Life Lessons from the Sims

By Summer Williamson and Adaline Bisese

Many of us have partaken in the experience of playing one version or another of Maxis’ “The Sims” game. For those of us who have invested an unreasonable and inexcusable amount of hours engaging as a life-like character in a virtual reality (which is often, yet secretly, accepted as an idealized reflection of our own beings and lives), we have gleaned over certain lesson that can actually be learned by observing the miniature digital humans.

There is a certain simplicity to Sims characters, in that they only do what is necessary and never exceed their means. The humans playing Sims have the chance to learn life lessons that will serve them well in the future from their virtual counterparts. These five life lessons from Sims can change and improve your view on everyday life.

Sims acknowledge that having fun is a need

While your Sim cannot die from a lack of having fun, it is still treated as a means necessary for their productivity. Without having fun for a set period of time, Sims become tense and uncomfortable which limits the activities that they can participate in. Like Sims, us real humans need some down-time for pleasure and enjoyment as well. We do not have a visual “need meter” telling us what we should do to pacify our demanding mortal bodies (although it would be very helpful), it is important that we recognize when we have to take some time away from the grind and have some fun.

A Sim does what a Sim has gotta do

While a Sim is acting passively ‘on their own’ (without human interaction), they attend to their needs and that is about it. As said above, they listen to their bodies and do not exceed their means. A Sim only eats when they are hungry, sleep when they are tired, and bathe when the stinky clouds emanate from their bodies. Often times, we ignore our body’s cues to fulfill our regular physical needs which causes disruptions in our systems. Take for example, skipping breakfast to get to work on time. These disruptions build up and negatively impact our moods in all sorts of ways which is why it is vital to listen to our bodies.

They have a limited amount of decisions

Normally, the Sim is not the one making the decisions, the player is, but there are only so many choices to be made in a finitely coded game. There is no limitless cooking menu when we select to cook on the stove. Their lives are not burdened with the stress and time consuming task of making choices like what to eat, what to wear, and where to go unlike the real world. In this day and age, we are bombarded with the demand to make millions of micro-decisions a day and each carries its own consequences with them (beit positive or negative). To limit our commitments and choices is a beneficial method of simplifying and streamlining human existence towards a happier future.

Everything has its place

Once a Sim’s house is built, everything pretty much stays in the same place besides the occasional stray book or dirty dish that you don’t even know how it got onto the roof and says it was cooked by the neighbor you evicted. Sims keep it clean and straight. Due to limited shopping options, they don’t collect clutter and if they do they can easily sell it. It is tricky and probably impossible to achieve a Sim’s sophisticated level of minimalism in real life, but it can serve as a healthy goal to limit the influx of material items in the home.

They spend their spare time learning new skills

Lastly, Sims spend much of their spare time learning new skills like writing, cooking, and gardening. These skills open up many new possible interactions with the Sims and can be quite fun. Almost everyone can benefit from having similar hobbies and learning new things on a regular basis. Actively participating in hobbies can be stress relieving and educational.

While we can’t try to imitate our Sim’s lives exactly (you would probably end up injured), they can still serve as examples of how to better our lives. Learning ‘life lessons’ from the Sims is also no excuse to play the game for a ridiculous amount of time when you could be actually doing, like, productive stuff. However, it is interesting to note the ways in which we can learn from these video game characters.