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Romance is dead thanks to The Sims 4's 100 baby challenge

(Image credit: EA)

Woohoo has become a chore. There, I've said it. I don't mean in the, "oh, wouldn't it be fun to reignite the spark in our marriage; I just wish we weren't so busy" kind of way, either. Although I do also have my hands kinda full: I've decided to shake things up in The Sims 4 by taking on the 100 babies challenge.

The objective here is simple: you have to successfully birth and raise 100 children. As quickly as possible. You start with one female, young adult Sim and get down to business—both literally and euphemistically. Each of your offspring must have a different father, who is essentially used as a sperm donor. That's right: no child support, shared custody or healthy co-parenting allowed here.

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Toddlers can be aged up once they're reached level 3 in all of their skills, and children and teens once they've achieved an A grade at school—so leaving minors to their own devices slows things down more than making the effort to be a hands-on parent.

To add an extra complicating dimension, teens are the only ones allowed to hold down a job. Your current 'matriarch' (once she becomes an elder, the dubious honour falls to her youngest daughter, and so on) can basically only leave the house to seek out new gentleman callers. As such, her ways of earning the almighty dollar are strictly limited to home-based hustles like painting and gardening.

The challenge does allow the matriarch to have a boyfriend, so long as he never moves in, nor helps out at all around the house. At which point, frankly, he's only good for one thing—which, as we've already established, has become more onerous than orgasmic. Digital hanky-panky is reduced to a regular, tiresome item to check off of a virtual to-do list.

Life with the Centum family (Latin for '100'; yes, I did have to Google it) is essentially chaos. Matriarch Zara has so far spawned 10 kids: Alice, Beatrice, Chelsea, Daniel, Ethan, George, Felicity, Harriet, Ingrid and Jessica. Are you sensing the trend here? If nothing else, keeping them alphabetical means it's easier to keep track. It also entertains me greatly. I've only got to cycle from A-to-Z 3.85 times over—good thing there are so many names beginning with X, right?

"I've got some big news for you—we're having a baby! You can leave now." 

"I've got some big news for you—we're having a baby! You can leave now."  (Image credit: EA)

The younger members of the family may be near-feral, but there is one routine Zara has finely honed: catching her man (or rather men, plural). My hopes for her were high when the neighbourhood welcome committee showed up on the doorstep of Bargain Bend during move-in day. She'd managed to charm, bed and get impregnated by Travis Scott before the other townies had even managed to tear themselves away from their fruitcake. What can I say? Girl's got game.

She can't really afford to be picky, so anyone with a Y chromosome will suffice.

A pickup artist could hardly be more ruthless or efficient: Zara's modus operandi is to head to a community lot and strike up a conversation with the nearest unacquainted gent. She can't really afford to be picky, so anyone with a Y chromosome will suffice. Throw a query about whether or not they're single in there nice and early, because while it's certainly not impossible to seduce a married man, those pesky vows seem to mean success is far more labour-intensive. Who'd have thought?

Notch the friendship-o-meter up to a third or so, and then go in hard on the flirtation. Get the first kiss out of the way in public, then invite them back for a coffee. Once the deed is done, head straight to the bathroom for a pregnancy test while he enjoys a post-coital nap (in case he's needed for an immediate re-do) and, once those two blue lines show up, ask him to leave. Do not promise to call him. It's a bit like being a praying mantis, only less murderous. Heaven knows that nobody has time to clear up the bloodstains, not with seven kids rampaging about the place.

When parenting a large family, do make sure you take some time out for yourself.

When parenting a large family, do make sure you take some time out for yourself. (Image credit: EA)

Since Zara racked up enough satisfaction points to purchase the 'beguile' interaction—and given her 'big happy family' aspiration, it didn't take long—things are even easier. She can give a dude the horn with a single flutter of the eyelashes. It's like taking candy from a baby, if the candy were a baby and the baby were a potential father. The hardest part is finding a guy in the bar who hasn't already sired a Centum.

Given that the overall aim of the challenge is to rack up 100 sprogs within as few generations of matriarch as possible, time is of the essence. The most effective way to go about things is to get your next baby daddy in the frame during one pregnancy, so that you can hop right back on it (ahem) for the next as soon as the infant is snoozing in its bassinet. This does not, however, allow any time for sleep, earning enough cash to keep your ever-growing brood fed or, y'know, nurturing the tiny terrors you've already got running around. Even allowing poor Zara a few days' recovery between gestations makes for an utterly brutal schedule. Is it any wonder she has to lie back and think of England? I can't even recall the last time she had an uninterrupted night's sleep.

Oh, and did I mention the spreadsheet? Yep, I've got a real-life Excel document on the go, keeping careful track of each child's birth order and parentage. You can't be too careful with these things. I'm already about 25 hours deep here: I'd hate to go to all the trouble of conceiving, cooking up and caring for a rugrat only for them not to count towards the tally because their daddy is a long-forgotten old flame. When you've got this level of admin going on behind the scenes of your sex life, you know the spark really has gone.

Read the second part of this diary here.