Unlike the stressful and glitchy gameplay during Kiki’s toddler years, the gameplay during her childhood years felt fun, focused, and successful. The only point of gameplay stress was managing Ira’s university tasks–but we figured it out and fell into a pattern that worked.
I tried the skilling hack that JordanNicoleJJ and I discovered during legacy-play back in 2015, where mental skill is developed through the arithmetic game and creative through Keyboard commander, but the glitch that allowed for rapid simul-skilling has been fixed, so the hack no longer works.
Nonetheless, Kiki knocked out all the childhood skills well before it was time for her to age-up, and she managed to complete all the childhood aspirations, too, and she still had time to play, draw, and ponder mortality and eternity.
Man, I love kids in The Sims 4.
When she comes downstairs one morning in the bear suit she wore for a school play, Ira and Case don’t mind. They don’t even ask her about it.
Her voice sounds muffled and echoing when she speaks from deep within the suit, so Case needs to focus extra hard to make out what she says. Ira just figures Kiki will repeat herself or speak a little louder when they don’t hear her.
“Bears are solitary animals, right?” Kiki asks. “I mean, they like to be alone best?”
“Bear cubs like to play with each other,” Ira says, “wrestling and such. And they like to hang out with the Mama bear.”
“I like hanging out with grown ups,” Kiki says.
“I like hanging out with you,” Ira says.
“Bear cubs don’t really understand each other,” Kiki says. “That’s why they’re always wrestling.”
“Would you like us to invite some of our grown-up friends over more often?” Ira asks.
“Yeah!” replies Kiki. “That would be great!”
So on the weekend, Ira invites over Aadhya, the other Father Winter, and Knox. It’s just the right amount of people for the llama game, but not so many as to make it feel crowded and noisy.
“I didn’t realize you’d adopted a bear,” Aadhya says, “and one who likes fruit salad, even!”
“All bears like fruit,” Case replies.
But Kiki feels a bit awkward hiding behind the bear mask, so she braves a party dress. After all, Aadhya has changed into a party dress, too.
They all settle down at the game table, and the grown-ups take the game so seriously. Kiki tries to crack them up, grabbing her hand, as if it had a life of its own.
“No!” she says. “Mustn’t pull the stick! Must. Not. Pull. The. Stick.”
Aadhya chuckles. But the other Father Winter and Knox are deep in analysis. Which stick? Which speed to pull? Does velocity make structures more stable, or will it topple?
Knox wonders out loud, and Kiki learns about how the balance of force produces equilibrium, which then leads Aadhya to speculate on the right approach to living, and whether the secret of life might not be found in a simple game for children. But the other Father Winter says that there’s no such thing as a simple game–that all of life’s complexities and secrets can be found in any game, no matter how limited, and the more seemingly simple, the more elemental the truths.
They talk for hours, pulling out sticks, toppling the llama, making jokes, telling stories, growing somber, talking politics, sharing stories about their parents, all of whom have passed.
And after they leave, long after it’s grown dark, Kiki sits alone and lets the conversation roll in and out, like a tide, and she picks among the shells and colored bits of glass washed up on the shore. It’s an amazing thing to be a person, she thinks, and we’re all so much alike. Even those of us who are so very different, we’re really all alike.
If only the kids at school could get that.