Everyone has a story. A “this is the worst thing I ever did in a video game” story. A “I think this proves what a horrible person I really am inside” story. A “really, it’s the game’s fault for even making this an option” story.
This is the worst thing I’ve ever done in any video game….so far.
Aspiring to Greatness
In late 2017, I finally bought The Sims 4. I’ve been a fan of the Sims franchise since 2000, but I’ve always been notoriously late getting on board with new releases.
One of the first things I pounced on, when I got The Sims 4, were lifetime aspirations. The Sims 3 had a lifetime aspiration system, but it wasn’t as nuanced as 4’s, and I really liked the opportunity to complete specific tasks and to switch lifetime aspirations.
Because I’m definitely a more horrible person than I pretend to be, the very first lifetime aspiration I ever gave a Sim was the Public Enemy aspiration.
Aspirations have about four tiers each. Each tier has various tasks a Sim has to complete. Some of these tasks can take quite a while – in some cases, a Sim’s entire life (“have a child or grandchild reach the top of a career”). Others are fairly easy to knock off (“talk about grilled cheese with 5 Sims”). And some are pretty rare on their own, but can be made to happen by a particularly diabolical player.
“Witness another Sim’s death,” in the Public Enemy aspiration, is one of the third kind.
Normally, it takes a while for a Sim to die in front of you. But as every Sims player knows, the game gives you plenty of ways to speed up the process.
One of the most beloved ways to kill Sims these last 20+ years has been to have them jump in a swimming pool, then delete the ladder. The Sims 4 stole this option from us, however, by simply allowing the Sims to climb out the side of the pool. Like normal humans. Boring, self-sufficient normal humans.
Sims in 4 can’t get out of the pool, however, if you build a fence around it. So that’s what I did. The “death” half of “witness another Sim’s death”: Check.
But I also had to contend with the whole “witness” part. As a newcomer to The Sims 4, I wasn’t sure what it meant. Did “witness another Sim’s death” mean my Sim need only to be present on the lot when another Sim died? Or did my Sim have to watch the entire process?
Sims have notoriously short attention spans, and they take a notoriously long time to die of exertion in a swimming pool. There was no way my Sim would stand at the side of the pool for the entire time it took her party guests to drown.
Not unless I made her.
I bought a comedy microphone and set it at the poolside, facing so that my Sim was facing an audience of doomed swimmers. Then I had her stand there and tell jokes. Until someone died.
It Gets Worse
Honestly, I thought that making my Sim tell jokes to a pool full of her neighbors until they drowned was the worst possible thing that could have happened.
I mean, that I could have done.
I mean, that I did.
But no. As if to punish me for this horrible digital life choice, things in my game got infinitely worse.
First, the Grim Reaper showed up. This isn’t, in itself, all that bad. The Grim Reaper has shown up in every Sims installment whenever a Sim dies. We all kind of like Grim by now.
Except Grim couldn’t actually get into the pool to reap anyone’s souls, because of that fence I put up to keep the victims from saving themselves from death by drowning.
When Grim found he couldn’t actually do his job, he ended up wandering into the house. He helped himself to some snacks and then decided to watch television.
Turns out the Grim Reaper likes rom-coms. They make him…flirty.
And that’s how my Sim ended her day of comedy and death by making out with the Grim Reaper.
It Gets Even Worse
The Sims 4 has by far the most nuanced mood system of any Sims game so far. Sims have access to a wide range of moods, and can even die of extreme moods, like excessive anger or hilarity.
The vanilla mood system is weird and sometimes difficult to manipulate. As a brand new Sims 4 player, I certainly wasn’t ready for what happens when a Sim jokes a half-dozen of her neighbors to death and then gets smoochy with the Grim Reaper:
She got “Very Sad.”
All the time.
I tried removing all the dead bodies, the comedy microphone, and eventually the entire pool. I kicked Grim off the lot. I sent my Sim for a jog, for a nice hot bath, for a cup of mood-changing tea. I cranked her mood-changing paintings to high.
Nothing I did made her feel better. Nothing.
My Sim just kept crying. And making her spouse sad. And pissing off their toddler by being too sad to read books or play dolls. Her work performance tanked. She just kept painting the same crying rabbit over and over. She wouldn’t even fight her declared enemy anymore!
Since my Sim clearly no longer had anything to live for, I decided to embrace the depression lifestyle. Every time her interaction menu gave me the option to do a Sad activity, I did it.
Crying in bed. Watching sad movies. Sobbing at the graves of her deceased neighbors.
That last one…actually perked her up a bit. Enough that the interaction menu gave her the option to “Make Fun of” the dead.
My Sim found this hilarious. She began telling jokes again.
At the grave.
To her toddler.
And that’s how I learned exactly how horrible a human being I really am.
To date, this remains the worst thing I have ever done in a video game. But even as we speak, I am working on an even more dastardly plan.
This one is in Skyrim, on the Xbox – no mods, no console commands. Nothing except exploiting things the game will already let me do. (Really, the developers should have seen this one coming).
That’s all I’m going to say, in case it fails. If it doesn’t, I’ll be back, confessing the new worst thing I ever did in a video game. Stay tuned.
Help me be awful to video game characters: buy me a coffee or share this post with your awful gamer friends. You know the one.