• December 6, 2021

8 Tips to Transform Your ‘Sims 4’ Gameplay

In the often male-dominated world of creating video game content for YouTube, The Sims franchise stands out for its popularity with women. According to a recent job listing from Electronic Arts, “The Sims 4 has an extremely unique player base, with 60 percent of our audience being women between the ages of 18-24.” Many of the most popular YouTube creators who make Sims videos, build devoted fan bases, and amass millions of views are women. Juno Birch, the self-described “alien diva in Manchester,” is one of these creators.

Birch started creating Sims YouTube videos around a month before the first coronavirus lockdown in England. With live events canceled in the foreseeable future, the transgender artist and drag performer was playing countless hours of The Sims and not feeling incredibly productive. She started uploading humorous videos featuring gameplay from The Sims, with titles like “The Sims 4 Apocalyptic Lifestyle Yes Thats Happening” and “Meet Becky the Most Stunning Cat in the Sims 4,” carving out a unique YouTube niche with a mixture of Sims gameplay, makeup tutorials, and the occasional Jennifer Coolidge impression.

Harnessing an intoxicating charisma on camera, Birch has a knack for coining catchphrases that would make the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills green with envy. “When I was little, I used to play with my sister’s dolls all the time,” Birch said. While recording for her channel, “I go back to that place where I’m on my own and putting all these crazy voices on.”

As the quintessential simulation game from my childhood, I have a personal appreciation for this franchise from Electronic Arts. (I was woo-hooing in The Sims 2 long before I participated in any sex ed class at school.) While I have regularly played The Sims 4 during the past few months, the repetitive tasks can feel monotonous at times, and I often find myself starting over with a new Sim out of boredom.

I spoke with Juno Birch about The Sims 4 and came up with a handful of tips that will transform your gameplay from dreadfully drab to absolutely iconic.

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If You Can, Play The Sims 2 Instead

Even though EA no longer sells copies of The Sims 2, the game can be purchased secondhand from online retailers or possibly dug out of a dusty box of PlayStation 2 games tucked away in your parents’ attic. If you are able to obtain a copy, Birch recommends playing an earlier version of the game. “I feel like The Sims 1, Sims 2, and Sims 3 have loads of charm, and they are very strange games,” she said. The latest Sims installment lacks some of the eccentricities, like the Social Bunny, that attracted gamers to earlier versions, and it can sometimes feel too much like everyday life for Birch’s preference. “I hate The Sims 4, but I love The Sims 2.”

While she has played The Sims 4, Birch definitely has a penchant for uploading videos of gameplay from The Sims 2; last year, she uploaded 26 videos playing The Sims 2 and only nine videos playing The Sims 4. Her first video uploaded in 2021 is titled “I’m in the Sims 3 – Let the Chaos Begin.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Cheat

More interested in building lavish houses and causing neighborhood drama than attending a day job and climbing that corporate ladder? Just cheat. It’s chill. On EA’s website for The Sims 4, there is even a page titled “How to Cheat” that begins with “Cheating is a big part of the game. Not only is it easy to access, but it’s even something we kinda, sorta, actually encourage.”

Especially when playing this fourth installment of The Sims franchise, Birch often uses the cheats to liven up the gameplay pace. “I’ve tried in the past playing as one Sim with no money and trying to work my way up to the top … It’s really fun to do that in Sims 1, 2, and 3, because things move at a much faster pace, whereas in The Sims 4 it’s dragged out really long.”

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