Sims 3: Children


Girlfriend’s daughter wants a laptop that she can play Sims on!  This stands to reason, since her mother is also a computer geek like me.

Needless to say, the girl is not mine, even in the game.  Although she is a major reason why I decided to live with them, to help the little girl grow up well.  Growing up well has taken on a new dimension in Sims 3:  It now directly influences the traits of the children.

If you are playing the pregnant mother (there are no pregnant fathers in Sims 3) then her happiness during the pregnancy transfers to the baby.  If she is healthy and happy, you get to choose the two starting traits of the child.  Remember, each Sim has a maximum of 5 traits, chosen from a few dozen good, bad and just weird ones. Two are determined at birth, the third when the toddler grows up to child, the fourth when she becomes a teen, and the last when growing up to adult. At any of these occasions, a truly horrible past is likely to be reflected in negative traits, such as Evil, Insane or Kleptomaniac. A so-so upbringing will give a random trait, while a happy life leaves the choice to the player rather than just picking a good trait.  This is a nice incentive to keep an eye on the kids, but also painfully unrealistic.

It is a sad sign of how much the fake liberal philosophy has permeated society that the game has completely abandoned any trace of inheritable traits.  In The Sims 2, there was a strong tendency for nice Sims to have nice Children, active Sims to have active children and so on.  You could then modify these traits if one of the parents (or even grandparents) had a particularly strong side, they could encourage children to develop in a special direction despite their genes, but it took lots of time.  The new system makes for more drama and hilarity, sure, but it is a long step backwards in realism.  At the very least the two birth traits should have been picked at random from the parents’ traits.  (Or the parent’s trait, in case of parthenogenesis.)

Have I gone on and on about (sim)parthenogenesis yet?  I should.  The game takes place in a town with a limited but fairly large number of houses.  It is not actually a town, of course, but there are a couple dozen families I think.  There are not quite that many when you start, but new families will randomly move in from time to time.  Some families will also randomly move out unless you have a hack to stop them, such as the ever useful Awesomemod.

Since time flows for everyone in this game, the members of the various families will grow older and eventually expire.  (They may also die in accidents, but this is not common.) If the neighbors did not also reproduce, we would soon end up with a literal ghost town.  The game is very reluctant to let any household die out, even if it happens to only contain a single sim or a couple friends of the same gender. So does it compel them to seek out a mate?  No, it simply dumps a baby on them.  If they do happen to be married, the baby will have two parents and inherit its looks from both of them.  But if the parent is single, the baby has only one parent and retains its skin and hair color, although it is not a complete clone. Also, there is no visible pregnancy.  (This makes sense as it can happen as easily to males.) We call this parthenogenesis, virgin origin. Lest someone suspect blasphemy, let me assure you that the concept is well known from biology, as many insects routinely reproduce without intercourse, as do a few vertebrates.

Wanja in the picture above is a spontaneous offspring of Ari Moore, my self-sim’s in-game girlfriend. (Not to be confused with my imaginary girlfriend. This is my imaginary self-sim’s imaginary girlfriend.)  Ari lived with two other women and had, to the best of my knowledge, no romantic relationships.  Certainly Wanja is listed as having only one parent, and looks a lot like her mother (but not an all-out clone). Since I was not playing that family, the game randomly gave the child two traits, fairly decent traits luckily, but none of them were from her mother.  So it fell to me to give her some realistic traits while raising her. As you can see, it worked out pretty well…

Sim children have a lot of schoolwork. Certainly more than Americans, who only have symbolic amounts of homework compared to other civilized countries. On the other hand, they have a longer vacation. Wait, that’s on the same hand. Anyway, Sim children have no vacation ever, and their homework takes the better part of the rest of the day unless they get help.  Luckily a skilled parent can cut down heavily on the time spent and the frustration felt.  Failing that, doing homework together with other kids will make it more fun, although I am not sure if it actually goes faster.  More testing is in order.  Sim Magnus usually would help Wanja with her homework, of course. He also had the option to tutor her, although I am not sure what effect (if any) this has in the game.

If your simulated child fails to do homework one day, all is not lost.  When in school, there is a small menu where you can decide what they do there:  Work hard, work normally, make friends, hang out with existing friends, or do homework.  If they fail entirely to do their homework, and don’t work hard during school hours, grades start slipping.  There is a happiness reward for good grades, but not only that: Bad grades means your kid risks growing up to an insane kleptomaniac or a neurotic with commitment issues.

Luckily there are certain random events that let a child improve its standing in school temporarily by for instance catching a particular fish or writing a report.  My teen sim had this, not sure if they get them in grade school too.  It does not happen all the time though so don’t rely on it.

Teen Sims still have homework, and can take a part-time job as well. Luckily they come home earlier, just like in Sims 2. But between work and romance, the long homework really does cut into their lives. Having a parent (or resident genius) to help comes in very handy.  I suppose this also applies in real life. Then again I am not some liberal post-modernist extolling the virtues of the post-nuclear family.

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