My quirky quarantine habit: creating a deadly plague in The Sims

Forget knitting or baking. Trading your info to Russian hackers to get The Sims for free is the real move

ILLUSTRATION: Kitty Cheung / The Peak

By: Kyla Dowling, Staff Writer

From the 20-somethings who are knitting, baking, and essentially living out the life they’ll be living in 50 years (back pain included,) to those like my roommate who have devoted their quarantine to dressing up their childhood stuffed animals in tiaras and making them hold the Torah, no one’s isolation experience is the same. 

My quarantine habit might be a little unconventional, but at least it’s not that weird. 

Without having to account for travel time between classes, I had so much extra time on my hands. Instead of studying, I slapped open my laptop and opened a game I hadn’t played in years: The Sims.

At first, I created a small family. The father was a criminal, the mother was a computer programmer (both with a hankering for performing credit card fraud; how romantic), and they lived next to the Goth family with their two small children. The details of their day to day life had me invested for a week or so, but soon it got boring. I had to kick it up a level. When Donald Trump decided to play at God, he was assisted by the Russians. That was my next step. 

After trading all of the personal information on my computer to some Russian hackers (who were honestly pretty chill), I was given access to every single The Sims expansion pack for free. Instead of blowing $40 to go to fake Sims university and become a fake doctor, I could now blow $40 on tiaras for certain teddy bear roommates.

This time around, I played a young adult surrounded by a legion of cats. The only thing hissing louder than said cat legion was my laptop threatening to combust at any moment while I played. As my Sim grew up, got married, and had children, I bred the cats to ensure that their lineage would remain. At around the eighth generation, the youngest child was playing with a hamster when he was bitten. After a few game days, he started convulsing and foaming at the mouth, turned into a giant hamster, and died.

After the requisite two game days of morning (approximately 10 minutes in-person), I decided to experiment. Could I replicate the real world pandemic in The Sims? How good would they be at social distancing and isolating? 

I set up a few apartments and gave one of the tenants the Rabid Rodent Fever. Within a day, she sneezed on another tenant while doing laundry. That tenant passed it to their roommate. Then, the neighbours came knocking. They had baked a fruitcake. One of the infected individuals went out and greeted them. 

Within a few days, the infected individuals were dead, and the uninfected Sims were receiving phone calls informing them that their neighbours and neighbour’s neighbours had passed. I had started a plague. I had killed Eliza Pancakes. Jesus wept at what I had become. 

I closed that game and started a new file, determined to never repeat my mistakes. This time, I made two young adults who were enrolled in university and stuck them in an apartment. I left one of them to her own devices and controlled the other, ensuring she did her homework and put out her roommates’ kitchen fires. She was magnificent, and only had a slight fear of hamsters. A being of my own creation. A blue-haired university student/journalist, living in the city, getting As in all her courses. The best version of myself.