What drives players to digital murder in The Sims games

A story from The Huffington Post explores why many Sims players have always found their fun outside of the game's normal objectives.
"I think [killing sims is] a way players can express ultimate control over a thing. It’s funny, mischievous, dark, without being grotesque,” 

- The Sims 4 senior producer Grant Rodiek explores why players create their own murderous goals in The Sims games.

A story on The Huffington Post has taken a closer look at the age-old hobby of killing sims in Maxis’ longrunning life simulation series The Sims.

The lengthy read offers up a slew of examples from generations of Sims players as well as insight from The Sims developers and a psychologist on why some players find their fun outside of The Sims’ typical survive and thrive objectives. 

Grant Rodiek, senior producer on The Sims 4, notes that the current generation of the game clocks as many as 28,000 deaths a day. Roughly 30 percent of those are clocked up to old age, while 11 percent die of hunger, 10.7 percent drown, and 10.6 percent die in a fire.

It’s come to the point where, as Rodiek tells The Huffington Post, that creating new fatal interactions for sims is right along creating new locations for romantic rendezvous as some of the first things the team plan out when developing new expansion packs.

In earlier games in The Sims series, death could come from random chance, certain object interactions, or, in some cases, neglecting a sim’s needs. Rodiek explains that the team behind The Sims has evolved those circumstances since the series’ debut, but does so in a way where death can still feel like a fun outcome for those deliberately devious players.

“Basically, our thought was if sims are smarter, and if sims are less likely to just frickin’ die all the time, well, maybe they’re smart enough to pull their asses out of the pool,” Rodiek said, explaining the evolution from The Sims 1 to The Sims 4. “They’ll still fart at the wrong time and they’ll still just pass out in a pool of vomit if they’re tired enough and the timing is wrong, but that, at least, is a win for them.”

“[Now] your [unattended] sims will basically default to neutral. Our tagline was, ‘We want to move past peeing.’ However, for them to really succeed, you have to nurture them. And nurturing your sims comes from more emotional, higher-level fulfillment.”

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