As a longtime Sims fan, I was excited for the opportunity to write the guide for the latest expansion pack, The Sims 3 Showtime. But I quickly discovered that being a fan of The Sims wasn’t enough; I needed to be an obsessive expert. In addition to mastering the new careers, I had to dive into the minutia that makes The Sims one of the most popular series of all-time. I soon found myself obsessing over the smallest of details. How much does a banana cost at the Market Basket grocery store? Where can I find glow bugs? What about starfish? Can Sims really WooHoo in a photo booth? Thankfully I had a team of Sims experts on my side (including the developers) that helped make this daunting task a bit more manageable.

Showtime’s headlining attractions are the new performance careers. There are three in all: Acrobat, Magician, and Singer. Unlike traditional careers, where Sims show up at a job and work a regular shift, Sims in the new performance careers are completely responsible for their success based largely on how many gigs they can book and perform. But before a Sim can hop on-stage and show off their skills, they must first impress a venue’s proprietor with an audition. If the proprietor likes what they see, they’ll book your Sim for a gig.

Sims earn different amounts of money and career experience based on the prestige of a venue. For instance, playing a gig in the massive Binder Clips Center arena will always earn you more money and experience than playing a small gig in Verde Park. But larger venues are only open to the biggest acts in town. So performing Sims must pay their dues on smaller stages before graduating to big shows. The guide includes a very helpful chart for each career showing exactly how much money is earned at each venue.

What I find most rewarding about the performance careers is how success is tied to how much time and effort a Sim puts into their craft. The more a Sim performs or practices, the better they become whether it’s singing, pulling a coin from someone’s ear, or juggling flaming torches. Early on, a performing Sim is likely to experience some embarrassments due to on-stage mishaps. Each career has a variety of on-stage interactions available, and each has a chance of success or failure. Successes lead to a positive response from the audience and better reviews by the proprietor. If a Sim manages to put on a great show with few failures, a proprietor is likely to book them for a steady gig, allowing them to perform once a week…and for better pay.

Beyond the new careers, The Sims 3 Showtime also offers a variety of other features including new objects and the fun-loving town of Starlight Shores. Every aspect of the expansion pack is covered in complete detail within the guide. This includes the locations of all collectibles as well as an explanation of the new SimPort feature (and associated unlocks) that allows you to share your performing Sims with your online friends. Even though I wrote the guide, I know I’ll be referencing it frequently. I hope you find it useful too!

For a more in-depth look at everything you need to get the most out of the game, check out The Sims 3 Showtime Prima Official Game Guide !