By now, every Sims player has probably hit it: the slump. After playing The Sims 3 extensively for my bachelor thesis (this still sounds wrong to me…) I took a break myself, since the game held nothing new. Even add-ons don’t really provide a great deal of satisfaction in Sims games, I would even say they hinder the gameplay more than they augment it. Eventually you reach the point where only creative story-telling will work to make the game fun again. If you still want to play, and just don’t know what else to try, the Challenges are the best way to get new ideas.
People already came up with these in time of TS2, and they are easy to adapt. Even if you don’t care for the point systems, they’re a good place to start to freshen up the game experience. Here are my favourites:
For everyone who wants to get the most out of The Sims, and is usually to shy and lazy to try something new, this challenge does the trick. You build a family as in Pinstar’s original legacy challenge, but with the difference of rolling the dice for almost every decision you make. If you like some randomness, and dice, this is the best way to go. They even created an app just to make it easier to roll the numbers!
This setup reminds me very much of the dorms of TS2’s Campus. You build a home according to certain restrictions, such as how much furniture you are allowed, and what quality it can be. Your “residents” are all slightly deranged inmates, and the player may only actively control one Sim in the house. As soon as their lifetime wish is fulfilled they may leave the asylum and wins the challenge. Points are rewarded for achievements, and deducted for time in the asylum, deaths, and so on.
This challenge really does its name justice. The rules forbid you to do almost anything to better your situation, and leave you with little choice in the matter. If the player manages to get their imagination kicking, this can turn out to be a very rewarding story, especially because it forces them to forego their usual, worn-out tactics. Play it for the sake of playing it – points are awarded for the number of days you played, but basically this one is just for fun.
If anything, this has the potential to become the funniest challenge of them all. Your goal is as nasty as it is simple: Make as much money as possible – but you can only steal and mooch. You may never buy anything normally, and you cannot even get a job. Make the most of evil Sims, and see how far you can make it.
- The Poverty Challenge – Google it, there are many different versions to be found. This is so popular, it even featured in one of the books I read for my thesis.
- Baby Boomers – One very hilarious idea is to simply make a male Sim and father as many babies as possible. An alternative is to have a female Sim have ridiculously many children and raise them all perfectly.
- Hobo Challenges – Live off the land or have no home at all, this is a nice variant on the poverty tales.
- Royalty – For everyone who can’t be bothered to try The Sims Medieval, pretend one Sim is a royal heir, exiled or otherwise afflicted with new beginnings. Create a class system for your town, and rule!
One final tip: we all get attached to our Sims – but sometimes too attached. We tend to “overuse” them, by maxing out everything they can do, eventually turning them into crazy masters of the universe. Accept that it’s okay for them to die, and set their lifespan to normal, especially in 10-generation-households to prevent boredom. Have fun!