The Sims 4’s Biggest American Culture Shocks For International Fans
The Sims 4 is one of the most popular simulation games of all time, enjoying great success all over the world. Throughout its core game content and that offered with the many The Sims 4 Expansion packs and other DLC available for the game, some elements have confused some of the title’s 36 million players. Although the game makes efforts to include other cultures, the series is largely American-centric and contains a lot of things not really found in other countries.
The Sims The series is about players making the kind of life they want for their Sims, and that often includes wanting to see themselves in the game. The Sims 4 has made strides in terms of the representation of gender and sexuality in the game, the same can’t really be said for the representation of cultures outside of America. A few minor inclusions, such as international traditions in the Sims 4 My Wedding Stories DLC Pack, have been created recently, but the overall representation of the game still focuses mainly on America.
For sims players outside of America, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish whether in-game elements are a real thing in America, or just a silly detail included by the sims crew. After all, a handful of things like in-game recipes and social mechanics are purely sims goofy, like Goopy Carbonara and the societal obsession with llamas. Here are some of the biggest things the Simmers shared on Reddit that they were shocked to learn were just American, rather than a joke.
Non-US Sims Players Were Baffled by Almost Everything in the College EP
Since The Sims 2each iteration of the series has had some sort of college-themed DLC that each contains many of the same elements, the most recent being The Sims 4 Discover University Expansion pack. Reddit user rosemarysims shared their confusion over the concept of a school mascot, stating that they thought the mascot was right”a weirdo who liked to dress up as a llama [sic]. “Dorms were another strange concept, with the user Flower_Cowboy mentioning that they “couldn’t understand college expansion dormsand asked why students shared boring bedrooms and bathrooms and didn’t cook their own meals. purpledragons also referred to the size of the campus in the EPs, commenting that “most universities here don’t even have campuses, and those that do aren’t anything special.”
Some Sims staple foods don’t translate well
Cooking is one of the main skills to level up within The Sims, and one of the first recipes Sims will learn to cook as they master is grilled cheese. The recipe is one of the most prolific in the series due to the hidden suction of grilled cheese that can be found in The Sims 2 and The Sims 4, which focuses entirely on Sims consuming and talking to others about the sandwich. However, the literal translation of food into other languages has not always made matters clear. User Flower_Cowboy also pointed out that the sandwich “was called ‘Grillkäse’ in German, literally a cheese you would put on the grill rather than a sandwich“, adding that if such a cheese exists, it”seemed so random for a beginner level kitchen, and they didn’t even use a grill.”
The Sims’ high school lore is largely uniquely American
The latest expansion pack, Sims 4 years high school, brought new depth to the teenage lifespan with the addition of an active high school. This included things like a locker-laden high school field, extracurricular activities like the cheerleader and chess club, and the incredibly important prom. While these elements resonate deeply with American college students, the same cannot be said for other Simmers.
Many The Sims 4 players had a very different teenage experience in other parts of the world. Reddit user a_little_cookie compared the DLC with their own high school experience of “No ball. No cheerleading. No chess club (in my schools). No lunch in the cafeteria. No lockers.“It means proposals in The Sims 4it is High school years was also probably unknown. Another Redditor, Marcowsciadded that where they live, “lockers are something that only certain students get if they want them, they are not “personalized” [sic] and are super small + they are not in the hallways or of no importance at school“, adding that although there is an event somewhat similar to a prom, “the whole atmosphere is different.”
Sims Multi-Purpose Mailboxes Don’t Exist Everywhere
The mailbox in The Sims The series has always been a versatile tool for gamers, just as it has been for real-life Americans. Just like those in the US can send mail from their own mailbox, Sims can pay bills through their mailbox and do things like ship clothes sold on the Trendi app as part of the High school years EP and knitting projects sold on Plopsy with the Sims 4 Clever Knitting Tricks Pack. The creator of the Reddit thread, smurfjojjo123included mailboxes in their initial post,”specifically that you send your mail from your own mailbox“, followed by “I’m still not on this one [to be honest]Many other people in the thread echoed their view, with the user rosie_cooper_286 adding that “the idea of having a mailbox and not just a letter flap in the door is still weird [sic] me outside. Like, anyone could come up and take your job and you’d never know.”
The classic Sims carpool and school bus are very rare outside of the United States
Although cars do not exist in any useful form in the The Sims 4 universe, the same cannot be said of previous generations. Any veteran gamer will know the big yellow school bus that would pick up The Sims‘ the long-neglected children to go to school in the morning, and the cars arriving full of co-workers to take adult Sims to work. Although it’s not as common in the present day, back then The Sims the series began carpooling, and large yellow school buses were frequent means of transportation for many. User Marcowsci wrote, “Carpooling is something that I thought was a sims thing too! This hardly exists here, either you drive with your own car or you walk / take public transport.Similar thoughts were expressed about the yellow school bus, with the user gingerwolfie writing, “yellow school buses are so American – I used to walk to school!“
Teenagers having legal curfews in The Sims is weird for many players
One of the most popular features The The Sims 4 High school years brought back to the series was the ability for teenage Sims to sneak out of their homes at night. However, one feature is missing from the equation that was present in previous titles, and that is the presence of police-enforced teenage curfews. In The Sims 3, teenagers who were out alone after 11 p.m. could be caught and driven home by a police car, mimicking the many real-life curfew laws that exist in parts of the United States. This concept comes across as incredibly strange to many Simmers, with the user kakkapieru asking in disbelief, “someone pointed out the curfew, i remember when in sims 3 the police picked up your teenagers after 23 years and brought them home??? […] is it [for real] or sims thing?“
Clearly, although in some respects the inclusiveness of The Sims can apply to all audiences, there are many regional features that seem so strange to players that they wonder if it is complete fiction. There are a lot of things that seem like an incredibly normal part of everyday American life, like going to prom or using a mailbox to send mail from home, that seem strange to those outside the country. However, basically what The Sims The franchise embodies human nature the most, which makes it so incredibly popular with players around the world.
Source: a_little_cookie/Reddit, Flower_Cowboy/Reddit, Gingerwolfie/Reddit, kakkapieru/Reddit, Marcowsci/Reddit, Marcowsci/Reddit, rosemarysims/Reddit, rosie_cooper_286/Reddit, smurfjojjo123/Reddit, purple dragons/Reddit