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If I die, please delete my incriminating Sims save file

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m trying to delete it

The Sims 4 - a floating vampire Sim meditates in a creepy room Image: Maxis/Electronic Artis via Polygon
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Between you and me, I need a favor. You see, I have a Sims 4 save on my computer that is ... incriminating. It’s a Picture of Dorian Gray-style situation going on, and I beg you to consider that I am otherwise an extremely good person.

On the outside, my life looks ideal, but that saved game sits on my hard drive. I pay my taxes, I’m nice to everybody, and I only cuss sometimes. I feel like that should cancel out the fact that I maintain a video game structure that sends innocents to their death in a fiery inferno.

Meanwhile, The Sims 4 sits on my computer, collecting all of my sins and making them manifest through a multigenerational family of vampires.

Listen: If I die, I need you to go on my computer and delete my game, because it straight-up makes me look like a terrible person.

I didn’t intend this

I have a buddy, Matt, who I chat about my Sims with. I mentioned that I tend to have one person in the family with high skills, and I keep them vibrant and young using aging potions.

“Why not make a vampire?” Matt asked.

This seemed like an excellent idea, so I crafted a matriarch. Meet Estelle St. Croix. She’s an aristocratic actress with killer cheekbones and a keen interest in painting. I started out with just Estelle in a modest home, and over the last two years, I’ve left Estelle and her family alone, returned to the save game and resumed their lives for a few weeks, put her back on the shelf for a few months, and so on. As a result, there’s a tangled web of continuity.

Estelle has met a few different romantic partners, whom she eventually settles down with and marries and has children with. Since everyone’s immortal, those kids grow up, and find their own romantic partners. Before long, there’s a multigenerational family all growing up together in the same house. I keep a few things around to make things easier: a butler, a table full of drinkable plasma packs, and some tablets that the toddlers can use to raise themselves. It’s all very ethical.

The Sims 4 - a vampire “makes it rain” in front of a crowd of adoring fans.
Image: Maxis/Electronic Arts via Polygon

Everything’s fine (until it isn’t)

I’m not a coward, so I play with maximum free will on and a house full of Sims at all times. This means many of these characters have spun out of my control into having their own sort of personality and character. Even with maximum player control, The Sims can be a little lethal, so ... some of the children and grandchildren who have been sired over the years died.

OK, let me clarify. A lot of the children and grandchildren over the years have died.

It’s a whole thing, but before I can explain why it’s not my fault and why I don’t deserve any amount of scorn, I have to set the stage by showing you just how out of hand things are.

Here is the St. Croix family tree descended from my Sim’s first wife. (She has since remarried twice, but neither of those trees has any deaths. Yet.)

The Sims 4 - a shot of a devastated family tree Image: Maxis/Electronic Arts via Polygon

Matt and I screen-share our Sims games to each other, and it was an illuminating experience. The first time we did this together, he went first. “So, this is the patriarch of my family,” he said proudly. “This is Santa Claus. Yeah, I know, that’s pretty silly ... I seduced and married Santa with my Sim, haha! Now I have Santa’s baby to raise!”

“That’s cool,” I said, feeling sweat beading on my forehead. “Hey, check out my Sims family tree. Pretty crazy, right? That I have so many generations of Sims from one vampire?”

“Oh my God,” Matt whispered. “So many of them are dead.”

I have some regrets

Look, I know that most of the family tree is dead! Obviously, I know that, and I’m not happy about it. And no, before you ask, I would never do anything so crass as to make them swim in a pool forever. Many of these Sims have died through very understandable and natural means, like “trying to repair an electrical outlet at my restaurant, which is losing endless amounts of money so I thought I could handle a few things by myself,” or “flirting with a crush so long that they forget to drink blood, then wither and die.”

Those deaths are entirely outside of my control. As for the rest, when I come back to The Sims 4 after a long break, sometimes I forget what I was up to. Sometimes, I’m rusty, and controlling a house full of Sims is overwhelming. What am I to do with a houseful of Sims I do not care about and would like out of the way so I can progress with a chosen few?

Ah, it’s simple! I send them to the Sun Lot to die.

The Sims 4 - a small graveyard next to a giant gnarled dead oak tree at night
It’s just so ... [clenches fist] atmospheric!
Image: Maxis/Electronic Arts via Polygon

It’s better than it sounds

The Sun Lot is a vacant lot across from a park and an ice cream truck. The vampires hang out there all day, peeing themselves and crying, until the sun claims them. Then, a weeping Estelle comes and collects their remains, and it becomes an incredibly thematic prop back at my vampire mansion.

I’ve tried more nonlethal ways to remove my unwanted family members from the game. At one point, I tried moving a small branch of the St. Croix family into their own single-story home. I checked in with them once, while screen-sharing with Matt again. I knew that I hadn’t left them with a lot of room to move, or a lot of furniture, so I wasn’t sure what state they’d be in.

I loaded the game up, and we watched in horror as the Sims spawned into their new home and instantly started arguing and destroying their surroundings. I heard Matt suck his teeth with suppressed concern. It was the kind of noise that you might make upon walking into a room full of taxidermied animals, all staring at you with blank eyes. Or if you’re at work and your new manager confides in you that he doesn’t think the moon landings are real.

This is what my pick-it-up-and-drop-it gameplay cycle has led to: a Sims save game where I look like a terrible person. I assure you, I’m absolutely not. That’s why I need you to do me this favor: If I disappear, or perish, I need you to wipe this game off my hard drive. The world can never know.

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