One of my favourite ways to play The Sims is to create a character with no job and no fixed address to see if I can get by napping on park benches (or wherever I can lay my Sim’s head down for a bit), cadging food from public venues (someone is always grilling at the park), and fishing, picking public produce, and foraging for treasure to sell for simoleons.
A Sim does have to have an address, so mine is usually a lot empty of all but a mailbox. Over time, I’ll add stuff to the lot using funds derived from foraging. I take great pleasure in using the startup funds assigned to every Sim to buy the largest empty lot in the best neighborhood, decorating it with weeds, and letting it lie empty but for the objects I begin to collect. I’ll construct a sort of shed as the budget allows, and if my Sim is a Klepto, stock it with lots of fun stuff.
Eventually, I’ll build a house.
Aside from the challenge of starting out this way, one of the reasons I enjoy this play style is that while the careers on offer are always fun and interesting (I’ve maxed out each and every one over the past two decades, for every base game and expansion I own), gaining the skills and checkpoints required for promotion doesn’t leave a lot of time for just hanging about and doing your own thing.
I mean, you could space the promotions out. Not try to get one a day. But I find it hard to resist a checklist, which is probably why I’ve been playing The Sims for over twenty years.
I’ve only played The Sims 4 on and off, mostly when I feel like a quiet evening of building. Another of my favourite ways to play The Sims is to create houses I’d like to live in. Houses neither me nor my Sims can afford. Over the past weekend, I logged in to do just that and noted that the City Living expansion for The Sims 4 was available for a two-day free trial.
Apartment Life for The Sims 2 was one of my favourite expansions EVER. I loved, loved, loved building multiple occupancy lots and designed dozens. Apartment buildings, condo villages, duplexes and triplexes, even small-scale neighborhoods like tiny, upscale, gated communities inside a super large lot.
I figured City Living would offer the same options. It doesn’t, which was a huge disappointment. But it does offer something else I hadn’t tried before: freelance careers. For a Sim who doesn’t like to be tied to a schedule, a freelance career is just the thing. Also, um, I’m freelance. I get the freelance life. I’ve lived it for decades. I have it so down, my body knows what to do every minute of every day.
Of course, that could just be that I need a schedule (the same way I need a checklist), but whatever. We’re talking about Sim Me. Not Me Me.
I quickly designed a new Sim, Devorah (a character from my current WIP), placed her in an apartment, and signed her up as a freelance writer. She nearly failed her first gig, but from then on out, she got nothing but praise, bonuses, and awards. That her neighbors partied and argued late into the night, preventing her from sleeping, had a little something to do with it. She had hours to fill, so she worked. And because I totally fail at reading instructions, she sometimes ended up with extra books.
I know. Why can’t I end up with extra books? I mean, seriously? Oh, hey, can’t sleep tonight. I KNOW, I’LL WRITE A WHOLE EXTRA BOOK. WHEE!
Anyway, she sent them to a publisher using a mailbox interaction and her publisher said yay another book from Devorah let’s put that out right away.
I know. But this is why it’s a game. This is why it’s fun!
Until the royalty checks start rolling in EVERY DAY, and after two weeks, vastly overshadow my own meagre earnings as an author. As of this writing, Devorah is making 1330 simoleons a day in royalties. Sim economics are whacky, but still. That’s over a thousand bucks a day. And no one seems to have noticed that two of her books have the same title.
I’m trying not to take this personally. As an insult to my career and everything I’ve worked for. Really, I’m not. But… She’s been writing for four weeks and she’s already a San Myshuno Times Bestselling Author. And Freelancer of the Year.
It’s depressing, it really is. I almost don’t feel bad that she has to spend a day every second week fixing every appliance in her apartment because of the gremlins.
The lots in City Living come with traits. Every apartment has something other than noisy neighbors to deal with. Devorah has stopped answering the door to Arun. He always wants to borrow food and then he hangs out for hours and hours while she’s trying to write her next bestseller.
Dev’s apartment has gremlins, meaning overnight, every couple of weeks of so, all of her plumbing bursts and the appliances break. It takes an entire day to repair everything. No, I’m not paying to replace stuff or hiring someone to repair it all. She’s freelance. She has TIME. And doing it yourself means you end up with quite a few points of handiness skill which you can then use to upgrade the appliances so they won’t break next time. Except they do. Because gremlins.
When Devorah suffered a bladder crisis—I forgot to repair the toilet first and thought Dev could finish off the fridge in time—we decided it was time to move.
The two other available apartments in the building offered a choice between “Needs TLC” and “Ghost.” The ghost had to be preferrable to more repairs, right?
I always redecorate the ready-to-buy lots. I usually move walls, too. So, I bulldozed what was there and apparently that killed the ghost because it no longer pops up on the list of lot traits. The lot is now listed as simply “Historical” and there’s a creepy plaque on the wall of the bedroom that I can’t move.
The new apartment is nice. Devorah’s Freelancer of the Year award looks great on the wall over her desk, which I decided not to upgrade because she’s doing well enough with the first, cheap desk I bought for her. Why should she get a new one?
The new apartment also has great light for her second freelance career as an artist. This one isn’t official—though she could switch from freelance writer to digital artist if I felt so inclined—but it’s nearly as lucrative. She can reasonably create two paintings a day, and as her skill as an artist improves, so does the remuneration. She sold a painting for nearly 500 simoleons yesterday. Her second large painting EVER.
Also, how is it that she can only write Science Fiction now? At writing level 8? My first ever published book was Science Fiction. Then again, only thirty-two people actually bought it, so…
She also makes Quality: Excellent vegetable dumplings.
Basically, Devorah is better than me in every way possible. She even likes going to the gym.
I want to be Devorah.
Maybe I’ll move her to the country this weekend. Plop her down on a gigantic lot with nothing but a mailbox and a shack. See how she does when she has to scavenge for a living.
That’s not me being petty. Nope. Not at all. She’ll still be earning royalties. She just won’t have her fancy city views.
Or a wall for her medal.