What the way you played Sims as a child says about you
Wait, you DROWNED yours?
The Sims taught you that life is nuanced, random and confusing. Certainly, you could end up in the big house, with a wife, and a clown painting, a swimming pool with a ladder, with a healthy, regular woohoo life and a good job. Or you could set fire to the kitchen and burn your family alive.
But of course, you were to some extent playing God. The more focused Sims players had greater agency in the fates of their small avatars.
This is what your playing style says about you.
Refusing to use the cheat
Because you’re fucking lame and will never get ahead in life.
Not even knowing there were cheats
You remember seeing the big Sims book in GAME by the counter, the one promising all sorts of tips and tricks. You never realised that meant flat-out cheating though. There you were: slaving away to save up enough money for a two-seat sofa with a higher comfort rating while all your friends at school were building mansions and you never thought to ask how they did it. Things haven’t changed much since, while those mansion-builders are taking bungs and eschewing morals to climb the ladder in the City, you’re still living in your parent’s house blissfully unaware that banking exists beyond your local TSB. Sure, you’ll never make it to the top any time soon but you’ll get there eventually, the long way round.
Turning off the independent action button
This meant that when you weren’t playing, your Sim just stood there in the middle of the room, occasionally crying and sniffing their armpits when you forgot to make them take a shower. It wasn’t that you didn’t trust them, it’s just that they didn’t know how to play Sims as good as you. They kept leaving the rubbish out and taking naps during the day. You knew how to look after them better, even if it meant that your routine to keep them alive meant they never got to have any fun.
You have been referred to in the group WhatsApp as a “control freak”. You don’t even mind that much.
Literally just making houses and then moving on
Literally anything was possible with “rosebud;!:!”: you had all the money you wanted to take your Sims out on the town, go on a ski chalet holiday, or invest in a restaurant business. There were some of us, though, who took far too much pride in building unnecessarily lavish houses for your comfortably middle-class family. These were palatial ones, with balconies and Grecian pillars, a games room, a library, a pool, a hot tub. For the sake of balance you’d build a few shitter ones, but play with them far less. The families were an afterthought, often modelled on people you knew or wanted to be. Mum was a lawyer, Dad was a doctor and the two kids were grade A pupils. But who cares about them, there’s a four poster bed, and a hedge shaped like a dolphin.
You learned so many things about the quality of neutrals. And you know what – putting in a doorframe without a door is not only cheaper, but it opens your house to so much more light. Oh, and smoke alarms are really important because houses are highly flammable.
Now, you are finicky, superficial, details-focused. You shop too much, you buy too often. Objects make you happy in a way that people just can’t quite manage.
Building your family home but never being happy with it
Every detail had to be spot-on, so much so that you’d take breaks from the computer to walk around the house and measure the walls. Unfortunately, as good as the Sims was, it was never quite good enough. There was always one detail you couldn’t replicate: a boiler you couldn’t add to the Sims house, a staircase which wouldn’t fit, a garden path which looked too straight. These details gnawed away at you, even as you tried to play with the version of your family you’d created and get your dad the cool job he never had in real life. Eventually it became too much: you couldn’t look at the garden fence with the wrong colour any more. You’d quit and not come back to the game for months in a silent protest.
These days, you’re not much better when you don’t get your way. You quip that it’s perfectionism, but you take two hours to pick an outfit and agonise for whole days about how to reply to people on Tinder, and it’s fucking off all of your mates.
Putting something near a fire and letting the house burn down
Some people just want to watch the pixelated world burn. Some of these people might be sociopaths.
Trying to socialise them and making them keep going until they argued
You love the drama, but you don’t actually want to be a part of it. You sit there, stirring and stirring and watch as it all kicks off.
Nurturing pretend children
You’re still going out with your boyfriend from secondary school. You’re literally only going to shag one person in your entire life.
“Woohoo”-ing and not really knowing what it meant
You’ve flirted your way into a relationship: well done. But now it’s the big guns, the “woohoo”. You don’t really understand exactly what happens under that duvet, but you know from films, and your Sims’ whoops and giggles, that it’s fun, so you end up doing it repeatedly until you get stuck with a fucking baby.
Now, you’re a commitment-phobic flirt. But life’s so much more fun that way.
Getting a baby and HATING IT
God they’re boring. You are the sort of person who will pontificate loudly, at the pub, near a family with a very small baby, that you hate kids and won’t ever have one and can’t imagine losing your independence and isn’t it so boring? Privately, your mates think you’re a dick and you have made a new mother cry in a pub loo.
Creating Sims of yourself and people you knew and creating love triangles
You really, really fancied Sam and he always asked to sit next to you in Maths. You stupidly told him Polly fancied him (to embarrass her), but it backfired and NOW they’re going out. Ugh. You can’t even step in because Polly’s friends with Lucy, your best friend. Never fear: An outlet is here. On Sims you can flirt your way into their relationship and leave Polly to cry in her lonesome house down the road (or worse yet, block her in between four walls).
These days, you’re still the sort of person who gets horribly involved in other people’s relationships. People have had to ask you, gently, to “butt out” before.
Making intricately detailed characters based on people you know and then burning them alive
Imagine if they found out, you sick fuck – what would they say? What would they think of you? You may also be a sociopath.
Making a floating house
“I can make a floating house”, that bitch Becky says smugly in Chemistry, “but I’m not going to tell you how”. Fuck you, Becky, because my older sister knows how to do it. You are filled with joy as as you make a ground floor with pillars covering every square, then go to the second floor and put floor tiles all over it, with walls and a staircase, then DELETE all the pillars. And voila, you have a floating house.
You still care what people like Becky think. But it’s OK, because it inadvertently makes you a better person.
Trying ALL of the hobbies
You weren’t going to rest until every skill was maxed out and if that meant having an easel, a piano, a chess set, a bookcase, a weight machine and a mirror all in the same room then that was just how life was going to have to be. If only learning things in real-life had been as easy. You tried to learn the drums for two years but gave that up when you decided to give art a go instead. By A-Levels that had changed to photography and then by uni you were really getting into pottery. Unlike your Sim you’ll always be a jack of all trades, master of none.
Using ‘flirt’ as a conversation option way too often and unwittingly seducing every single person your Sim meets
Talking to people on the Sims was really boring and – like in real life – you were always having to do it. Even if you didn’t throw a moving in party, neighbours or work colleagues would always be dropping by for a chat. After you’d told your 20th joke in a row, it wasn’t really clear what else there was to do. You’re sitting in silence on the sofa with Nina Caliente pretending to care about the action film on TV. You look over at her. She looks back. She smiles. You decide to go for it. At least it will make things more interesting. You flirt, she flirts back. Before you know it she’s walking around with hearts for eyes and wanting to see you every single day.
Fortunately, you’ve learned from your mistakes in the real world. Always polite, always kind, but very rarely do you activate flirt mode. People think you’re mysterious, aloof, and really, really fancy you.
Really, really caring about careers
You didn’t get a life, but you did get a job. Please don’t tell me about your pension or company health plan.
Drowning one of them in the swimming pool and then making everyone turn up to the funeral in swimwear
You are definitely a sociopath.
Getting people up to ‘woohoo’ level just by telling jokes
You meet Dan, because he’s come to your house to welcome you to the neighbourhood. This is a little awkward at first because you were right in the middle of placing all your end tables and hanging that photo of the clown. But Dan is fit. There are several options for making him like you, but they’re all reassuringly formulaic. Shake hands. Talk about interests. Tell joke. Tell joke. Tell joke. Pretty soon, the option for ‘flirt with’ comes up but your Sim tries it and Dan isn’t happy, he’s cringing and flailing his arms about. He doesn’t fancy you yet, but hey, that’s OK. You go back to tell 16 more jokes, stop to pee, and pretty soon you’re woohooing and he’s moved in (adding all his net worth to your property, excellent).
You grow up and you realise that if you want someone to shag you you don’t corner them and tell them endless jokes until you wet yourself.
Just making people shag
There’s something really intriguing about this because it’s quite naughty and it makes your mum almost confiscate your Love expansion pack, but it also seems like the natural progression of things. Kiss, kiss, flirt, kiss, woohoo, try for baby, regret baby, have social services woman show up at the door and confiscate baby. There’s a thrill in putting them in their loveheart bed and letting them woohoo to their heart’s desire – even during the day. Eventually when it gets old, after the giggling sound effects and the satisfied way they cuddle before getting up, you burn the house to the ground and let their sexually satisfied ghosts roam the lot for the next shagging tenants you create. You probably systematically destroy unsatisfying lovers in the same way (except without the cool quilted heart headboard).
Sometimes they were too depressed or in too bad of a mood to do skill-building activities
At the time this is frustrating. You want to have fancy pictures you can hang on your wall and then make money when you sell them off to anonymous bidders on buy mode – and you don’t get that without hours spent at the easel. But your Sim is waving up at you through the computer screen, telling you they’re sad, and you have to give in and let them play on the fucking swing or something.
You wish you could tell them that now, you understand. You’ve been in bed listening to Nick Cave for three days and hate-clicking links on Facebook. No wonder your paintings aren’t selling.
You didn’t play The Sims
Firstly, fuck you for not playing The Sims. If we’ve shown anything it’s that The Sims was great. Secondly, fuck you for looking back on your Sims-less childhood fondly. Let me tell you one thing my friend, you might have been out there: out in the real world, where the sun glowed gold like the colour of good scotch, a gentle breeze tousling your young hair, playing in a playground, swinging on a swing – you lived – and we sat inside staring at a screen, drowning make believe virtual people in swimming pools and then making their make believe virtual families turn up to the funeral in swimwear. Who turned out better, you or us? Who ended up as a well adjusted, well rounded, well respected member of adult society?
Probably us tbh.
By Roisin Lanigan, Grace Vielma, Oli Dugmore, Phoebe Luckhurst, Jack Cummings, Will Lloyd, Craig O’Callahan, Daisy Bernard, Bobby Palmer, Cat Reid and Bella Eckert.