Living the Sims Dream by Caitlin Farrugia

There’s this game called The Sims. You know it likely. The one that everyone had in the early 2000’s as a child and you could get like Sims University Life, Sims City, Sims Pets, Sims Showtime. The game where you create avatars and try to make their lives fulfilled or kill them in a house fire for fun. Anyway, I still play The Sims.

Last Friday my Sim died. I wanted to restart but I suppose I shouldn’t get into a habit of manufacturing second chances. The shittiest thing was that she died at her own house party. I just saved up enough money to put a pool in and everything. Lucky she had two adult children so I continued playing their lives instead. One was an astronaut and the other a leader of the free world.

One time my Sim was living her absolute dream — you know, the Rockstar lifetime wish, four story mansion, husband with the right amount of facial hair, the two kids — and then my computer shut down before I could save the game. That was shit. It made me realise that you can lose everything in an instant. That’s what happened to my Mum. She had this good job but also a gambling addiction so we lost the house and the car and a necklace my Grandpa gave me for my sweet sixteenth. Mum got gout too and lost her leg. Not that gambling has anything to do with being an amputee but I definitely never went near a Pokies after that. I made my Mum as a Sims avatar once just so I could see her thrive. But it got a bit weird after a while watching my Sim Mum wohoo Michael Bachelor, Mortimer Goth and most of the Landgraab family. Also, Mortimer was too temperamental.

I suppose I play this game to kind of feel control over life. As in, I have no control over my own. What are your twenties for if not thinking that the world is against you, that you are owed something, and for figuring out who you are? Except I am not in my twenties anymore. In fact, I haven’t been in my twenties for ten years. And I guess that's pathetic. I’m the odd cousin at Christmas. How was Europe Sandra? Amazing, I met a French woman. Damien, we saw that you were promoted. Yeah, head of Sales! Kimmy, what’s been happening in your life? My Sim just found a rare seed because I completed the Omnificent Plant Opportunity! Yeah, but are you still on Centrelink?

I saw a young mum at the fish n’ chip shop when I was picking up my birthday dinner. She had one tiny baby in a pram, wailing and another slightly larger one kicking her feet. I rolled my eyes and said, “Kids” in a way that, I think, mums say to each other as some sort of code for fuck my life. I’m not a complete idiot, of course raising a Sim child and a real human child are different, being a single working parent whilst teaching your child to walk, talk, and use the toilet all before they age and otherwise you risk the consequence of them not being a genius.

I suppose I should join the real world soon: contribute, build a life, belong. I suppose I’m kind of meaningless without that. Though in Sunset Valley, I have a job, a family, I have the “good” trait so I constantly donate money and I am also really toned. And never once in The Sims has my moodlet been anything below dull green. Of course I wish that my game achievements were real life but I hear Sims 4 is coming out soon, so that’s really cool.

Caitlin Farrugia is a writer, producer and teacher from Melbourne. Her pieces reflect ideas of human connection, feminism and child wellbeing. You can follow her at or @ohuniverse