Cheating in the Sims 2

by Darius Kazemi on June 1, 2005

in Uncategorized

Waaay back a few weeks ago, my friend Jo, who is a massive Sims addict, pointed me to a bunch of interesting posts on the official Sims message boards. I’m going to share some of the gems that I dug up.

The topic of the conversation on the board was that of cheating. In case you didn’t know, cheating is a really complex topic in game studies, since everyone has their own conception of what cheating is. When it is and isn’t okay to cheat is a different boundary for lots of people. Some folks think all cheating is wrong. Some people justify it in certain extenuating circumstances, and some folks argue, “It’s just a game–I’ll cheat all I want!” Is reading a FAQ cheating? Is quicksaving every three seconds cheating? And then there’s the whole issue of preserving the sanctity of Huizinga’s “magic circle”, etc., etc.

Here’s a few interesting posts and my take on them.

Whether I use the money cheat or not just depends upon the storyline I am creating. If I want to create a family on my wealthy side of town, then motherlode x2-20+ it is. I typically use kaching 1 or 2 times when creating any family that is larger than 2 members simply because 20,000 simoleons is really stretching a budget for 4+ sims.

There’s also a lot of good satisfaction from created a “self made man” type sim. My very first sim (who also has my real life name) started with no friends, a low paying job, and little beneficial items. Now he is the chief of staff, has a wife, and two children. [original post by Ermac1985]

Clarifying some terms: motherlode and kaching are both money cheats. I just thought this player’s wish to create a “self made man” was sort of interesting–it appears that the player has a lot of different families that he uses cheats with and then one non-cheating family that retains the Horatio Alger aspect of the game.

I actually had to quit playing for a couple weeks because the money cheats made it so boring. Now that I’m getting back into it and not using money cheats, I’m really enjoying the game again. I still use boolProp to check gender preference, but that’s about it. And the only reason I do that is because once I learned you could check that I started feeling guilty getting my Sims into same sex relationships and finding out they aren’t in to that. Now I check first and shake my head every time at how much I’ve let the little people get to me! [original post by katonahtr2, emphasis mine]

Wow. So, boolProp is a cheat that lets you read the internal properties of elements in the Sims. While in normal gameplay terms, Sims don’t really come with a preset gender preference, somebody actually used cheats to figure out that every Sim does in fact come with a preference. Then they used this illicitly mined data to infer more information about the game state, causing them to feel an emotion (guilt) that they would not have otherwise. This is cheating as a way to learn more about the gameworld–I remember doing the same with my Game Genie and Super Mario Brothers 3.

Brief tangent: in 1991, Nintendo actually believed that the Game Genie harmed their business by reducing the long-term value of its games. Meanwhile, I can’t think of a single piece of technology that got me to spend more time playing games than my Game Genie. That thing was amazing–I’d spend hours and hours playing with different combinations of cheats, effectively becoming my own game designer, albeit with limited control over my design space.

I used to use money cheats too…but, once you get their creativity up to max, you don’t need to…you can sell paintings and novels for lots of simoleons…so much more fun…and yeah, I do use boolprop too much myself, cause you have to have full energy to do all those paintings and novels…lol [original post by pisceschick75]

I think it’s fascinating how this player really wants to have a Sim who is an artist and lives that way. The game won’t let the player do that easily (believe me, I’ve tried!), so the player cheats. But cheating is okay, because it’s pretty much the game’s fault that a Sim can’t really be an artist. This is as opposed to my experience with the game. I have attempted to create a Sim who is an artist , failed, and I got really pissed off about it! If only I bothered to cheat, I could get around what this player perceives to be a design flaw.

I cheated all the time…boolprop, motherlode, kaching (before motherlode), moveobjects, you name it! Then I started the legacy challenge and it was so great! My sims had twins and I thought there was no way to make it w/out cheating, but I did, and the twins are now adults, so I guess it is possible. I love getting to redecorate or add on to the house when they get enough money. I jsut saved up and completely redid their house (it is a new generation, so a new house was in order). I agree that it is much more satisfying. Weird, huh? I do reserve the right to cheat with other families, still. Mostly for story purposes. [original post by castephens1006]

The Legacy Challenge was a contest proposed on the Sims 2 boards back in October 2004 (rules of the challenge here). This was an incredibly popular challenge that basically involved starting with one Sim and seeing how strong you can make a family from that Sim within 10 generations. Some folks even blogged their experience. Of course, there was no cheating allowed. Evidently the challenge showed this player that playing without cheats can be rewarding.

Also interesting is that this reformed cheater still cheats for story purposes–she/he wants to create stories to upload, presumably, and treats the cheats more as modding tools than anything else. This makes The Sims 2 seem almost like Garry’s Mod for Half-Life 2.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on some interesting tidbits on cheating that I picked up from the Sims 2 message boards. Feel free to share your stories about cheating.

{ 1 comment }

solipsistnation June 2, 2005 at 12:12 am

I think of my own cheat-free gameplay as a matter of pride, at least the first time (or times) through a game. With some games, I try to master its own internal rules to the point where I can manipulate the environment, or push my way outside the perimeter of the game world. For example, I was playing through parts of Thief II a couple of months ago and I found places I could get outside the world or even get myself stuck in places that I shouldn’t have been able to get to. This was, of course, after defeating every single guard or other enemy in the level, so I could run around at top speed and jump on things and carry boxes and so on. I wouldn’t cheat, though– I’m not sure if there even are cheat codes, except for a “finish level now” key combination.

But as far as my own play, well, I’d rather find ways to beat the game myself. I know people who are exactly the opposite, though– another friend of mine will buy a game and immediately figure out how to get into God Mode so he can just play through and see the story and so on.

Exploring the insides of games from the outside, though? I don’t think I’ve played many games that I was interested in enough to try things like that, except perhaps… No, I can’t think of any off the top of my head. (Well, the Neuromancer video game on the C-64, a million years ago…)

I think I approach games a little differently, though– I tend to find working within the guidelines and mastering the application of the games’ rules to be an interesting challenge in itself. It’s only when those rules appear to be misdesigned that I’ll use cheat codes or whatever, and then, as often as not, I discover that I’m actually approaching the problem the wrong way– for example, in Far Cry, when you get to the top of the carrier on the way to capture and escape on a rubber raft, you can either shoot your way through dozens of guys and a helicopter at the end of a serious ammo drought and without any healing or anything in sight (requiring you to shoot probably 15 guys without taking any damage), or, I discovered later, you can just run off the edge, land in the water, swim around the carrier and shoot the chains and drop the rubber raft into the water next to you.

I dunno. Maybe if I spent more time dissecting games…

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