I've never felt good about using cheat codes in The Sims

The Sims Screenshot - 1150939

The Sims games are fascinating for several reasons, and one of my favorites is that they can be quirky little case studies in human psychology.

For example, one study claims that people who play a lot of “life simulation” games tend to feel the need to control other people and have a bent toward socialism, and this is why Obama is President right now. No, I’m not making this up; you can find it all right here.

A slightly less insane theory claims that players tend to model their in-game values and personalities after their real-life behavior. You can try to extrapolate this to suggest that those who cheat on their Sim-loves are far more likely to cheat on their significant others in real life. Now, I’m not going to lie to you. I spend an obnoxious amount of my time in this game getting it on with as many other Sims as possible. It’s especially fun to introduce the Sims you’re sleeping with to each other and watch them get all huffy. I’m a terrible, terrible Sim.

The Sims Like to Kiss, It Seems

However, in real life, I have never actually cheated on a significant other. (I’ve also never actually shot a terrorist in the face or coordinated an alien attack against a military base. I don’t think I’ve ever saved the President from anything either, but I’m not 100% sure on that one.)

The thing is, the whole game seems set up to encourage cheating. Your Sims are the happiest when they have multiple partners. And when you’re trying to retain the green-ness of that glowy crystal that’s always hovering above your head, you want to make sure your Sims are constantly enjoying each other’s “company.” In fact, there is an exhaustive WikiHow that teaches you how to cheat on your spouse in The Sims without getting caught. Obviously, infidelity is an enormous part of The Sims.

The Sims seems to also encourage a different type of cheating via the ever-popular cheat codes. Just type in “motherlode” and boom, you all of a sudden have thousands of Simoleons to spend on Sim things. Your dream house is just a few keystrokes away. (Most of my Sims time was spent with The Sims 2, though the “motherlode” code works in The Sims 3 as well. It’s “rosebud” for you old school Sims fans.)

The Sims Dance Because They're Rich

I’ve used cheat codes in The Sims before. But I’ve never felt good about it. The mansion I built using cheat code money was immensely less satisfying than the two-story abode I earned by pursuing a career in being a criminal, a rock star, and a mad scientist. (Yeah, those are all legitimate career paths in The Sims. In fact, if the aforementioned theory about The Sims life mirroring real life were true, I’d have a PhD in sciencey-type stuff, an arsenal of killer guitar riffs that could summon hot babes, and a sweet black mask for burglarizing. Sigh. My real life sucks.)

One of the things I like about video games is that they reward you for skill. Sure, that skill is usually something as silly as being able to properly time the push of a button with your thumb, but it’s a skill nonetheless. By using cheat codes in The Sims, I’m robbing myself of the need to actually be skillful at navigating the elaborate spider web of life choices the game has set up for me. And for me, that takes all the fun out of it.

Sneaky Sims

This is also why I just can’t get into Creative Mode in Minecraft. Sure, you can build things way faster, but you don’t have to scavenge all those ingredients. You don’t have to dig labyrinthine mines or defoliate forests or murder squids for black dye. You just have your stuff handed to you. And that’s just not fun for me.

See, I grew up in the NES era. I cut my teeth on games like Mega Man and Battletoads, which required concentration and hand-eye coordination. You wouldn’t beat Mega Man 2 on the first try, but you’d spend every failed try learning map layouts, memorizing enemy patterns, getting better. When you finally beat the game, it felt like an accomplishment. You could slam your controller on the floor and punch your brother in the mouth because you’ve finally proven you’re better than him.

But whenever I use cheat codes to build a Presidential palace in The Sims, I just consider how I just spent the past five hours and sink into this weird state of ennui. The entire game just loses its luster for me.

Now, I'm not going to judge you if you happen to be a Sims cheater. But consider this article that claims people who cheat at video games are more likely to cheat at real-life things. It might not be completely valid, but it’s funny because it makes you look like a terrible person. So take that to the bank, you stupid cheater, you.

Okay, so I totally just judged you.

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Josh Wirtanen
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