As part of their wedding vows, Kat and Jonathan promised to love one another until the Grim Reaper comes to call and death parts them at last.
Death is a fact of life, and it’s an integral part of our games. Even if we turn aging off, our sims might still meet the reaper through deadly accidents.
What happens then?
Although we might not know much about the after-life in our own world, we do know for sure that there’s life beyond the grave in Sims 4.
When the game was first released, there were no ghosts. These were included in an October 2014 update from EA.
Now, when a sim dies, an NPC ghost attaches itself to either the grave or the urn you have in the household. Other sims can build relationships with the ghost. When you invite it to join the family it becomes a playable character. Ghosts can then get jobs, get married, and contribute to the household just as any living sim does. You can even bring a ghost back to life by concocting a little drink from angel fish, death flower, and youth potion.
Ghosts will behave in different ways depending on the cause of their death, and although I don’t use ghosts in my game, I’ve heard they can be very useful, indeed. And, if you tire of having ghostly helpers around the house, you can easily get rid of them by “releasing” them to the netherworld.
If you have the Get Together EP, you’ll also have two pre-made ghosts haunting your game — Mimsy Alcorn Shallot and her husband, Bernard. Even if you bring them back to life, they’ll still retain a bit of their “ghostly” behavior.
Sounds fun, right?
Unfortunately, there are a few “ghostly” problems in the game, and a few disappointments for players. The greatest concern for many is that ghosts count against the population limit, so if you have a lot of dead sims, your living sims might get “culled” and disappear. Not fun.
My sims have had problems with deceased spouses — not returning as ghosts, but simply remaining permanently married to their living spouses. In one instance the widow was able to set herself free by releasing her husband’s spirit, yet in another instance my sim ultimately went to her own grave without ever being able to remarry. Her attempts to release her husband’s ghost to the netherworld must have failed somehow.
And speaking of graves…well, here’s another problem. Unless you’re actively playing a household at the time of death, you won’t get a tombstone or grave. As a rotational player, I’ve missed out on the death of many of my sims. I was saddened not only by their passing, but by the fact no one could properly mourn them.
Still another disappointment is the lack of cemeteries in Sims 4. Urns can be kept in the house or in a sim’s inventory, and graves can be set outside the house in a little family plot, if you like, but there are no cemeteries to be found — unless you make your own or download one from the gallery.
Yes, it’s possible to put a cemetery in the game — I had one for quite a while — but with the small worlds we have, do you really want to do it? I removed mine after a time simply because I needed more activities for my living sims. My graveyard lot is now a movie theater.
The modding community has also stepped in to make death more palatable for players. Don’t like the in-game tombstones? Try the Grave/Urn Default Replacements by Elias 943 to make them more realistic-looking.
Or, to add to the effect of your in-game cemeteries, you can purchase snaitf’s Buyable Graves. You won’t get ghosts with them, however, nor will they have any sim’s name engraved upon them. I used to purchase graves for those sims who died while I was playing other households, but when I got rid of my cemetery, I also removed the mod.
In my game, Mimsy and Bernard are still floating around Windenburg — and they’ve given Dr. London’s Therapy Group quite a fright — you can read about it in my forum post: Therapy for Goofballs. But all other remains are gone. Oh, I might have an urn or two stuck away in inventory, but I won’t do anything with them. I’m not a supernatural/fantasy player, and I wouldn’t know where to find an angel fish or death flower if I did want to bring a ghost back to life.
My greatest disappointment, however, is that in Sims 4, gone also means forgotten. Once a deceased sim leaves the game, all reminders and references go away as well. It’s very sad for me when Kurt Bowen clicks on paintings he has that were painted by his famous pop art father, Arthur. Some of his works are even hanging in the museum, but Arthur gets no credit for them.
And if you look at Kurt’s family tree, he simply has no father. Poor dad has completely disappeared. It’s as though he never existed at all.
So, what I’m mourning is the loss of those memories. Sims is a game about life — and death. I wish we could truly honor both.