I’ve been returning to game concepts from The Sims recently for various reasons. The Sims 2 presents a close look at how generational characters interact with one another and develop unique talents, skills, and abilities. It also presents differing character personalities, aspirations, and goals in a friendly way.

It also has loads of flaws to analyze now that it’s nearly ten years old.

Cookiemonger and I recently began Legacy challenges in The Sims 3 and The Sims 2, respectively. We’ve discussed several times the differences and changes between the two editions of the game. Sims spend different amounts of time in the “life stages,” particularly the “Young Adult” stage, unique to University and The Sims 3.

Sims do not grow and develop like humans. If you count each day of a Sim’s life as being about equal to a year, your typical Sim lives between seventy and ninety years. That sounds about right until you consider that means Sims are pregnant for three years, infants for three years, then toddlers for four to seven years.

At this point, Sims are between the ages of seven and ten and entering the “child” stage, which lasts about eight years on average, and they begin the “teen” life stage at fifteen to eighteen, where they remain for the next fourteen years. They’re thirty by the time they become adults (or Young Adults in The Sims 3).

That’s the first time their life stages start to look sane.

I understand this is one of those “acceptable breaks from reality” intended to ensure a certain amount of balanced gameplay. Part of the allure of The Sims series is that you can raise a generation of happy and successful (or downtrodden and misanthropic) almost-but-not-quite people after only a few hours of gameplay.

Suggested Life Stages:

(pregnancy) 1 day / year
infant … 1 day / year (0-1)
toddler … 2 days / years (2-3)
child … 7 days / years (4-10)
teen … 7 days / years (11-17)
y. adult … 7 days / years (18-24)
adult … 14 days / years (25-38)
m. adult … 14 days / years (33-52)
elder … 14 days / years (52-66)
venerable … 7~14 days / years (73+)

Humans in this day and age continue to grow and develop for the first twenty to thirty years of their lives, at least. That means parts of their brains are still growing in, their general preferences for food, hobbies, and interests are developing, and their expectations for the kinds of things the world provides are developing.

They’re most impressionable during the first half of that period. (Ages 0-15.)

Of course, players who want to get the most out of those early years, when babies and toddlers are at their most adorable, will probably feel disappointment at having the time period cut short. My first suggestions is lengthening all Sims’ lives proportionally. The second is based on real life — you can always have more babies.