The Sims Spark’d: 16 weird things we all experienced playing The Sims

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Kayleigh Dray
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From ‘rosebud’ to (ahem) that incident with the swimming pool steps, these are the 16 weird things we all experienced playing The Sims.

Did you sink hundreds of hours into The Sims when you were growing up? Then you’re in luck: a new reality TV show is calling for the best Sims players in the world to compete and show off their creations.

That’s right: this week, EA announced a new series called The Sims Spark’d, which sees contestants tasked with building beautiful houses, characters, and stories within the SimNation world. Much like The Great British Bake Off, experts will then judge their creations, in order to determine who is most deserving of the $100,000 in prize money on the line.

Speaking to The Verge about the show, Lyndsay Pearson, GM of The Sims franchise, explained: “Something that has always been so special to The Sims is the community and how much our players connect with each other to celebrate, share, collaborate, and show off the things they’ve been able to make or share their stories.

“What we’re doing with Spark’d is a really interesting evolution of exactly that. It’s the same DNA, the same motivation.”

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With that in mind, then, we decided to take a look back at the weird things we all experienced playing The Sims at some point.

Are you ready for a walk down (virtual) memory lane?

We all used the ‘rosebud’ cheat code

Sure, we could’ve stuck to the paltry Simoleon budget we were given at the beginning of the game, but how were we ever going to build the luxury house of our Sims’ dreams with that?

Of course, as cinephiles have pointed out on Reddit, there’s a reason game developers plumped for this specific cheat code.

“It’s a Citizen Kane reference,” one person explains. “If you haven’t watched the movie, it won’t make a ton of sense. The difference between being ‘truly wealthy’ and having ‘fuck you money’ was a major theme of the film though.

“A cheat that gives you infinite $$$ deserves such a title.”

And we all secretly loved the soundtrack

Just listen to this and tell me it isn’t catchy as hell:

Sims were incredibly hard to keep happy

Just one dirty plate, or one old pizza box, would deplete your Sim’s happiness levels and literally ruin their life.

But their relationships were incredibly simple

Keen to make friends or fall in love? Just repeatedly high-five someone until your ‘relationship’ bar is maxed out, and voila! Job done.

You had to bring the newspaper in. Had to.

If you didn’t, it would sit there mouldering on the lawn alongside 20-odd other decaying papers. Eventually, your Sims would shadily be informed that they’d no longer be receiving any more papers because they had “too many”. 

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Kitchens caught fire far too frequently

Unless you sat your Sim down and got them to read… ooh, at least five or six books on the art of cooking, they would set the hob on fire. Guaranteed. And they wouldn’t try and put it out with the extinguisher you so helpfully bought them, either: instead, they’d stand there staring at the flames and scream, waving their arms in the air. Sometimes, they’d temporarily forget the disaster unfolding before them (shock, maybe?) and slope back to the fridge for a snack. Your only hope was that a fire-fighter might turn up and deal with the situation.

And that, my friends, is why smoke alarms are a necessity in both the virtual and IRL world.

And burglars were a source of extreme panic

If you’d been honest and avoided the ‘rosebud’ cheat code debacle at the beginning, there was nothing more galling than seeing a burglar tiptoe their way into your home and take all the household items you’d spent hours scrimping and saving for. Hours.

It was pretty galling if you’d used the cheat code too, mind you. 

You started to understand Simlish

In order to ensure dialogue didn’t get annoying or distracting (ha!), creators of The Sims came up with a whole new language. And, weirdly, it started to make a lot of sense the more you listened to it…

Fruit had hidden powers

If you fancied starting a family with your Sims, you had to select the “try for a baby” interaction and then woohoo. If they successfully woohoo, then a baby or multiple babies can be born.

As per Stylist’s Lauren Geall (an avid fan of The Sims), it turned out that eating certain foods could impact the gender of your baby: apples for a boy, watermelons for a girl.

It’s not clear why these foods correlate with the baby’s gender, but Lauren assures me that she found success using this method many times over. So there you go.

Social services would often call round

If your Sims let their baby cry for too long, or their child got one too many F grades at school, then Sylvia the social worker would come along and take the children away. Sometimes, the adult Sims would get upset about this. Usually, though, they’d be too busy catching up on hours of lost sleep to care.

People had a lot of feelings

Whether your Sims knew the deceased or not, they would sob piteously over the grave in the backyard. All the tears. Every single day. 

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On an unrelated note, a ghost kept coming into the house at night and your Sims hated them.

Speaking of ghosts…

If an alive Sim and a ghost ever partook in a ‘woohoo’ session, there’s a chance they could create a ghost child. A ghost child that ages like an alive sim, but can only naturally die from old age. Freaky.

At least one Sim died of embarrassment

In the real world, a broken toilet is an inconvenience. In the world of The Sims, though, it’s a life-or-death matter. In the earlier games, Sims would weep uncontrollably in front of the broken cistern when they had to go. Then they would pee on the floor. Then they would cry some more. And, just sometimes, they would die of exhaustion and embarrassment – leaving an urn in the middle of the puddle for other Sims in the house to find.

Swimming pools were deadly

… mainly because we removed the pool steps and let our Sims swim laps until they died. But, y’know, it makes us feel better about our own pool-less gardens, I suppose.

The Grim-Reaper was an unpopular recurring character

If your Sim caught fire, or got stuck in the swimming pool, or died of embarrassment, the Grim Reaper would rock up with his scythe and swap them for a fetching urn (if they died indoors) or gravestone (if they died outdoors). Of course, any living Sims on the lot could challenge the Reaper to a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. But, y’know, only if they fancied it.

And you’d spend far too many hours in SimNation

Their world was sped up, fitting multiple days into our hours. But we’d sink far too many hours into The Sims in turn, suddenly jolting ourselves awake, bleary-eyed, as we realised it was 3am in the real world and we had school/college/work in a few hours.

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Images: The Sims


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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