This one’s real weird, and real dark. I debated about posting, but in the end, I can’t not talk about what happened in my Sims 4 game.
Trigger warnings: Child endangerment, suicide, postpartum depression.
Disclaimer: What happened is probably due to a combination of coincidence and game glitches. I’ll be clear about when I directed a Sim to do something, versus when something happened autonomously, without my intervention. I’ll also try to keep my own speculation to a minimum.
Ready? Let’s go.
Joaquin Le Chien is quite the doting father, or so I thought. I was delighted when he spontaneously took little Henry out to the pond in the back yard to “Dip toes in the water.” I didn’t even know that was a thing! How cute!
What a sweet moment.
Fast-forward a few days. Winter kicked off with a near-blizzard which covered their lot with a thick blanket of snow. How picturesque!
Ever since Henry arrived, Joaquin has been in a mood. Sometimes Joaquin is “Enraged” for no reason. Other times he has various flavors of sad.
On this bright, snowy morning, while Morgan was away at work, I noticed Joaquin was having an existential crisis.
“Lack of agency” is a common factor in suicide, and the phrase “what he has to do” struck me as chilling.
If I knew what was about to happen, I would have taken the time to adjust my game settings and take a proper screenshot. Instead, I snapped a quick picture with my cell phone and kept playing.
I watched as Joaquin took Henry outside. “How nice,” I thought, “Maybe they can make a snowman together.”
I was annoyed that Joaquin didn’t change into his winter clothes. Cold weather is a lethal threat to Sims who don’t take the appropriate precautions.
My irritation turned to alarm when I saw that Henry wasn’t in cold weather clothing, either. Both of them were starting to turn blue, and their breath was visible in little puffs.
Joaquin just stood there in the snow. I watched his action queue. A series of actions popped up and then auto-cancelled. It happened too quickly for me to mouse-over and see what they were.
Sims lock up like this sometimes. The best solution is to use the resetsim cheat.
As I was reaching for the console command, imagine my horror when “Dip toes in water” popped up in Joaquin’s queue and stayed there.
Joaquin stood beside the frozen pond and stared into space, thinking about putting Henry in the pond.
I clicked to cancel the “Dip toes in pond” action. It came back. I clicked to cancel it again. This time, Joaquin autonomously chose to set Henry on the ground and go back inside the house.
I was feeling real panic by this point. Baby Sims can’t freeze to death, but if they get close, the Sims version of Child Protective Services permanently removes them from your family.
Morgan wasn’t due home from work for a few more hours. If I couldn’t get Joaquin to take Henry inside, I didn’t know what I would do. I didn’t want to lose the baby, but I also have a personal policy of not “save-scumming” (where you close the game without saving).
Although it took a few tries, I was able to make Joaquin take Henry back inside. I wanted to feel relief, but I waited and kept a close eye on Joaquin until Morgan came home from work.
That evening, as Morgan was working out on the treadmill, Joaquin came in and autonomously started an argument. I don’t know what is happening, but dude is clearly going through some shit.
Is Henry safe in Joaquin’s care? Morgan is home for the next two days, but then they have to go back to work. I’m honestly not sure what I’ll do.
One possible solution arrived in the form of an interesting new seed, which I instructed Morgan to plant in the greenhouse I built with the new Greenhouse Haven kit.
So there you have it. The most alarming thing I’ve experienced in 23 years of playing the Sims franchise.
Helpful information and more resources:
- In the United States, text or call 988 to speak to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
- Adoptive parents can suffer from a version of postpartum depression.
- Postpartum psychosis is a severe but lesser-known mental health emergency which poses a serious threat. (Side note, my maternal grandmother had this. I’m genetically susceptible.)
- Looking for a therapist? Mine recommends using the “Find a Therapist” tool on the Psychology Today website. You can filter by gender, specialization, insurance, and more.