Messed up things in The Sims only adults notice

The very first installment of The Sims from Maxis and EA Games was released in early 2000. As one of the first games of its kind, it saw immediate success and a bright future for expansions and follow-up installments. For many young gamers, The Sims was their first PC game. And while the series has continued to grow in popularity and mainstream recognition, at its inception, much about it was still unknown to the casual gamer or parents of young gamers.

The early incarnations of The Sims skewed a bit darker than the newest games, in the sense that they were subtle about the mature humor found throughout. For a young child, most of the references went by without notice because they were simply beyond their level of understanding. But with mature situations aside, there were also some social, economical, and just plain common sense oddities that went over everyone's heads as children.

So get ready to view The Sims in a different light, particularly if you haven't played it since you were young. These are odd things about The Sims that we didn't notice until we were adults.

If your Sim isn't social enough, they'll get a visit from someone in a filthy bunny suit

A common stereotype often attributed to gamers is that they're an anti-social bunch. And while that may be true for some, for many it's simply that they like to be social in unconventional ways. It would only make sense that this trait be passed on to the Sim you create in your virtual Utopia.

Maxis seemed to want to point this peculiarity out when it introduced The Social Bunny in The Sims 2. If a player allowed their Sim's social need to get too low, The Social Bunny appeared. How a dirty bunny costume worn by a stranger raises one's social happiness is still a mystery. The only problem is that your Sim is the only one who can see the bunny. This can often lead to your Sim appearing insane when interacting with the invisible being. The fact that your therapist is the only other person who can see them isn't exactly comforting either.

To a child, the appearance of a bunny coming to spread some cheer may seem at least semi-normal. The Easter Bunny does it, right? But once you play through the game as an adult and notice the strange person dressed in a dirt-covered bunny suit showing up to your house, it seems much less inviting than it did years ago.

Creating a Sim family using your real-life crush as inspiration

The Sims is all about simulating real life; or at least what real life could be in a perfect world controlled by the player. And sometimes this "perfection" involves another person. Maybe one who isn't actually involved in your real life at all. Maybe one who doesn't actually know you exist.

Making a Sim family with yourself, your crush, and your perfect future children seems innocent enough, especially if that crush is a celebrity that you know you'll never meet. But at some point, an innocent obsession can cross the line from childhood wish fulfillment to Norman Bates keeping his mother in a freezer. Many young gamers have taken the opportunity afforded them by The Sims to live out a life that isn't their own; but when the idealized version of their life involves real people they've unwittingly coded into their game, things can get a little creepy. Once you've grown up and watched too many episodes of Criminal Minds, it becomes apparent that it's safer to lean more towards "virtual" than "reality". Especially if there's even a small chance the person you created might find out one day. It would be a bit tough to explain.

Feeling morally fine with asking someone else's spouse to move in with you

In the real world, there are consequences for all actions. In video games, however, we can often remain blissfully unaware of the effect a player's actions have, or avoid any consequences all together. On top of this, morality becomes completely subjective when seen through the eyes of a player character. After all, none of it is real.

Because The Sims is a social game where it's important for your Sim to interact with other NPCs, things can get messy. When you add a Sim with a romance or family aspiration into the mix, it can get really messy. Inviting a married Sim over to your house and romancing them to fill some of your aspiration bars might seem totally normal and innocent. But then you suddenly begin to see that Bella Goth has gone missing and maybe you shouldn't have tried to steal her husband Mortimer. Not to mention the fact that if you set aside the gaming aspect of the interactions you've created and look at the game as if it were real life, it's not quite as innocent anymore.

Olive Specter and her dark implications

To start, it's best to address the most obvious problem with this story that might go over a child's head. The name Olive Specter is literally using a play on words to spell out "I love specter[s]." As in ghosts. So knowing that this woman, Olive, has a love for the deceased, a closer inspection of her home and habits seems to be in order.

Olive Specter was first introduced in The Sims 2. She lives alone in a large house on the outskirts of Strangetown. As a serial bride with a total of three marriages, one broken engagement, and The Grim Reaper as her lover, Olive is an odd character, though the acknowledgment of her eccentricities may end there for a younger player. But looking at her backyard and piecing together her history, it becomes apparent that Olive has more to hide than meets the eye.

With numerous graves in her backyard ranging from past lovers to maids and paperboys who have worked for her, things start looking as grim as her current beau. But the nail in the not-so-metaphorical coffin comes in the form of the man who left Olive at the altar, the aptly named Earl E. DeMise. Not only did he die shortly after his Runaway Groom routine, but he's also buried in Olive's backyard. This suggests that Olive killed each and every person in her personal graveyard, possibly to see her lover The Grim Reaper again.

Want a job as a criminal? Just look in the classified ads

Getting a job and advancing your character's career is a big part of The Sims. It's particularly important if you're playing the game correctly (i.e., without cheat codes), because a job can be the difference between your Sim living in squalor or living like a king. The opportunity to be nearly anything you'd like is a big part of this life simulator's appeal. Some jobs, however, are a little on the bizarre side.

If your Sim would prefer a life of crime, you're in luck. Not only can your Sim become a criminal as their official "job," but they advertise jobs for criminals right there in the local newspaper next to the medicine and educational career tracks. As odd as this is, that would make it easier on the cops when they're trying to crack down on crime. Perhaps The Sims should develop their own version of Craigslist for these types of want ads.

You don't need an MD to be a surgeon

Another aspect of the bizarre job market in The Sims that a child might not have noticed was the way in which your Sim gains skills. While reading books help you learn, obviously, there's only so much a bookshelf in your home can teach you. More difficult skills require professional training from a teacher or expert in the field, not to mention the fact that a certificate from a well-respected institution is also usually required.

Luckily, if you're a Sim, this isn't the case. Not only do you not need an MD to become a surgeon in this game, but all you need to do is read a few books and get a few promotions. The logic seems sound if you remember that in the science career path, you can start off as a test subject and end up as a mad scientist, rolling in dough. Real life would be so much easier if you could read a few books and then suddenly perform surgery and earn the big simoleons. If only we could translate The Sims into real life.

The Sims teaches great social skills, like tickling someone you've just met as a way of introducing yourself

The social aspect of The Sims is one of the biggest parts of the game. Your Sim needs social interaction or else the aforementioned Social Bunny will come to pester them, making them look less-than-stable. Some Sims thrive on social interaction and become very depressed if you isolate them for too long. While a lot of the social interaction options in The Sims are what you'd expect from a real-life interaction, others are a bit stranger.

If a player were to learn their social skills as a child from playing The Sims, they might begin to think that it was perfectly normal for them to walk up to a stranger they'd just met and tickle them by way of greeting. Maybe on the playground, that makes sense (or then again, maybe not). But in the grown-up world, that would probably earn you a slap in the face, if not a trip to a jail cell.

If you're short on cash and need some food, just rip up a few floorboards and sell them

Trying to play The Sims without using the oh-so-tempting Motherlode cheat code is difficult. Though it's the way the game was originally intended to be played, most players don't feel bad at all about typing in that well-known code a few times in order to give their characters unlimited money. After all, why would the developers bother to keep it in the game for 18 years if they didn't want players using it?

For those rare players who refrain from using cheat codes to grease the pockets of their Sims, finances can get a bit strained at times. If your character isn't able to lock down a solid well-paying job, it's only a matter of time before the money runs out and the bills start piling up. This is also usually accompanied by an empty belly and an angry Sim. But never fear, if your Sim is dying for some food, you can just go into build mode and sell part of your flooring or a few walls in order to get the money you need for sustenance, just like real life!

When you propose to someone, you're married on the spot

The social oddities never seem to cease in a game as popular and diverse as The Sims. Between stealing people's spouses without remorse, and tickling complete strangers in order to introduce yourself, it's clear that while The Sims is a social game, it's not exactly catering to normal social interactions.

This, however, can be a bit of a relief to any woman who has ever tried to plan a wedding in the real world. In The Sims, you don't have to worry about picking colors or finding bridesmaid dresses that look good on all of your friends. There's no feuding wedding planners or dress fittings. Instead of worrying about these small details, all you need to do is propose to your love interest. As soon as the question is popped and accepted, the wedding happens immediately; no big ceremony required. Apparently your Sim had their ideal wedding dress in their back pocket, just in case the opportunity ever presented itself.

Talking to yourself in a mirror can help build your social skills

In real life, social skills are learned through interacting with others. Whether that be in person or online, mastering the ebbs and flows of organic conversation is a two-way street. In The Sims, however, this doesn't seem to be the case. Any Sim who needs to level up their social skills in a big way can simply talk to themselves in a mirror to learn how to interact with others. Nevermind that the "others" aren't actually present for this life lesson.

Many ideas seem good when we're young. When using logic without social experience to back it up, talking to oneself in a mirror may seem perfectly reasonable. The practice involves talking, being mindful of facial expressions, and getting comfortable with yourself. However, take away the logic of childhood and add in some real-world experience and suddenly, you realize why this theory doesn't quite work out as you might have intended. After all, the whole point of the exercise was to get more comfortable interacting with another human, or in this case, another Sim. This may be difficult to do when no other Sim is actually present. It was a nice thought, though.