game here than I ever expected, for a start.
There's an immense satisfaction from taking your newly-created Sim - unable to perform simple tasks such as eating or using the bathroom without prompting - and gradually teaching them to fend for themselves and become successful in life and career. It becomes completely addictive to simply buy new clothes or furnishings for the house, and beyond that there's the capability to remodel the house itself, expanding it and adding new floors as your Sim earns the money to do so. Maybe it's the old-time RPG player in me that enjoys the 'levelling up' aspect, or the collector in me that loves decorating and furnishing the house.
It's silly, but there's something so appealing about watching your little digital character go through a range of emotions, interacting with other Sims, burning their dinner then glumly sitting down to eat the charred remains, looking with wonder through the telescope you just bought for them, and many more moments that keep the game compelling. My first Sim burned herself to death in a house fire and I was genuinely upset. I can't say that about many games at all.