I'm surprised the new Sims 4 character creator didn't exist sooner. Hitting the randomize button when making a new sim is always fun, but we've always had to go through the (sometimes agonizing) task of picking their traits and aspirations. The Sims 4 can now do the hard work for us. Answer a few questions, and it will figure out what kind of sim to generate. And maybe this is down to how I answered those questions, but it generated some of the most hilariously depressing sims I've ever seen. I've been having a fantastic time playing with them.
Once you answer a few questions in the sim creation process, The Sims 4 will automatically pick an aspiration, personality traits, a job (or lack thereof), two skill sets, and some Simoleons. You generally start out with 20,000 Simoleons, unless the story mode gives you more money. That happened with the unemployed, aspiring public enemy it created for me. That guy started with 30,000. (Of course the unemployed guy whose life goal is to be hated by other sims starts off with more money.)
Answer some questions a certain way and the sim-maker will create an occult sim based on your response: an alien, vampire, or mermaid.
After going through the create-a-sim a few times, it starts to become apparent which questions give you certain aspirations and personality traits, like this one:
Question: I see trash all over the beach, what do I do?
Answer: Nothing, it reminds me of home.
Slob trait added.
The first character The Sims 4 made for me tapped into memories I thought I had long suppressed. Memories of overhearing my family's whispered conversations about my college major and how I'd end up living in someone's basement closet eating leftover ramen from public park trash cans if I pursued it as a career. I wanted to—gasp—be a writer.
And what kind of sim did the game generate for me? A sim who wants to be fabulously wealthy while working on a freelancer writer's salary. I snorted at my screen and heard my mother's voice come out of my mouth when I said, "Yeah, good luck with that."
But hey, this is The Sims, where being fabulously wealthy on a writer's salary is 100 percent possible because of a little thing called diverse income.
I moved my sim into a tiny house on Mua Pel'am right at the base of a volcano, even though the bathroom was just a fancier version of an outhouse. Even though I had to sell some of my furniture to buy a computer. Even though there was the risk of the volcano exploding and setting my house on fire. You're not a real writer unless your life causes you pain in some way.
A few things quickly became apparent after moving in: Because my sim was a freelance writer, they started with a writing skill of three; they didn't make enough money from their career, so I had them plant pineapple trees, coconut trees, and other plants in their backyard to diversify their income. My neighbors would come over and tend to my garden without asking. The volcano erupted on a near-daily basis and dropped multiple molten rocks near my house that I could mine for gems and crystals to sell.
If I hadn't locked my neighbors out of my house, they would have been able to put out a fire in my kitchen that started from one of those molten rocks.
After about a month of hard work (in Sims time), I was able to get a promotion to regular contributor and save up enough money to buy a queen sized bed and a metal folding chair to go with my cheap kitchen table (which also increased my household bills). I'm also now an adept enough writer to start writing non-fiction books and sell my work directly to a publisher for what probably amounts to 0.000002 percent royalties. I've forgone any kind of social or romantic life to just to get my money reserve up to 10,000 Simoleons—and half of that came from selling the stuff I grew in my backyard.
I'll eventually get my sim to the ultimate Fabulously Wealthy milestone, which is to have a total of $250,000 Simoleons. They'll be proof that a freelancer writer can get rich, so long as they only spend a little of their time writing, pick up constant odd jobs, rely on the kindness of neighbors, and live in the shadow of a dangerous volcano.
If I want to get there as fast as possible, I have to plant more coconut trees, hope the volcano spits out more molten rocks, and I can never move to a different house, and I can't upgrade anything in the house, ever.
Or maybe I'll just focus on playing that unemployed mean guy. He seems to be having fun all the time.