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Sims 3 and Religion: The Answer that Isn’t

June 23rd, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 43 Comments · Electronic Arts, Maxis, Religion

Give Tom Chick credit. He’s not afraid to ask the obvious question that puts people on the spot.

Okay, well let me ask you about another tricky issue. Something that I think is conspicuously absent from The Sims is something very important in many people’s day-to-day lives. That’s religion. How come the Sims has never incorporated that?

Now MJ Chun is no knucklehead. The best response is to stall for a bit, resisting the implication that The Sims is inherently materialistic. She sticks to the mantra that The Sims is, in fact, about making people comfortable with the stories they can tell. Religion, she suggests, is akin to clothing. Why penalize or reward people for specific accessories if they don’t match up with what the player wants to tell?

For us, because it’s such a storytelling game, one of the things we don’t want to do is make judgments. The danger of making a game that is international, that crosses so many ages, is that tagging clothing a particular way is a slippery slope in terms of making judgments. If you give the long flowing dress a moodlet because you’re more attractive, then somebody would wonder “Why not the pantsuit?” It limits players’ storytelling ability. I think it’s the same deal with religion. It’s a game for everyone. It’s like public schools. Public schools are for everyone. We don’t want to impose on anyone’s storytelling. We don’t want to make a judgment on anyone’s particular way of seeing the world. This is your game, your story. If the player decides that they’re going to tell a story of a particular sim and religion happens to be a part of it, that’s the story they’re telling. But we’re never going to insert that into their gameplay.

So, we want you to tell stories so long as those stories don’t suggest that faith is central to your self-perception. We’ll have hedonists and mad scientists. but no televangelists or quiet workers for God.

And I would be fine with that. Except for the fact they have ghosts. Another artifact of faith that may seem like fun and games for most people but, in a simulation game full of love and trust and pathos and the like, I don’t like the idea of coming face to face with the idea that my life is so important that I may never die. That my loved ones may never die. That life is, in fact, a game. I, as a Christian gamer, have to accept that ghosts exist but cannot have a spiritual outlet that rewards me for, say, being kind to the poor or donating old things or resisting the temptations of Bella Goth (or whomever this year’s Bella Goth is.) I have to accept the spiritual woo-woo nonsense – it’s built into the game.

I appreciate that religion is a messy, messy topic for game developers. And I appreciate that a one size fits all approach to religion might be worse. I am in no way advocating that religion be as constant a presence in my Sims’ lives as the broken tub is.

But don’t pretend that this is about story telling. My Sims resist me constantly. They want kids even if I know that it’s a bad financial decision at this point. They want a new computer while the Apple II equivalent is more than sufficient. They think about the hot barista when everyone knows the city councilwoman is a better choice.

In short, the stories I tell are often circumscribed by the collection of traits I choose and the early friendships my Sim makes. Some stories are just ones that EA/Maxis either do not want people to tell. Some terrible, terrible things could happen to their story telling forum if they became avenues for religious wars.

But why not add some spiritual element somewhere? Some way that certain traits lead to rewards for being a nice person – where altruism is as powerful as the selfishness that drives so much Sim behavior. The assumption that a Sim religion means a church or an exclusive club is a generational one, I fear, one that somehow skipped me in rural New Brunswick, where religion meant generosity and kindness and openness and hating gay people.

That last one has, thankfully, changed. Sometimes generational attitudes gain on your elders.

But look at the Sims trait list. No altruistic only ambitious. No kind hearted, but there is mean spirited. No generous, but there is mooch. Hopeless romantic, but no celibate. All the best virtues are lumped into one large “Friendly” category that is used to force you to make your Sim accumulate friends. The “Good” trait is the catch all for the Christian virtues we’ve been raised one. Not that the traits are everything, but they do – in general – point toward characteristics that are about gathering, collecting and self-improvement. They are a representation of how the game sees story telling.

Once again, this is a design decision that I can live with, but I would appreciate it if EA/Maxis would just be up front and say that this is not about freedom of story telling but about limiting uncomfortable story telling. Chun praises (rightfully) the endlessly linked Alice and Kevin story (Born on Quartertothree.com, mentioned in our podcast and sent to me enough times to realize that many of my friends don’t pay attention.) Part of that story’s beauty is how uncomfortable it is, how this poor girl makes us feel for and think about girls like her.

Why deprive the religious of this powerful story telling tool?

(Please keep the comments civil. I know I can trust you guys, but religion pisses people off.)

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43 Comments so far ↓

  • Morkilus

    I know Sim City Societies is a completely different kind of game, but I do miss the monks, street preachers, temperance advocates, drunks, hippies, criminals, and such in the Sims 3 towns. Too bad there’s no plan on adding such “society” extremes to the personalities. Maybe when there’s an expansion to the careers.

  • LintMan

    My guess is that adding religion to the Sims would be more than a can of worms – more like a can of poisonous snakes.

    So many different religions… Can you support them all? If not, which ones do you leave out, and how do you respond when their practicioners complain?

    If there’s any in-game benefit to religion, what do you tell the atheists who start complaining, who are more than willing to start forum wars detailing the myriad evils of religion on your site?

    Are you willing to put in the thankless effort to make the software support the countless behaviors and items particular to each religion? Kosher diet? Facing Mecca? No meat on Friday? Sacred undergarments? Sabbath Day rules? etc.

    What do you do about religions that might be ‘touchy’ about being included in a game? Wasn’t Little Big Planet recalled or something when it was discovered one of its songs had some Islamic reference in it? Leqave the religion out? This is lose-lose.

    Even if the inclusion of the religion isn’t itself offensive, your in-game representation of it might be – possibily to one sect or branch but not others – how do you prevent that?

    What if people use their sims to create blasphemous or offensive scenes or even hate propaganda using the religious iconography you place in the game? Headline: “Sims 3 gamers place Koran in toilet!” Headline: “Sims 3 gamers place Jewish sims in ‘Sim Auschwitz’!” . Talk about PR nightmares.

    I just can’t see how this would be feasible, unless they were to strip all aspects of religion down to some vague notion of “spirituality”. And possibly even then you still might offend people – those that this is too wimpy for (or whose own tenets don’t match well), and those that want no mention at all of religion.

    And honestly, I don’t blame Chun for trying to spin it positively instead of trying to explain all of the above.

  • steve

    I mentioned the lack of religion in my review of the original Sims. Why not a “book of faith,” or some other doo-dad that gives you some positive benefits?

  • roboczar

    I pretty much am where LintMan is. Religion is such a varied personal choice that by including it at all, you are bound to exclude someone unless you take extraordinary steps, or water it down so heavily that it ceases to have meaning to those people who would be interested in having it.

  • Neil

    A personal moral code would work (and is a great idea), but full-blown religion wouldn’t.

  • Jazmeister

    Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, in short summary, that you shouldn’t be good because it’s right to be good, but because God tells you to be good. In their interpretation of the Bible, Satan’s challenge to God is that humanity can govern itself, without divine help. By including a moral code, you’re taking part in this arguement (not on purpose – I’d love a custom religion-making expansion ["Sims of Praise!"] if only for the lovely parody that infects all Maxis fiction). Infact, The Sims already infringes on a number of moral grey areas – promuscuity, for example, isn’t what I’d call being “romantic” – however, that’s exactly how it’s termed in TS2.

    Interesting. I think most religions try to comment on life, the universe, and everything, as much as possible. The Sims does that too – it’s a worldview, where music is just inane mumbling and people can be manipulated into loving eachother. So they’re bound to overlap – how much flesh do women show in Sims games, ffs? How many moustaches are there? What if there aren’t any clothes without buttons? Can you avoid killing a single living thing, or does your sim automatically start spraying RAID at roaches?

    I say to hell with it – stick ‘em all in there. I’ve always said The Sims should simulate things like murder and miscarriages – this is the world we live in. They’re not afraid to put in old age and death, are they? Sure, you’ll get Sim Auschwitz, but then, couldn’t you also get Sim Schindler? Give a hundred people a hammer, 99 of them will break shit. One of them will start pounding in nails. roBurky, for example.

    I think if your goal is to avoid offending people, you fail. I’m already offended that you can’t build a tower all the way to heaven.

  • Sean

    I am personally glad they left religion out of the game. If they had added it in it would just be another avenue for all the nutters to go crazy and criticise the game.

    I must admit though it would be fun simulating one of those crazy evangelical churches and doing evil things to the brainwashed .. ;)

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  • Josh

    Well consider Civ IV and its implementation of religion, done in a manner upon which it was simply an element to add another strategic layer to the game.

    So yeah, perhaps the comments from EA are just a cop out, given the fact that they can put in those positive traits, without reflection on any one paticular religion. Human virtue shouldn’t be restricted to belief in religion, people don’t need a book, or be commanded from a divine being to know how to live a good life, it can be a choice.

    But alas, this is their game, and they define the boundaries of the size of the sandbox you can play in to write your story. It wasn’t until the fourth iteration of the Civilization franchise did religion come about, perhaps there is some hope for the next installment of The Sims, or some future DLC/Expansion.

  • moromete

    An expanded look at religion in the Sims based on this would have fit perfectly in the religious oriented issues of The Escapist, which I hope you have read.

  • John Hawkins

    (Please keep the comments civil. I know I can trust you guys, but religion pisses people off.)

    Of course isn’t this the real answer to Tom’s question?

  • Carl Thuringer

    “So, we want you to tell stories so long as those stories don’t suggest that faith is central to your self-perception. We’ll have hedonists and mad scientists. but no televangelists or quiet workers for God.”

    I interpreted MJ Chun’s statement to be more along the lines of the dress. They don’t want to start including explicit valuations for the percieved positive or negative effects (for you and those around you) of your sim practicing his or her religion of X.

    There is no reason you cannot have a sim in the journalism career who, according to your personal narrative, IS a televangelist.

    It’s perfectly possible to give a sim the ‘good’ trait and have him/her join the political track, host fundraising parties, donate to charity every friday afternoon, and build your own supporting narrative with supporting characters.

    You could even have that sim build a tabernacle, mosque, synagogue, chapel, etc. on his/her property and hold the gatherings in there.

    The inclusion of ghosts is an oddity, but I feel one made more for humor than spiritual commentary. Aren’t you upset about the inclusion of the grim reaper rather than a chariot of fire, light from above, or similar icon of ‘passing on’?

    I agree that more traits should have been included that oppose the existing ones. We have vegitarian, but we don’t have hedonist. I certainly wish there was ‘kind-hearted’ to oppose ‘mean-spirited.’

    It’s possible, though, that specific anti-traits were left out to avoid implying that vegetarians are people who intentionally restrict their lifestyles whereas the anti-vegetarian is one who knows no limits of excess.

    You know, this has made me think of starting a sim buddhist temple. :D

  • Jimmy Brown

    Like many people, I noticed the absence of religion in the series. I assumed it would never make an appearance. It’s gratifying to at least have the question asked by someone in a position to do so.

    I can appreciate EA’s desire to avoid making value judgments in a game that they want to be played by a lot of paying customers, but the various decisions made in the design of the game are often such judgments. For example, the trait Technophobe could have been named Luddite; the gameplay implications might be the same, but the reasons for aversion to technology are very different. In the case of the omission of religion, there is also a judgment implied. In a game dealing with happiness and prosperity, religion is unnecessary to the lives of Sims.

    Modeling religion in the game would be a bit problematic even aside from its controversy. If all the religions represented in Civ IV were included in Sims 3, the associated buildings would double the size of the town. The specifics of an invented religion could be viewed as comments on the nature of religion in general; for example, pointless, goofy rituals could be construed to say that its all just a psychological trick we play on ourselves.

    So the best I think we can expect, if anything comes of the question at all, is an expansion of the traits. Rather than a catch-all Good trait, there could be a number of traits based on the virtues espoused by most religions, such as charitable, chaste, and moderate (relative to food or possessions, not politics). Given that the Sims treats even negative traits such as Insane in a mostly lighthearted fashion, I think it would be defensible to exclude the sometime negative traits of a particular religion’s practitioners.

  • kikito

    The majority of games featuring ghosts don’t feature any kind of religion. To name a few: Doom, Ghosts ‘n’ goblins, Gaunlet. Most Mario games feture the “shy ghosts”.

    Furthermore, what makes you think gosts form part of the religion? They don’t appear on the holy bible as far as I remember. (I don’t count Jesus coming back from the dead as a ghost appearance)

    In my opinion ghosts are more like fantasy stuff, like goblins, gremlins or the teenage mutant ninja turtles. Not religious.

    Finally, I can’t see how a chastity trait could be implemented in any funny way. The difficult thing in real life, and in the Sims, is “getting the girl”; staying at home without facing possible rejection is an easy option – no challenge there.

    Unless if a guy with the chastity trait would have to be irresistible to all women (and probably some men; homosexuality happens on this game too, remember?). He would have to spend his time “fighting temptation”!

    But wait, that would backfire. Everyone would be picking the trait and then getting laid all over.

    No, this “virtue” can’t be fun. Neither on the Sims.

  • Nezz

    Wright examines systems and mechanisms and turns them into playful simulators. Looking at modern urban life in the West, he must have seen what Nietzsche had seen a long time before: That God is dead. That’s not a metaphysical statement, it’s a description of how we, as a society, lead our daily lives.

    Given that, I am forced to agree that not simulating religion was and remains the correct artistic choice.

  • M.S. Smith

    Look at your post, Troy. What are you doing linking altruism with religion? Heck, you go one step further and link spirituality with “being a nice person.” Frankly, I don’t see the implicit connection, but it is a connection you seem to be making here but beginning a paragraph by addressing spirituality and then switching to an a point about the lack of altruism in The Sims 3. That’s not a view I agree with and I would be disinclined to buy a game that linked spirituality with kindness on such a level that being kind was impossible without spirituality.

    Now, I don’t think that’s exactly what you meant, and I’m sure you agree that spirituality is not a pre-req for being kind. But I think this disagreement illustrates the minefield which the game would have to navigate. I don’t think the Sims 3 would crawl out of that one without missing a few limbs.

  • TinyPirate

    That’s why my sim, Elrond Hubbtard, started his own religion…. ;)
    http://afteractionreporter.com/2009/06/15/the-diary-of-elrond-hubbtard-my-new-job/

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  • Dan506

    “I mentioned the lack of religion in my review of the original Sims. Why not a “book of faith,” or some other doo-dad that gives you some positive benefits?”

    See, then you have to make a judgement – why does this book of faith grant benefits that those without faith don’t get?

    I’m not totally opposed to religion being implemented in the Sims, but as others have mentioned: it’s a minefield. Additional traits I would support for the most part, but you must remember that a trait like ‘chaste’, like a previous posted pointed out, means sitting home and doing nothing. There is no challenge there, at least not under current game mechanics. Still, a trait such as “Volunteer” would be a perfect choice to abstract “worker for God” – whether your character is spending his/her time building churches or homeless shelters, thats left to be decided in your own personal narrative.

    The problem is, even you yourself consistently link religion with various traits – altruism, “being nice” , ect. I expect, however, you wouldn’t be so pleased to see it linked to ‘sexual deviant’ or ‘repressed homosexual’, I suspect. How do you decide which traits to associate with which religion? It’s a mess.

    The only way I could conceive of to add religion to the Sims would be as a strictly social feature. Sims of the same religion (or lack of) could become friends more quickly and easily, while those with opposing world views struggle. How much effect it had could depend on how ‘devout’ you were. Still, it’s tricky. Now that I think of it, you’re essentially labeling all religions as intolerant of one another.

    I think, to be honest, MJ Chun did a fantastic job of answering the question. To add religion in any worthwhile sense, it must have some effect. In order for it to have an effect, judgement must be passed on what effect it should have. As soon as you do that, you’ve pissed off a large number of people.

    Just like to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect in the comments section here but I’m very very impressed with the discussion that’s turned up.
    Also: We’re from the same province! OMGOMGOMG!11!!eleventy!1! :)

  • steve

    “See, then you have to make a judgement – why does this book of faith grant benefits that those without faith don’t get?”

    The game already makes judgments about “types,” like how sports has an impact on some people and not others.

    The benefits would be to “peace of mind” type stats, similar to what you’d get from meditating or even playing videogames.

  • Bruce

    “See, then you have to make a judgement – why does this book of faith grant benefits that those without faith don’t get?”

    This is why games can never be art – art makes judgments all the time, because it relies on its ability to engage our moral imagination. Games don’t engage our moral imagination, event that one role-playing game about being dead that everybody likes.

    “I think, to be honest, MJ Chun did a fantastic job of answering the question. To add religion in any worthwhile sense, it must have some effect. In order for it to have an effect, judgement must be passed on what effect it should have. As soon as you do that, you’ve pissed off a large number of people.”

    So what? The Last Temptation of Christ pissed off a lot of people, but the movie was made and shown and while I think it has artistic problems, it is clearly art in a way that The Sims isn’t. But games can’t do this, for a number of reasons, the most important of which is that they are toys.

    Also, please – judgment has only one ‘e’.

  • Bruce

    “The majority of games featuring ghosts don’t feature any kind of religion.”
    The Patrick Swayze movie “Ghost” does not feature religion, either.

  • M.S. Smith

    “This is why games can never be art – art makes judgments all the time, because it relies on its ability to engage our moral imagination. Games don’t engage our moral imagination, event that one role-playing game about being dead that everybody likes.”

    I’m not sure why you’d even bother with saying something so demonstrably false. Games make moral judgments constantly. It is impossible for them not to do so. These moral judgments are easy to interpret as art, unless of course you’re already pre-disposed to simply write of anything in a game as being pointless fun. The art in games can be ignored if you so choose, but that doesn’t mean it is not there.

  • Bruce

    You know who is on the leading edge of games, art, and morality? Dominions 3!

    http://www.gameology.org/node/1642

  • M.S. Smith

    Having not played Dominions 3, I have no idea if you’re just pulling a post-modernist essay generator gag or if you’re being sincere.

    Yea, that’s right, I haven’t played Dominions 3. Bite me!

  • Bruce

    That article is factually accurate about the mechanics of Dominions and, as far as I can tell, about the inspirations for the nations of Hinnom, Ashdod, and Gath. In some ways it’s the kind of designer’s note I would love to see in more detail about all the nations. Kristoffer teaches the history of religions and I think part of the appeal of the game for him is the ability to create a gameworld based on his own interpretation of various pantheons. In a way, it’s probably one of the most provocative premises in all of gaming, yet it doesn’t matter _at all_ to the gameplay because even if you didn’t know anything about this stuff, you could still be very good at playing those nations.

  • M.S. Smith

    I don’t get your point. Analysis of a book or film or whatever isn’t at all needed to enjoy or understand the work. That does not invalidate digging deeper and analyzing the work on an academic level.

    Of course, I’ve never bought the arguement that fiction is irrelevant to game-play, which seems to be what you’re saying.

    Even if that premise (that fiction is irrelevant to gameplay) is accepted, there are plenty of games that use gameplay mechanics specifically as commentary, such as The Path or Shadow Of The Colossus. And most games are making some sort of point with their gameplay even if they do so unintentionally – and intention has nothing to do with art in my opinion.

  • John

    It’s funny that MJ Chun would say that the game is not trying to make judgments, that it’s a game about and for “everyone.” As others have already been sort of saying, the content of the game is certainly not “everyone.” In fact, the game (and especially the base game) is geared toward a very geographically and culturally specific lifestyle, that of the modern post-industrial suburban American family. There’s trappings of other lifestyles, but that’s the core of it and it’s more or less what the game revolves around. The judgment has already been made.

  • Bruce

    I didn’t say that games don’t make judgments, just that the judgments are irrelevant to the gameplay.

    Here is a really good example:

    http://playthisthing.com/grey-ranks

    The more a game becomes like art, the less of a game it is.

  • M.S. Smith

    You’re not really responding to me, Bruce. You’re just repeating your beliefs.

  • Dan506

    “So what? The Last Temptation of Christ pissed off a lot of people, but the movie was made and shown and while I think it has artistic problems, it is clearly art in a way that The Sims isn’t.”

    The Last Temptation of Christ never had to come out and explicitly say “Christians are less happy than Buddhists”, “Jews increase skills in x faster than Muslims”.

    “As others have already been sort of saying, the content of the game is certainly not “everyone.” In fact, the game (and especially the base game) is geared toward a very geographically and culturally specific lifestyle, that of the modern post-industrial suburban American family”

    I think this is a very good point, though I would broaden it to most Western culture rather than strictly American. Still, Western culture has become hypersensitive in many ways over religion – so it’s hardly surprising that they want to avoid that can of worms.

  • John

    I disagree, Dan. Europeans generally don’t live in suburban factory houses with a lawn, a dog, 2.5 kids, a car, etc. That’s a very American kind of lifestyle, dependent on the heavy use of automobiles and the availability of unused land, and it’s a lifestyle that is featured quite prominently in the Sims.

  • Francesca

    Yes but the european version of the sims is modified to resemble Europe more. The streets are macadam and not asphalt, the roads twist more. And veronaville does look like an italian country side, which also looks like a French country side.

    Now, if religion is incorperated, it should be in the carears. Become a priest/immam/rabbi or a none (invent generic religion) and while you’re at it, add the possibility to become a anachist terrorist and a revolutionary communist. That would be fun. For the story telling to suit everyone (and not just the majority) you have to incorperate deviants.

    Why not also make your sim choise their sexuality when they become a teen. Instead of having this endless mich mach where you have to avoid tones of possible interactions if you want you sims to be heterosexual or homosexual.

  • OpMystik

    Although I personally have no problem with religion I do think it is better to leave it out. I know its in Civ I love playing Civ but think about it back in the day when it was wars between countries and so it was really because of religion and people’s beliefs. Now a days people have a problem with children praying in schools and when pledging allegiance to the flag. I mean it’s been the pledge for hundreds of years but now in this world today religion is viewed more then ever as a problem.

    EA did the right thing leaving it out. That’s more hassle then it’s worth and a lot more people would complain about it being in there then they do now with it being out. Plus with the amount of religions nowadays, christian, mormon, jehovah witnesses, catholic, anglican, muslim, islamic etc even a generalization in such of by putting them in categories will upset people. I mean it would really make a muslim mad if they were put in the same category as someone who practices islamic and vice versa. I know I wouldn’t want to be put in the same category as a mormon and vice versa especially they wouldn’t want to be cause for the simple fact that I am black and they still feel to this day that we are inferior to them. I’m saying that from experience I visited Utah just a couple months back and trust me it wasn’t pretty. Race is still an issue there and we’ll leave it at that.

    See where it may be a problem? Religion is a personal choice and a lot of people will be outraged by it it is just to sensitive a matter.

  • AdamBob

    I think what people are forgetting is that this game was made for everyone, including children and adding stuff like miscarrige, abortion, rape and murder more or less kills out that target audience. Religion is the same, adding all these religions would just make the game more complicated that it already is. Plus there’s the moral side of parents not wanting their children to create people of different religions as it offends god.

  • Safyiah

    i’m a Muslim. my opinion is that they should leave religion out of the oficial game but some programers or developers out there can make some cool mods or hacks if you ask them in forums =) or if you’re a developer yourself, you can try to do it. there are many believers that try to make some things for the sims according to their religion. i’ve seen the islamic headscarf done for the sims 2, the Koran and the Bible, i’ve seen the symbol of Judaism also, mosques, churches, etc. it’s only things you can install if you CHOOSE to (and if there’s any download option xD). i guess it’s quite cool ^^

  • Morkilus

    I for the first time last night found someone that responds positively to my evil genius Sim’s evil plotting dialog option. Turns out they have to be evil as well! This is the closest thing the Sims has to religion in the context of small talk.

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  • Scott

    I must say, has anyone remembered that the Sims 2 has already included certain religious implications that have not seemed to make anyone angry. Unless I am completely incompetent, I have noticed that the addition of ‘The Sims 2 Holiday Party Pack’ introduced 40 items that were nearly all linked to certain religious holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Chaunakka. Why there cannot be SOME implications of a place of worship to certain major religious groups is ridiculous. Even an optional custom religious that simply creates a nonexistand supreme deity (or deities) that offers similarities to major religions like Christianity, Islam, or Judaism; similar to Simlish, a false language that bears resemblance to certain languages in the south Pacific. (please don’t quote me on that, I read that it was based on Thai) Also note that the edition of ‘The Sims 3 World Adventures’ also makes implications to the afterlife, a topic that has strong implications to many religions. The purpose of this would be to give players the option to make ‘The Sims’ more relevent to their life, if they so choose.

  • Scott

    PS. AdamBob, God is capitalized.

  • Simplex

    Being more of an amateur anthropologist and avid sci-fi fan, I’ve often thought to myself, if Sims *had* a religion, what would it be? Sims think about their kin alot, and in Sims 2 constantly want to bring them back to life. What I do is have my Sims practice a form of ancestor worship or animistic/ancestor worship simular to my readings on Shinto. Its easy to do in Sims 3, with that candle. I place a picture of the departed ancestor over a table with the candle on it and the Sim can light a candle to their dear departed parent or grandparent. It just seems to be the Sim thing to do. I think Sims would be animistic, I dont think they’d hold with a single God or a number of gods unless they were just nature spirits or spirits of things like the various careers. But that’s just the way I personally ‘roleplay’ religion in my Sim ‘hoods.

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