Yesterday I got a lot more uninterrupted Sims time than I’ve had in months. I decided to get really self-indulgent with it, making not only a new family and their home, but a couple of teen-friendly hangout spots for the twins. I was all set to send the two youngsters out a bunch of wacky teen hijinks—only for them to show up at my trendy coffee bar and rec center to an absolute ghost town. To my horror, I realized my new creations were destined to be friendless dweebs, unless I did something about it.
Meet the Vasquez family. Well, meet Olive, Adriana and Ernesto; I’m sure Nestor is off somewhere being a little overachiever. By now, they’ve aged up into Young Adults and have joined the workforce. But yesterday, Adriana and Nestor were still teenagers, and for a time, they basically only hung out with each other.
I didn’t intend for their early lives to be that way. I thought that by making a couple of community lots, I’d be able to have Adriana and Nestor make their own distinct group of friends. I even gave the rec center and the coffee shop I made the “Teen Neighborhood” lot traits. Those are little markers you can give certain plots of land to determine what it’s like to live there. “Homey” makes it easier to learn gardening and cooking, “Fast Internet” makes it easier to program, and Teen Neighborhood is supposed to summon hordes of teens. So, on their first Saturday off from school, I took Nestor and Adriana to the lots I’d tricked out, expecting them to be crawling with age-appropriate potential friends.
Not a single teen showed up at the coffee shop. I sent Nestor home, but I had Adriana stay until, say, 1 a.m. No luck.
The next day, I took the whole family to the rec center, which is technically a library, but also has an art room, a pool, a small gym, and a yoga room. While Ernesto ran on the treadmill and Olive got her yoga on, I scoured the lot for the Teens. None arrived.
I knew what the problem was, but I didn’t want to admit it. I had started a new save and my save file hadn’t begun to randomly generate any families yet. The teens of the Vasquez family may have been the only teens in their entire neighborhood.
I did what any reasonable Simmer would do: I stayed up until four in the morning making three more families with distinct backstories. One of them is an eccentric family of famous artists; I cheated to give them a lot of money fast and elevate them to the highest level of fame so that they could live in a very expensive house I made. I cut even more corners with the other families I made, for the sake of speed; I did myself the favor of downloading the other two houses I was going to make off of The Gallery, which is an in-game resource for downloading other players’ houses and Sims. I had work the next day, after all.
Sometimes the real appeal of The Sims, for me, is to have complete control. I don’t have to make my Sims befriend any old teenager. I can craft a friend just for them. Why not Kaleb Coles, the self-absorbed son of the high-strung Kelly and Kacie Coles? Why not Perla Franklin, the straightlaced daughter of eccentric artist couple Devon and Terra Franklin? I even created another set of younger twins for my famous family, the De La Torres, in case any of the teens wanted to be a mentor.
I spent all that time perfecting these families for the sole purpose of getting my teenagers some friends. But once I pressed play, I realized that Adriana and Nestor had been set to age up in a day, and it was a weekend, so they wouldn’t even meet Kaleb or Perla in school before they became Young Adults. Que sera sera. Let’s hope they have an easier time making friends as Young Adults.