Even though The Sims life simulation games are 20 years old, creators Electronic Arts and Maxis are still releasing new content. Most recently 2019's Island Living expansion pack and this summer's Eco Lifestyle became available for download.
The digital sky's the limit in The Sims: You can find tons of cheat codes to enhance gameplay and give bonuses, and mods for almost everything — extra drama, more interesting personality traits, adjustable heights and more ways to customize the way your Sim looks. The right one can make for incredibly realistic gameplay, but mods involve downloading files and a lot of meticulous organization (mostly to make sure you can trace back and delete something if it causes problems in your game).
For more like this
Subscribe to the CNET Now newsletter for our editors' picks for the most important stories of the day.
Even with all of these options to let your creativity run wild in The Sims, sometimes gameplay can work itself into a boring rut. That's where challenges come in. Challenges are usually created by players and shared online to make gameplay more fun or difficult. There are rules to each challenge and some can be pretty strict, but don't forget that the point is to have fun and make the challenge your own.
Here are seven popular challenges to try on the Sims 4 to shake up your next session:
The 100 Baby challenge
The 100 Baby challenge was originally created for the Sims 2 by a player who goes by the name Amiisays and reworked for the Sims 4 by Snarky Witch, who posted the official rules on their Tumblr. There are variations to the rules (and a lot of them), but the gist of the challenge is for one young adult matriarch (though you can customize gender however you like) to have 100 children before they age up to an elder in the game.
The matriarch Sim can't have a child with the same Sim twice, and they must earn money without leaving the home (I find choosing a career as a painter or an author is most effective for this). Infants can't be aged up until you get the notification that it's their birthday, toddlers can't be aged up until they reach level 3 in all skills (or it's their birthday), and children and teens can't age up until they have an A in school. After teens age into young adults, you can move them out of the house to make room for more kids. When the matriarch Sim becomes an elder, the youngest daughter takes over the challenge. You can move the elderly matriarch out of the house when the youngest daughter has become a young adult.
You're not supposed to use cheats with this challenge, of course, but I confess when I've encountered the perfect storm of four digital screaming toddlers, I've certainly used the Shift + Click Make Happy cheat for a moment of peace. One of my favorite Let's Play videos of the 100 baby challenge is with Kelsey Impicciche from Buzzfeed Multiplayer on Youtube.
The Perfect Sim challenge
The goal of the Perfect Sim challenge is to make one Sim who is good at everything — every aspiration and skill. The official rules were posted by player ashleylainesims on Tumblr, including a backstory for your perfect Sim: Your Sims' motivation for wanting to be good at everything comes after the loss of their parents in an unknown accident.
Start a new game and make a teen Sim (they can be human or alien, and any gender customization). Set the lifespan to "long" and place them on an empty lot with 2,000 Simoleons. You'll start with the Mischief aspiration, according to the rules. There are a couple different ways to approach the challenge, and some flexibility depending on what expansion packs you have.) There are variations where you can try to max out every career as well.
The Alphabetacy challenge
In the Alphabetacy challenge, you have one founder Sim (who can be any gender and appearance, as long as they can get pregnant). Randomize their traits and aspirations, and move into a home with your starting funds. The goal of the challenge is to have 26 children, with every child's name starting with a different letter of the alphabet, in order. Also, the founder's name doesn't count.
In The Sims forums, player JayTheGingerHamster posted three versions of the rules that vary in difficulty, so the challenge can be as easy or as hard as you want. There's also a point system to guide you. Start with 50 points, add 10 points for every baby born, deduct 5 points for every new spouse per generation, etc. A generation is considered complete after you finish completing an aspiration like maxing a skill or topping a career, but you keep playing until you've got the full alphabet of children's names.
The Legacy challenge
For the legacy challenge, the goal is to play as one family for 10 generations. Create a founder and move them onto an empty lot (depending on the rules you read, there are specifics about lot size.) With only the starting funds left over after purchasing the lot, your founder must build a house, acquire wealth and pass it onto a second generation, and so on.
Sometimes the most fun part of the game is making over a Sim and designing their houses. There are a number of building challenges you can try out:
- Solid color build challenge: Use one color per build.
- Expansion pack challenge: Design every room with a different expansion pack.
- Seasonal townhouse challenge: Design each home with a different season theme, if you have The Sims 4 Seasons pack.
- 10K starter house challenge: Build a starter house top to bottom with only 10,000 Simoleons.
- Fixer-upper house challenge: A renovation challenge where you can either make over a house already on a lot or upload a house from the gallery to "fix." You can put as many or as few restrictions on yourself as you like (sometimes it's fun just to make the house over without a budget). This is one of my favorite challenges.
- Dollhouse challenge: Build a house with a fancy front and an open back (like a traditional dollhouse).
Disney Princess challenge
This is another challenge that will take you quite a bit of time, as you match up Disney Princess Sims with certain goals and aspirations based on their movies. The gameplay is spread out over 10 generations of Disney princesses — Snow White, Cinderella, Tiana, Aurora, Anna, Rapunzel, Belle, Mulan, Jasmine and Merida. There are also options to add with Pocahontas, Elsa and Moana.
Each princess has her own set of rules and aspirations to fulfill. For example, Snow White must have seven children, Tiana has to own her own restaurant (if you have the Dine Out pack), Aurora has to have the Lazy trait, Merida never gets married and is self-assured, and so on. There's a lot of rules to this challenge and you can read the full list on the Sims Forums.
Living Off the Grid challenge
Previous challenges required Sims to live off the land, but the Island Living expansion pack includes more items specifically designed to work without electricity — perfect for the Living Off the Grid challenge.
According to a basic set of rules from player Kiwi84 in the Sims forums, you create a founder Sim with a nature aspiration (after they achieve this, you can make it any aspiration). Kiwi84's rules said to build a tiny house. If you don't have the Tiny Living expansion pack, you could move your Sim onto an empty lot and build as small as you want from scratch. I also set one of my lot's traits as Off the Grid in Build Mode. Search "off the grid" in build mode to find compatible appliances as well.
Your Sim can only have a single bed (until they get married). Once they get married, you must have three kids. Buy a woodworking bench to make money (no painting, no writing). There's also lots of gardening to be done, so place a few plant beds down — you'll be selling and eating off of these.
You can also read a far more in-depth list of rules from Snarky Witch on Sims Community or from Flonne Rembert Gaming.
More on gaming
- Sims 4 cheats: Full updated list of codes, from rosebud to motherlode
- Apple Arcade: The full list of games for iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV
- How to play Crucible, the free PC game from Amazon that just dropped
Comments Video Games Electronic Arts (EA) Apple Notification on Notification off Gaming