The Sims 4 Rags To Riches Makes Sense Of The Grind

The Sims 4 went free earlier this month, and recently The Sims 5, uh I mean, Project Rene, was announced. I’ve always had a very turbulent relationship with The Sims. Starting with Sims 2: Castaway on PS2 – still one of my favorite games of all time – and working up to 3 and 4, I’ll play hard for a week, then quit playing for a year. It was good when I just logged into my then girlfriend’s Origin account and had a DIY, but I want to enjoy The Sims 5 as new packs come out which means I have to learn to love this game long term. Luckily for me, The Sims community has had an insane number of challenges, so I started with one of the most popular: Rags to Riches.

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The idea is simple. Start with a Sim in a vacant lot and – without doing regular work – earn a decent wage and build yourself the house of your dreams. On PC it’s as simple as zeroing your funds and cracking, but on console you have to buy something, enter live mode, enter the build again and buy, sell cheaper, rinse and repeat . That’s if you want to keep getting trophies and achievements anyway. You can cheat, it just disables them.

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I started a podcast and jumped on it, and before I knew it, I had absolutely nothing but the clothes on my Sims’ backs and a positive attitude. I went with four Sims because a) it’s my game and I can do whatever I want, and b) I just thought it would be fun to make me and my friends survive in the desert .

The first days were difficult. We made money by selling fruits harvested from wild bushes and fish caught in the river behind our land. Rock samples were analyzed, fossils were donated and precious metals were recovered. There wasn’t enough money for a bed, but there were plenty of benches nearby, so I opted for a toilet. It wasn’t in a room, so my Sims were just shitting in full view of the street. We also had to cook on the grill in the park a few steps away.

By the end of the first week, I had a decent farmhouse, a bed my Sims took turns sleeping in, and a shower. Still no walls or oven, but I really had to prioritize what was essential for my Sims. Turns out, you can pretty much live under the stars as long as you don’t have the changing seasons DLC and the weather stays the same all year round. Like Frank in Always Sunny, I relished life in the dirt, going through any means necessary.

The second week is when things really took off. I found out that homegrown vegetables sell for an absolute boatload of simoleons. Collecting was off the table, damn those worthless pebbles. Now my Sims were a well-oiled machine. Two were fishing for me to turn the slippery creatures into fertilizer while the other two were tending to the garden. Most of my land consisted of chaotic rows of plants, just waiting to be picked for market.

Week three was my first major transport. I bought two bunk beds and built a very basic house. There were two rooms, the bedroom/kitchen and the toilet. Fortunately, I was in a position where I could start thinking long term. The garden was very profitable, but I didn’t want my Sims doing backbreaking manual labor for the rest of their lives. I bought a cheap computer, a desk, and a chair so I could turn a Sim into a writer. Royalties are passive income baby, and I wanted them to be able to enjoy their twilight years without having to lift a finger.

The following weeks and months unfolded in much the same way. My Sims wrote a few books, sold a load of vegetables, foraged and planted more, putting together different species as their gardening skills increased. The house is growing. First a fully equipped bungalow, then a two-storey house with four en-suite bedrooms, a games room, a living room, a dining room and an office space. There was even enough money to build a gymnasium.

Once I set up sprinklers and acquired gardening, fishing, and writing skills at level ten, the challenge was pretty much over. The plants were all of the highest quality, so the vegetables sold for silly amounts. The royalty checks were huge and came in every day due to the sheer volume of books my Sims had produced, and the fish were large and rare enough that they could be hung as decorations or sold for big profits.

The house was perfect too. I left the desert to settle in the suburbs to recreate my own apartment, but with some additional advantages. The garden has been streamlined so I can build an outdoor entertaining area for my Sims with lovely natural features. My Sims had. They only needed to garden a few hours a day because all the plants were so rare and of such good quality that I barely needed to sell any to pay my bills, and the writing royalties were so high that I could buy anything my Sims needed. I could have opted for an even bigger house, but I just wanted to recreate my own. The challenge was over.

There’s something very bittersweet about completing a Sims Challenge Race. With a clear end goal in mind, every moment was engaging as I could map out the different milestones I needed to achieve: four beds, a good kitchen, a sprinkler system. I could have continued playing, of course, but it would have been like before. I would have had fun for a week, then quit playing for a year. So it’s time to say goodbye to the boys and move on to the next challenge. I hate to see my Sims die, so trying the next 100 babies challenge might be a good way for me to overcome my fear of the circle of life.

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