Seeing as today marks the 10th anniversary of The Sims franchise, we thought it’d be appropriate to look back at all the freedom that those games gave us…to be completely wretched human beings. Here are some of the staff’s favorite moments of digital depravity carried out against our Sim friends.
Rob Manuel, X-Play
For The Sims 2: Open for Business expansion, I decided to have a little fun with an old idea. In the expansion, you can open up a shop where people can come and buy flowers or toys. Keep up a good business and you can quickly fill up a room with a dozen or so happy customers. And that’s when you wall one of them up.
I’m talking about “Cask of Amontillado” fun here. As the little Sims went about their business picking out flowers for that special someone back at home, one of their own begged for someone to let them out only feet away from them. I even installed a window so others could see inside as the one poor Sim pissed himself and slowly wasted away. Sure, a couple of them left but then I just lowered all of the prices. No one can resist a good deal.
A friend of mine wanted to create a “Pimps and Ho’s” themed Sim family in the original game. He bought the biggest house on the block. There were four escorts of various appearances, a body guard, and even a pimp to keep them in line. No expense was spared in decorating the mansion with fountains, art, and statues. In the back, there was even a huge swimming pool just waiting for them to flounce around. And then he ran out of money.
When starting a game of The Sims, you only get so much money to buy a house and decorate it. The money also has to cover the essentials like a bed for them to sleep on, a couch just to sit on, or even a refrigerator to keep food in. He had none of these things. His full house of ill repute quickly got tired of standing and started complaining. Then they got hungry. My friend had just enough money to buy a phone and call for one pizza. The single piece of food in the house sat on the floor. Everyone else stood. One of the girls tried to go swimming but got exhausted and drowned. No one could work because they were always tired and hungry. Eventually, they passed out on the street and the front yard.
When swimming, always use the buddy system.
Sterling McGarvey, G4tv.com
I never played The Sims, but my wife used to play it religiously. Rather than attempt to retell the story and mess up a detail, I asked her to recount her tale directly. Here it is:
"I was playing The Sims when I first moved to Rome in 2001 and I created different households with different friends. At some point I realized that one guy was in two households -- and he wasn't even a close friend. He didn't have any right to occupy all that space, so I decided to eliminate one of the two (BTW, I can't even remember the guy's real name, all I know is that he went under the nickname of Junkie Dolphin on IRC -- ever read William Gibson?).
"So, I lure Dolphin in the garden, I build four walls around him -- no door -- and wait for a couple of days for him to die. When he's close, an option pops up asking me if I want Death to spare his life, but of course I click the 'No' button. So he dies and in his place there's an urn. I remove the four walls, sell them for a small profit and wonder what to do with the urn. I decide to put it on my Ikea kitchen table (at that point I was downloading user-made furniture like crazy), since it's the only empty space I have in the house.
"But that creates another problem: every time a visitor drops in, first thing they do is going straight to the kitchen and crying on the urn. I get SO annoyed that we can't have a proper party anymore that I end up selling the urn for five bucks. Goodbye, Junkie Dolphin. I hope the guy is still alive and kickin' in Rome."
Jake Gaskill, G4tv.com
I actually played the Sims 2 quite a bit when it came out, and designing houses quickly became somewhat of an obsession of mine. Eventually though, like most people who play the game, I started to have rather dark visions relating to the fates of the Sims I had created to populate my town. So I came up with a little story about a guy, fresh out of college, who moves into this small town, finds a nice little starter home for himself and starts work as a security guard (or something similar. I don’t remember exactly.)
A few weeks pass without incident until one day he wakes up to find that his one bedroom, one bathroom home has transformed into a giant glass cube. Since having a guy slowly starve to death wasn’t all that interesting, especially to the rest of my town’s residents who would walk past his house everyday, I decided to drop in a fridge, a table and a chair every once in a while, and then take it all away after he had eaten and placed his dirty dishes/trash on the floor. After a while, his cube became a rancid, toxic, boxed-in waste dump. And of course, it was on display for everyone in the town. Strangely enough though, no one seemed to be all that concerned about it, which I felt was kind of messed up. I mean, here I go through all this trouble to create this vile, offensive and maniacal display, and they don’t even have the common courtesy to acknowledge it? I mean, really!
This went on for a rather long time, until one day, the dude’s house changed back to normal, all of the garbage and waste disappeared and all was right with the world. He found a new job, he made new friends, none of whom had heard about his nightmarish experience (or if they did, they never mentioned it), and that was that.
Man. The Sims is so great.
Stop, drop, and die.
Stephen Johnson, G4tv.com
When The Sims first launched 10 years ago, I was amazed by the idea of the game. A complete social interaction simulator where you manage other people’s surrounding, emotions, bodily functions, friendships, and personalities seemed like magic more than a video game. But then I installed a copy on my iMac, and it took me about three hours to realize that I’m not interested in managing my own bodily functions and relationships, let alone some imaginary person’s, and for all the options and complexity of The Sims, it is, essentially, a dollhouse. Like any dollhouse, the real fun comes in creating private narratives for the fake people you lord over. So my Sim turned to murder.
My main Sim, Doug, began his Sim-life as a family man. He tried hard to fit in, wear nice clothes and not piss in the corner, but he soon found his high-paying job, trophy wife and tasteful interior design stifling. Get up. Go to work. Come home. Turn on radio and dance. Sleep. Repeat. Forever. “Is this all there is?” Doug asked, his existential disappointment in Sim-life mirroring my own disappointment in The Sims.
So Doug built a shed in the backyard, four bare walls and a door. At first he wasn’t sure why, but one afternoon, he lured his wife inside the cell, then Doug and I replaced the door with a wall, imprisoning Deborah inside forever. “Is this some kind of a joke?” she seemed to ask. But it wasn’t.
Doug and I watched Deborah’s happiness and health meters empty out. Clinically noted her mortification at having soiled herself (we’re embarrassed to the last; even when death is certain), and listened to her screams. Eventually, she was too weak from hunger to scream anymore, and then she was gone, and Doug, briefly satisfied, went to bed.
But eventually the itch returned, so Doug made new friends of all kinds, inviting them into his home and his backyard. “Say, Doug,” they seemed to say in Simlish, “Why do you have so many headstones in your yard?” Doug chuckled quietly as the answer slowly occurred to them.
Sadly, The Sims only offers a few ways to kill, but Doug made do. Soon the shed was replaced by a pool with no ladder. Doug installed a faulty stove designed to catch fire in a “guest house” decorated with hundreds of paintings of clowns.
Like everything else, Murder offers diminishing returns. The thrill of the first death isn’t matched by the second, and once you’ve killed 20 or 30 people it becomes routine, and the terrible boredom returns...
...Both Doug and I were surprised when the ghosts began to gather.