1,000 Hours Later: Here’s What The Sims 4 Looks Like to Me

A glimpse at an eight-year-long journey

1000 Hours of The Sims 4 feature
Screenshot by Prima Games

Recently, I hit my 1,000th hour in The Sims 4. I jump from one game to the next, so I rarely dedicate more than a few hundred hours to anything. For eight years on three computers, I’ve created dozens of peculiar households and experienced a good chunk of what The Sims 4 has to offer, and I’m here to tell you all about it.

1,000 Hours of The Sims 4 – An Overview

As of writing this and reaching this milestone, I have close to 30 active save files and every expansion pack, and I am slowly working on buying game and stuff packs. Overall, including saves I’ve deleted, lost from switching computers, or other odd file corruption issues, I’ve created and tried close to 100 households. I don’t usually play as the pre-made families, but I occasionally check them out if I get bored or want to learn more about them.

Of the packs I own, I’ve spent the most time exploring content from Get to Work, Get Famous, and Spa Day, with the Growing Together expansion being my favorite. What can I say? I love the weird, random chaos from having a lot of expansions.

Alongside game packs, I’ve also recently started getting into doing community challenges. I’m on my third Not So Berry challenge attempt and plan on making an aliens-only Legacy challenge. Since I usually stick with short-term households, trying these out has been an interesting change of pace that I’ll get more into later.

I Make a Lot of Households

Let’s face it: there are two types of Sims 4 players. We have people with legacy households spanning dozens of generations and those who go two generations before making more characters. I’m the latter. I usually set a goal for myself, create a one-generation household, and then move on to another once I’ve accomplished my goal. Typically, this goal is to reach level 10 in a particular career, buy a specific house, or a one-generation rags-to-riches type scenario.

One playthrough I just finished is a one-generation household of a Sim starting in a cheap San Myshuno apartment and making enough money through the detective career track to buy a penthouse. It was a simple and quick goal, and I completed it within a few days.

Honestly, I’m unsure why I struggle to make long-term legacy households. It could be an attention span issue, but from what I can tell, it’s mainly not knowing what to do next. At some point, once you’re three generations in and can afford a home worth over a million Simoleons, it gets tricky figuring out what to do next. I’ve purposely placed money-making restrictions on myself to make it more challenging, but I usually still end up at the same point within a few generations. However, I’ve had the most fun with this when I restrict myself from using money trees, motherlode, and other easy money-making strategies.

Speaking of cheats, let’s talk about something a little weird.

My Sims 4 Files Are (Almost) Completely Vanilla

I’ll get the shocking and potentially disappointing part out of the way: I don’t typically play games with mods. I’ll occasionally download some and write about my experiences, but outside of this, I don’t use them regularly to change my game. It’s not that I dislike them; I just don’t really need them.

Lately, though, I’ve been considering getting some.

Interestingly enough, despite having over 1,000 hours in The Sims 4, I’m not bored of the game yet. However, as I think about my legacy challenge tangent, I realize mods could help solve this dilemma. Either that, or I’m overthinking it and should enjoy playing the video game.

So far, the only exception outside of content I download for work has been the More Columns mod. When I had no expansions, I was okay with having two columns in CAS. As I bought more, I eventually bumped it to five columns, and I have yet to return to two. It’s like buying a second monitor; once you get it, you can’t go back to one.

With that said, I also avoid using cheats as much as possible. Like with mods, it’s not that I dislike them or think they ruin the game. My playthroughs are already simple and easy to follow, so I don’t necessarily need cheats to speed anything up. I have experimented with skill cheats and other miscellaneous features, but I don’t typically use them to influence my saved files significantly.

My Favorite Sims 4 Save Files So Far

As I mentioned before, I’ve created a lot of save files in The Sims 4. Some lasted 20 minutes, while others have been ongoing for over 50 hours. Unfortunately, I’ve lost many over the years, but I still have many that I enjoy sharing with others.

Let’s take a look at five of them, shall we?

1. Krystle Spencer, the Unlucky Celebrity Chef

If there’s one thing I love in The Sims 4, it’s scenarios. Of all the scenarios I’ve played, one of my favorites is the unlucky chef who constantly starts fires. Despite this obstacle, Krystle persevered, making her way to celebrity chef.

One reason this playthrough was fun is the continuous struggle of her burning food. Replacing stoves gets expensive, which was especially difficult to deal with initially. Sometimes, I just ordered pizza because I couldn’t afford to replace the stove for the fourth time that week. Despite this, I chose the chef route rather than mixologist. Overcoming this challenge was more satisfying to me than going the easy way.

As a bonus, her husband, the eco-loving Knox Greenburg, won the lottery while the two were dating. I wasn’t anticipating this at all, and I didn’t even notice it until I saw a million Simoleons in his balance after they moved in together and wondered where it came from. Let’s just say Krystle was suddenly very happy to have such a loving and wealthy partner.

Using his lottery winnings, the two moved into a Windenburg mansion and had a child together. I haven’t continued the playthrough beyond this, but I plan on returning to it soon.

2. Ella Milner, the Academic Space Villain

Oh, Ella. At first, she was just an adventurous overachiever who wanted to keep her nose in the books and study to become an astronaut. One day, her world views changed, and she decided to venture into the dark side of space villainy. One distinguished degree later, and she’s now a veteran interstellar smuggler.

Despite this, Ella’s proven herself to be a highly intelligent character, making thousands of Simoleons every day, completing nearly every knowledge aspiration, and working toward becoming fabulously wealthy. She’s also found friendship in the heart of Angela Pleasant, who has since moved in and begun pursuing a culinary career.

While there isn’t anything particularly unique about this playthrough, it was my introduction to the Discover University expansion pack. It holds a special place in my heart, and I’ve since used university degrees to fast-track careers on numerous occasions.

3. The Coats Family, The Gaming Couple

I’ll admit it; I may be slightly biased in putting a gamer household on this list. The two Sims here, Jennifer and Reece Coats, are hardcore gamers who have (literally) climbed their way to fame through social media expertise. In particular, Jennifer is a gamer by day and programmer by night, while Reece is a successful internet personality with millions of fans supporting him.

I’ve always loved looking at how technology, the internet, and especially video games have evolved over the years, and it’s oddly heartwarming to experience this in The Sims 4. Watching a Sim go from someone who likes games to making their career out of it reminds me of my story. At the end of the day, I’m also someone who grew up playing video games and got lucky enough to turn that passion into my full-time job.

I’m not quite as wild and adventurous as these two are, though. When the Coats duo are not gaming and working, they also build rockets, exercise together, and occasionally paint. They’re willing to try anything as long as there isn’t a crowd of Sims around!

4. Makenzie Dowling – Shy Girl by Day, Magical Girl by Night

Speaking of internet celebrities, I took a different approach with this one. Something about the classic “living a double life” trope in TV shows and movies has always interested me, and I wanted to try this by creating a chill Sim by day and a bubbly, happy-go-lucky streamer by night.

So far, I’m having a blast, but I’m still figuring out how I want to go about it. Everyone, meet Makenzie.

When she is in the comfort of her apartment, Makenzie is your typical, down-to-earth gamer girl who reads books, plays chess, and relaxes alone. Once another Sim enters the room, she takes on an exciting, cheerful tone, revealing her internet personality! That’s right; she is also pursuing the path of social media stardom as a famous streamer.

She also has one restriction: anytime she leaves her apartment or comes into contact with another Sim, she must wear one of her streamer outfits to conceal her true identity. She has only revealed herself to one person: her best friend and girlfriend, Anvi.

Unlike some of the previous entries, this one is an experimental playthrough I started a few weeks ago in another attempt to change things up, and so far, it’s far more enjoyable than I expected. At first, I got her to try the video game streamer and Simfluencer part-time jobs to fit her character more, but after struggling to pay her rent, I swapped her to social media. This is the first time in a while I’ve had a challenge with a household, and I couldn’t be happier.

5. Not So Berry Challenge – Third Attempt

I had to mention this at least once since it is one of the few legacy challenges I’ve completed in the past. While I can no longer access my first two attempts, I recently began a third playthrough with a few twists.

So far, I’ve only completed the first two generations, with number three in progress. The catch? The day the previous generation’s heir becomes a young adult, I immediately create a newborn for the next and juggle the challenge’s tasks and childcare. I also went into it with zero cheats, including no free real estate or money cheats. I’ve also made it so the characters do not have spouses to add an extra layer to the money-making and multi-tasking aspect of the challenge.

I realized quickly that the drawback of this strategy is that the story of my characters doesn’t make much sense without having additional Sims adding to the immersion. On the plus side, it’s still fun, and I plan on continuing this until I reach the end.

Here’s to Another 1,000 Hours in The Sims 4

I don’t plan on quitting The Sims 4 anytime soon. It’s fun and relaxing, and I always look forward to what is released next. I enjoy sharing my experiences with others, and I’m staying optimistic about its future. I’m not sure how much more I’ll play, but I can see the numbers increase as the years go on. One day, I’ll explore more mods and other custom content. For now, I’ll continue expanding on these playthroughs, creating new ones, and trying a few fun legacy challenges to change things up a bit. If I’m patient enough, I’ll get one past the first generation!

About the Author

Madison Benson

Madison is a staff writer at Prima Games who has played video games for over twenty years and written about them for over two years. Her love for video games started with turn-based strategy games like Heroes of Might and Magic and has since extended to casual farming sims, MMORPGs, and action-adventure RPGs.