On Monday I decided that The Most Important Thing for me to do – so important it was worth spending the entire day on – was to try the Sims 3 Legacy Challenge. In short, the challenge is to play for 10 generations without using cheat codes, extending your sims’ lifespans, raising them from the dead, etc. You start with just one sim on a very large empty lot and $1800 starting cash.
I decided to alter some of the rules for my challenge run:
- I added a total of 10 days to the “normal” sim lifespan.
- I decided that the camera in the founder’s inventory at the start of the game may not be sold.
- I added “No Bills Ever,” “Fireproof Homestead,” and “Young Again” to the list of forbidden Lifetime Rewards.
- I set up my own rules governing the traits I choose for sims that are born in-game (instead of requiring them to be random):
- Each sim must have the family trait
- Three additional traits must be from the sim’s parents, with each parent contributing one or two traits
- [4/20/15 edit: The above traits can also come from grandparents, etc. but not aunts/uncles. Both the mother’s and the father’s sides should be represented.]
- The final trait should be unique
- I’m playing a matriarchal family: I have a female founder and “only female children may become the heir to bring in the next generation.” Males born into the family may (but are not required to) stay to help take care of their nieces and nephews.
- My goal is for each heir to have children with whichever unrelated male sim(s) she chooses – without the need for marriage or other committed romantic relationships. (This way I don’t have to take control of non-player characters.) In fact, I’ve chosen “Commitment Issues” as the family trait to support this play style.
- I’m going to try to make additions to the legacy house without altering the existing structure. That means existing walls, exterior wall coverings, doors, and windows will remain whenever possible.
I’ve chosen not to write a story about my legacy family. Doing so would require me to spend even more time focused on a very potent distraction from my real-life goals. I enjoy taking screenshots and looking through them, but I don’t want to put in the time and energy it would take to post and caption them all. I especially don’t want to try to weave them into a mostly-written narrative.
I am inclined to show images depicting how the family and their house has changed over time. That’s what brings me back to play this game over and over and over again: the compression of time.
I recently chose to end a game in which my original sims had become immortal vampires and outlived their children and grandchildren. Their great-great grandson was a child. I’d only played that particular game for a handful of months, yet I’d seen five generations. I spent much of my play time looking at the series of family portraits that showed children growing up, adults aging, new sims coming into the family via birth or marriage, old sims leaving because they’d either moved out or died, etc. I find it fascinating.
So far my legacy family (new game) hasn’t changed at all: the founder is still the only person in it. She’s aged from a young adult into an adult, developed a range of skills, made several friends and acquaintances, and worked her way up most of the culinary career ladder. She is currently in University pursuing a degree that should give her a significant pay increase. She also has two love interests who might be willing to help her have children.
The legacy house has changed quite a bit. $1800 was just enough to buy the items I considered absolutely essential: a bed, a refrigerator, a chair, and a light source. They furnished a 3×3 hut with a simple door and a tiny window. My sim had enough money left over to eat at the diner once. For the entire summer she had to travel across town to use the toilet and shower at the gym.
In autumn I added a second, larger room to be my sim’s living space, then slowly acquired the items necessary to convert the original hut into a bathroom.
She saved over the winter (I can’t imagine anyone doing construction in the snow) so she could afford to add 2 new rooms come spring: a kitchen and a bedroom. I’m pretty sure the kitchen is a fire trap… but at least my sim who’s dedicated her whole life to cooking can finally cook for herself instead of living on cereal!
Will the legacy survive to generation 2? Find out next time!