Arguably, The Sims has endured as one of the most loved video game franchises for more than a decade or so. From Simlish phrases growing to be excellent ice breakers between gamers to people theorizing about the mysterious history of Bella Goth. Truly, this franchise has cemented itself not only into gamer’s hearts but also as a pop culture icon as well.
Personally, there are only two video game franchises that I absolutely go crazy for– Mass Effect and The Sims. I admit that those two have had their own share of criticisms when it comes to the game development of their sequels. However, video games aren’t just about the technicalities, the story or what not. I love video games not because I know how to design or critique a game. I love video games because they give me a lot of great memories, experiences and heck some lessons too. The Sims franchise has given me a lot of those like reminding myself that a swimming pool without a ladder is fatal or being mindful of paying my bills on time before the Repoman comes. Here are just some of the lessons I’ve learned from playing The Sims for more than a decade.
1. Cheating is bad and single parents are super heroes.
Okay, I know this doesn’t really count as advice per se but when I was younger, I didn’t really understand the concept of marriage or faithfulness since I was born with separated parents who dated a lot from time to time. Anyway, one summer day my mother asked me what I did while she was away and I replied: “Oh, I played Sims today and I kind of got bored with this family… so I let the husband find a new girl friend and split with his wife.” From that sentence alone, I was almost banned from playing that game. It was fun and games at first, but not for long. My cheating sim’s wife left him with their newborn son and it was really hard since Vincent, the husband sim, was just starting out in his career. At some point, one of you would have already said: “Why not just use cheats to fix everything?” Well, I don’t use cheats often in Sims because I like having to work for my accomplishments so that the reward tastes even sweeter in the end.
So yeah, I was stuck with a baby with a father who earns an entry-level salary. What did I do? I dumped the mistress and purely focused on Vincent’s career and caring for his baby boy Chad. It was very challenging, especially since Vince had to wake up in the middle of the night to feed Chad even if he had work first thing in the morning. On top of that, Chad’s nanny ends up going for a swim instead of attending to him. Despite the obstacles, after seeing Chad grow up to be an adult, he felt more like an accomplishment than just a set of pixels. It could have been a lot easier if the mom was still there, but I guess I would have ended up just getting bored and switched to another family instead of learning a few things.
Lesson is: Cheating is bad and I don’t only pertain to spouses but to cheating in general. If I used cheats on my game to give me money or to let me WooHoo with anyone my sim sees, then I wouldn’t really appreciate the value of hard work and rewards. In addition to that, I realized how hard my mother works just to provide for me as a single parent from reliving it through a virtual world.
2. Babies are not like cute puppies.
This is a lesson I’m probably glad I learned early on in my life. I have two cousins who got pregnant when they were in high school and now I have one in college who is close to following their footsteps. I asked her about her dreams, and she told me that she wanted to have a lot of babies with her boyfriend as early as now. I was stunned so I asked her why and she told me that it’s because babies are so adorable and she wants to be a mother. Her reply was swiftly followed with a lengthy sermon from myself. Yet at some point, I may have shared the same philosophy as hers. When I played The Sims, I loved using the “Try for Baby” option only because I thought babies were so adorable. One after the other, I would say: “Okay, let’s get another one!” like it was just some puppy from the pet store. Things started to get not so adorable when I now had five babies in my household with two adults working full time. I couldn’t take care of all of them so some had to go with the social worker.
It’s funny how whenever I tell people I only want two children when I get married, I always remember that particular family in The Sims and the circus of babies I had to endure. So to all of you teenagers who want lots of children right away, it’s hard enough in a virtual world… so I can’t imagine what it’s like in real life well unless, you watch Kate Plus Eight or whatever.