Welcome to My Sims House of Horrors

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Drugs and fire. Signs of a decent party.
Image: Electronic Arts

The Sims is a great way to create fun, unrealistic versions of everyday life—a blessing in disguise for the times we’re living in. But it has another purpose: Finding out how evil you can be to digital strangers. For this unholiest of months, I decided to create a virtual house of horrors, trying to unlock the mystery of crafting the most awful home in The Sims. The answer? Bees.

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The Sims 4 might have vampires, ghosts, and bushes you can have sex in, but it’s surprisingly lacking in horrors. The most tried-and-true method of torturing Sims—putting them in a pool and taking away the ladder—is gone. In addition, you can’t do things like build outdoor fires inside your house, making it harder to turn your homes into fiery infernos. It’s almost like they don’t want us to do it. But I’m nothing if not resourceful. I was determined to find a way to create a virtual house of horrors—not just because it’s funny, but also because haunted houses aren’t exactly a thing in 2020. I’m doing it for the troops, dammit.

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I started by taking Vladislaus Straud, a vampire lord character from the Vampire DLC, and giving him a family and home makeover. He ended up with two kids—an erratic teenage vampire named Raven and an evil ghost child named, well, Ghost Child. Then, I turned his mansion into a den of torment, making over each room to give it its own haunted house vibe. The entrance was decorated with a string of creepy statues and Grim Reaper gnomes, inviting guests to their forthcoming doom. Then there was the cemetery, the poisonous garden, and, my personal favorite: the Room of Never-Ending Christmas. After all, it is the scariest holiday.

Clockwise from top left: The Poison Garden, Ghost Child spending time in her favorite cemetery, and the Room of Never-Ending Christmas.

Clockwise from top left: The Poison Garden, Ghost Child spending time in her favorite cemetery, and the Room of Never-Ending Christmas.
Image: Electronic Arts

The stage was set, so all we needed were the victims. We invited a bunch of guests over for a “party”—including my Sim from our Star Wars family vacation. Did I feel guilty that I was going to subject my own avatar to days of torment and unhappiness? Well yeah, but also this is science. Can’t let personal feelings get in the way. After everyone arrived, that’s where the fun began.

At first, everybody seemed to having a great time. They were dancing, socializing, making burgers. Not even the fact that our two vampire hosts occasionally fed on them seemed to dampen the mood. But everything changed when all the guests simultaneously got the idea to leave. Little did they know there was no longer a front door. This is the Hotel California, baby, you can check out anytime you like…but you can never leave.

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A story in two images.
Image: Electronic Arts

The guests tried to make the best of it, for a little while. Some of them kept dancing, pretending to have a good time. But the never-ending nightmare eventually made the situation untenable. All the malicious pieces started falling into place–starting with the tried-and-true method of turning your home into a place of nightmares. That’s right, somebody died. But not just anybody: My own avatar. It only seemed fair that I would sacrifice myself for the good of the experiment. After all, it’s not a party until the Grim Reaper shows up.

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The mourning period lasted a generous three hours…but that was only the beginning. The Sims guests slowly began to starve (since I took away their only source of food) and succumbed to the filth of having no bathrooms. Then there were the bees—which I kept having Raven disturb so they’d be rightfully pissed off. The guests alternated between complaining about, well, everything, to being forced to fall asleep standing up. Eventually, it got to the point where everybody just spent all their time in the entrance hallway, clamoring to get away. The solution?

More bees.

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Always add bees.
Image: Electronic Arts

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What was interesting was that, at one point, they all accepted the bees and stayed in the hallway. Even as they were all getting stung, over and over and over again. They just didn’t move. Not even the allure of the Room of Never-Ending Christmas could tempt them anymore. It’s like the guests were resigned to their horrible, horrible fate. That’s when you know a house of horrors has done its job.

Overall, our guests stayed for three days before I let them out. I was going to wait until another one of them died, but let’s be honest—we’re in the middle of the novel coronavirus pandemic. There’s such a thing as too far, even for a house of horrors.

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What’s the moral of this story? Well, you can’t really scare Sims, at least not for long. And it takes a lot more work to make them miserable. However, if you have a dream—and a hell of a lot of bees—you can make anything happen.

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