5 Things Playing The Sims Taught me about Real Life

In college, playing The Sims was my escape from an overwhelmingly heavy course load, caused by taking seven classes each semester. For those of you who don’t know, The Sims is a series of video games created by Maxim and Electronic Arts, which allow you to live vicariously through characters you create and control.

The game is remarkably similar to real life, and teaches you valuable lessons if you’re willing to pay attention. Here’s what I learned.

#1- You Won’t Get Rich from a Regular 9 to 5

Almost every sim household I had was well-off before death, rich by the second generation, and rolling in cash by the third. I achieved this not with cheats, but by learning a valuable lesson: you won’t get rich from a regular 9 to 5. 

As a result, the first characters I start out with always had side-jobs, or they worked in fields which not only made them money at work but also while at home.

For instance, my current sim household features a professional writer and a tech guru. The professional writer takes home a regular paycheck, and also earns royalties from the novels she publishes in her spare time.

The tech guru also takes home a regular paycheck and collects money from apps he makes while off the clock, as well as freelance work he completes on the side.

I follow this same principle today, which has earned me greater job satisfaction and better financial security, than merely surviving off a crappy 9 to 5.

#2 – Invest in your Business before your Home

The last family I played with in The Sims 3 were the richest I ever had. In the past, I spent a lot of money on the things that made home life comfortable – man cave in the basement, expensive computers, gourmet kitchen, and luxury cars.

This time around, I started my sims off in an old shack and spent all our disposable income on buying businesses in the area. I then used those profits to buy an old hotel, and poured everything into fixing it up. Profits from the hotel then bought me five resorts, two private islands, and a vacation home.

I applied the same logic to running my freelance business, and it has continued to grow since. I reinvest my profits into marketing, upgrading my devices and work space, and growing my skills.

Virtually every purchase has to be weighed against my business bottom line – whether it’s a new phone, a new trip, or even a new house. If it doesn’t bring me closer to my career goals, it can wait – for now.

#3 – Betrayal is a Relationship Killer

In the Sims 2, I once built a large household which included all my friends and our favourite celebrities. I then started the game and left them to interact, while I fetched some grub from the kitchen.

When I returned, I found one character flirting with her best friend, while her husband grew angry at the other side of the room. He then walked over and slapped her silly. After that I could never reconcile them. I had to start the game all over again.

In real life, we don’t have that option of wiping the slate clean and starting over like nothing ever happened. This reinforced the fact that it’s hard to fix a relationship when someone has betrayed the other’s trust, even in virtual reality.

Stay true to the people you love. Cheating and disloyalty are selfish acts. True love calls for self-sacrifice and selflessness, in order to grow and blossom.

#4 – Life Gets Boring when you Have Nothing to Work For

We all dream of being filthy rich and having the means to afford everything we want, but if your only goals in life are to achieve material things, life gets boring really quickly.

After I had owned every business, run several hotels, owned my dream home, and bought every luxury vehicle, there was really not much else to do. After a while, I would just delete that family and restart from scratch to work my way up to the top again.

This taught me that despite all the value we tend to place on material gains in life, we do need other things to keep us happy. We need to build bonds with the people we love, maintain hobbies, travel more, and devote as much of our resources as possible to helping other people.

While these were not things I could do in The Sims, these were real things I could enjoy in real life, whether rich or poor, and so can you.

Don’t judge your happiness by whether or not you’ve been keeping up with the Jones – or the Kardashians, as the case may be. Remember there are other things in life that make it worth living, or you’ll be without them later on, when you’ve achieved everything else.

#5 – Life Works Better when We All have Equal Rights

In all The Sims series I have played, all adults have equal rights, regardless of gender, race, or sexual preference. The game does not discriminate against anyone based on these characteristics; and I wonder how the people who do, ever make it through the game.

One of the wealthiest and most prestigious families in The Sims, The Goth Family, feature an interracial couple and biracial children. Both men and women can propose, and they are under no obligation to change their names after marriage.

More than likely your boss will be a racial minority. And don’t be surprised if you find out your son is gay on prom night. Random ruckus happens, and it’s all based on exposing people to the value of giving everyone equal rights – or at least, that’s what I think.

If you’ve played The Sims series before, then perhaps you noticed these things too. If you haven’t… well you can learn from these lessons whether you’ve played the game or not. It’s sometimes surprising where wisdom and inspiration can come from, but if you keep your mind open to learning new things you’ll begin to see the world in a whole new light.

For more college related posts, check out my new website at College Mate – your survival guide for college.

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43 Comments Add yours

  1. Idle Muser says:

    Lessons worth to be learnt.
    Thanks for sharing Alexis. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. College Mate says:

      Thank you. Glad you liked them! – Alex

      Liked by 1 person

  2. reflectionofdes says:

    I love playing the sims. I never really thought about it on a deep level until I read this article. This game does teach you plenty of life lessons if you pay close attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. College Mate says:

      Another sim player! Awesome. What do you think of the Sims 4?

      And yes, it certainly does have a lot to teach us if we pay attention. Glad this opened your eyes. 🙂

      – Alex

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yeah, I find meaning in the weirdest things I suppose lol. Sorry for the late reply! WordPress had this marked as spam for some reason. Did you get Sims 4 yet?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. reflectionofdes says:

        lol I understand. I’m the same way sometimes. It’s okay. Yeah I did.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Do you prefer it to the sims 3?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. reflectionofdes says:

        No I’ll rather play the sims 4

        Liked by 2 people

      4. College Mate says:

        I prefer the Sims 3, but I haven’t gotten the new expansion packs for 4 yet.

        – Alex

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Meccaamirahj says:

    Haha love this! I was obsessed with the sims for years and I love how you use the game to help with life experiences. Cheats were the only way my sims could survive!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. College Mate says:

      Haha. Didn’t cheats make the game boring for you? And thanks, I did do my best to share my experiences.

      There’s another article like this one on College Mate that talks about what sims taught me about relationships https://collegemate.org/2016/04/25/5-things-i-learned-about-relationships-from-playing-the-sims/

      – Alex

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Meccaamirahj says:

        Haha yeah so I had to use it sparingly-sometimes just the money one and awesome- I will defiently check it out!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. College Mate says:

        I did that when I just started but I learned to appreciate the struggle. It added difficulty. 🙂

        Like

      3. Meccaamirahj says:

        Haha appreciate the struggle! I might have to start playing again 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. College Mate says:

        You definitely should. 🙂

        Like

  4. Noni says:

    The Sims has actually been a really good tool in my own life, but in a different way. On a number of occasions (including one I’m in the middle of right now), my mental health has fallen to pieces so spectacularly that I’ve been unable to see any way to get back to being a functional adult. During these times, playing myself as a Sim and making a decent life for myself over a few weeks (no cheats except turning off aging) has given me the little sliver of hope that maybe it can come good.

    I always feel silly when I’m doing it, but there’s no denying that it’s helped me get out of some very deep, dark holes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. College Mate says:

      Noni this makes perfect sense. Sims has helped me through many rough times as well, and I suggested it also to my friend who’s currently going through a rough spot.

      The Sims also definitely encouraged me to live the life I made in those hours, in real life.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Quite the entertaining list. We can learn something from everything. I learned you can create a fun drama or two with that game. Also, I should never be an omnipotent being who has control over people’s lives. Xp

    Liked by 2 people

    1. College Mate says:

      You play as well? So glad to see so many of my readers have played this, and still do.

      Sims made me realise how thoroughly amused gods must be to watch us make a muck of things down here haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a pretty hardcore gamer and The Sims used to be a great way to unwind from the day or even playing things like Monster Hunter or Dark Souls, which can get brutal in difficulty.

        I don’t play Sims as much at the moment, being I don’t have a laptop, but I enjoyed the time I did play it, and I will likely pick up a version of it again in the future when I get another laptop.

        It was always fun and one of the reasons I was sad when my laptop met its end.

        Gods must love watching people. Xp

        Liked by 1 person

      2. College Mate says:

        You should definitely get back into it. I’ve been playing more Sims Medieval than regular Sims lately. I haven’t played The Sims 4 in a while. It’s no contender for the Sims 3. – Alex

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sims 3 had so much in the way of expansions. I LOVED IT! Oh, I hope to find a free minute and a new laptop to get into it proper again soon.

        Cheers! ^_^

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Good one. If we keep our eyes open, there are lessons to be learnt everywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. That is an interesting take on the game… I love playing it myself but I’ve never gone in that deep

    Liked by 1 person

    1. College Mate says:

      Haha well I’ve played for a long time and had plenty of time to think about it. Thanks for reading. 🙂 -Alex

      Liked by 1 person

    2. We find lessons in the most unlikely places sometimes. Sorry for the late reply! WordPress had this marked as spam for some reason.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s alright. Thanks for replying after this long 😊

        Liked by 2 people

      2. College Mate says:

        Haha my pleasure 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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