For many people of color, self-hate begins before we have even the proper words for it.
When my grandmother took me to buy my first baby doll, she steered to the little section of curly-haired, deeply-browned skinned toys. I stared at the humble rows of plaited, kinky curls and flat noses, at the unblinking brown eyes and full mouths that were like mine, and I felt shame.
“I don’t want these,” I said.
”Why?” she replied, clearly perplexed.
”.... Because black dolls are ugly.”
My experience, though heartbreaking and harrowing, is not unique. Even now, despite the world’s new appreciation for black and brown culture, for our endless contributions, for the need for better representation, the children I serve in urban education still avoid the brown crayons in their crayon boxes.
“Peach is better than brown,” one of my fourth graders once remarked, her head bent over a scribbled portrait of herself.
A Ghanian girl holding her two white baby dolls.
The world at large teaches people of color that there is “good” and “bad” hair. That rich, dark skin is not a marker of beauty but of savagery. These ideals are deeply ingrained in people of color. Currently, movements to include black and brown people in the beauty narrative is not simply a sign of changing times but also a necessity. To undo hundreds of years of self-hate is no small feat.
The Sims, and any other video game that allows a person to create a character in their own image, can be likened unto the baby doll section of a toy store. People of color stare at the rows of skin tones available to them and, finding none that really represent them, subconsciously swallow a difficult fact: that the companies people of color financially support still don’t give half a damn enough about representation to get it right the first time. How can a child, dark-skinned and unaware of their own rich loveliness, look at a Sim meant to represent them and feel seen, feel beautiful, when the darkest skin tone available to them
appears as ashy and translucent as poorly painted cellophane?
It’s only a game, perhaps. This is what many detractors pose. But what is represented in the media, the medium we all consume in gargantuan amounts each day, deeply affects the self-esteem, self-image, and self-love of people of color for the rest of their lives. It allows people who do not share the plight of poor representation to continue ignoring what is obvious: that people of color exist and that their representation matters.
Weeks ago, Sims 4 announced that, amid mounting social pressure, that they would finally improve the skin tones available in base game. This was an issue long assailed by black Simmers everywhere, but in the wake of intensifying Black Lives Matter movements and the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, EA could no longer turn a blind eye to the adamant wishes of its players.
This, of course, says a lot about the composition of the decision-making powers that be. I find it unlikely that a person of color would have green-lighted the terrible tones in the first place. To truly amend and avoid such missteps in the future, it’s imperative that EA ensures that people of color always have a seat at the decision-making table.
September 23rd, 2020, the SimGurus finally, formally announced that improved skin tones would hit Sims 4 PC games on October 6th and console games November 10th. But this is not all. In December, Sims 4 will roll out over 100 new skin tones, a skin tone slider, and a makeup slider.
Why not stop at just skin tones? Skin is a tricky beast. Two people can be of the same color but have different undertones. That is— not all browns are created equal. One can be “brown” with a rich, coppery red undertone, a sunny yellowed undertone, or a cooler, darker undertone. And this to say nothing of the shimmering beauty that can be called black. The darkest of us can be so stunningly black that we appear to glow, a jaw-dropping blue-black appearance the color of midnight, or even a smooth inky blackness that seems a near impossibility. A slider addresses the variations in skin undertones. Including a make-up slider corrects the lipstick, eye shadow, and blushes that often clashed garishly with darker skin tones,
These tones, currently, do not exist in Sims 4. The darker skin tones lack the required richness and intensities of those observed in real life.
I’ve written a fantasy book that involves a cast almost entirely of people (beings?) of color. Last November, I finally sat down to create my beautiful dark-skinned elf, Malakai. I was shocked when the darkest skin available to me was closer to gray,
What was supposed to be my brand new black beauty became more closely akin to the living dead. This was disheartening to say the least.
If you haven’t been following, allow me to reiterate why this matters. Such blatant disregard for the inherent beauty of blackness and brownness communicates a lack of understanding about the gravity of the situation at hand.
Even as Jovan of Sims Community broke the story, he faced the mindless trolling comments of unabashed White Supremacists. Jovan, rightly, told the user where to go with their racism.
I was prone to believe the comment the off-handed, micro-aggression I’ve grown deeply used to in my daily life, but a quick peek into the offender’s feed showed me differently.
White supremacy is real. But this is an article for another day.
If nothing else, remember this: people of color everywhere are striving to reclaim their beauty, their self-worth, their self-love. Games, and all media for that matter, must do their part to support this reclamation. Dismantling self-hate must be an intentional act, an act in which we must all take part.
Go forth, happy Simming, and love yourself.
Stuff the Space!
One misstep that many novice builders make is a simple one: they assume that once they are able to build bigger rooms that they should. Then, after building a huge room, they push furniture to the walls and leave huge swathes of empty space. Don’t fall into this trap!
✔️Bigger is NOT always better. It is better to build a smaller room that is stuffed to the brim with good objects than to throw expensive objects into a huge room.
✔️Fill every empty corner with floor plants
✔️Fill wall space with curtains, wall lighting, and wall art.
✔️Allow furniture to breathe in the space.
✔️Demarcate space with area rugs
✔️Use fireplaces for instant coziness.
✔️Use simple white or black swatches to make even cheap items appear luxe.
✔️When in doubt, create a new seating area.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for using space? Comment below!
After days of speculation, the Sims Mobile Game Changers finally revealed the newest update: a new type of treasure hunting live event.
This new event does not give players a new area to explore, but it offers players levels five and over to earn CAS and Build mode prizes in a new way. Alternating with Sweet Treats events, Treasure Hunting events will send players hunting for clues and then leading both investigations and excavations in various areas of the existing map.
Here’s a quick run-down of the way this new event works:
👉🏽There is NO new area.
💰When the treasure hunt begins, your Sim will complete a 4-hour event at their home, searching for “clues.” 📜
💰 The “clues” earned at the home event unlock other events at Downtown, Waterfront, and Market square.
💰Using special tokens called “Walkie Talkies,” Simmers get to “dig” for “relics.” Players can purchase clues about which relics you’ll find with simoleons and SimCash. They can also purchase extra dig opportunities with SimCash, simoleons, or cupcakes.
👉🏽PLAYERS USE THE RELICS TO PURCHASE PRIZES IN THE ORDER THEY LIKE.
👉🏽 You must unlock an entire row of prizes to unlock all the color swatches of those prizes, however.
👉🏽Participate in Small Frye’s side quest for extra relics
👉🏽The grand prizes for this particular dig are: a ping pong table, a female braided up-do, and a unisex mascot outfit. BUT PLAYERS MUST HAVE ENOUGH RELICS TO UNLOCK THE GRAND PRIZE.
Game Changers also dropped news about a Wumples quest which will surface October 5th, and a set of purchasable packs which will trigger in-game after the September 28th update.
(Many thanks to Simmerdown Mal for all her images!)
What are you most excited to dig up in this university-themed treasure hunt?
Stay safe, never stop digging, and happy Simming!
The speculation cycle of the larger Sims community ratcheted up considerably this week. Sims FreePlay rounds out the month of September with the return of the Mean Curls hobby event and a brand new Sim Chase; Sims Mobile Game Changers hinted at a new game feature via dropped treasure map fragments, and Sims 4 Gurus slowly resurfaced on Twitter amid a slew of fresh player speculation about the next pack.
The Sims FreePlay
Mean Curls, a fan favorite hobby event, returned to Sims FreePlay September 9th. Players urge their Sims through session after session of the fashion design hobby; after earning each hobby badge and filling up the fashion hobby tracker, the player earns a new adult female hairstyle. On September 15th, School Scuffles, a brand new Sim Chase, triggered in-game. Players compete against a rival Sim to earn school-themed prizes. Because September 23rd will bring both the Urban Furniture hobby event and the Holiday High-Rise live event, FreePlayers can expect a new gamut of events for the month of October and after the Teen Retreat Sim Chase on September 26th.
The Sims Mobile
Change is coming to Sims Mobile, and it’s a change Simmers have anticipated for weeks. After a month of no significant updates, players knew something new was on the horizon.
This week, beginning Monday, September 14, the Mobile Game Changers began dropping cryptic pictures into the awaiting Twitterverse void. The dropped clues depicted torn, yellowed treasure map fragments littered with such strange trinkets as golden freezer bunnies and copper skull coins. LukethePlumbob revealed his map fragment first, followed by Mal Simmerdown, Salix Cat, and more. Every few hours, a new Game Changer dropped another map fragment until onlooking Simmers were tearing out their hair with anticipation. Mobile Simmers buzzed with the possibility of an Indiana Jones-like feature, a venture into the Jungle Adventure assets of Sims 4.
If all this were not enough, TheMobileSimmer uncovered a clue that pointed Simmers firmly in a new direction. In January, the Sims Mobile News proposed a new kind of event involving an invading band of pirates. The pirates storm Simville under the tutelage of ruthless Captain Pinkbeard. SimGuruIlya posted a speculative reaction, a pair of emoji eyes, as a response to the idea.
The final, completed map revealed an ancient Aztec-like temple amid a sprawling forest, a clear allusion to Sims 4’s Jungle Adventure. In the game pack, Simmers travel to an ever-evolving ancient temple at the heart of El Selvadorada; the temple offers riddles, puzzles, artifacts, relics, walking skeletons, treasures, blessings, and ancient curses. Some of these relics are the elusive golden freezer bunny about which Simmers have speculated for days. Will the new Sims Mobile update bring pirates to the game? Can Simmers expect a new jungle island? A scavenger hunt feature? Only time will tell.
The Sims 4
In the wake of Journey to Batuu’s somewhat controversial release, the Sims 4 community largely simmered down this week. Simmers quietly played the newest game pack with far less outward irritation.
As the holiday season approaches, Sims 4 is certain to soon unveil a new, full expansion pack. Rumors have begun to swirl. After scouring the Sims 4 hiring site and dissecting SimGuruNinja’s Twitter cover picture habits, Simmers like Star Shuz have begun to wonder if the next pack will be Medieval-themed. The spin-off pack, Sims Medieval, was wildly popular, and the team has shown a penchant for new, fresh ways to play Sims 4.
What do you think is coming next? Let us know on Twitter!
Until next time, stay safe, wear your mask, and happy Simming!
Deadline: 21st September
Deadline: 25th September
Deadline: 26th September
Deadline: 27th September
Deadline: 27th September
I am thrilled to be back and I must say we have such a fantastic show for you this week, for starters we have a brand new member to the team, basically Bex who you will be hearing from shortly, Star_Shuz is back with an all star playlist of stunning Machinima, Bex will be introducing you to Prinsass Jasmine, while Solie Sims will be introducing you to Sims by Linea in our from the gallery feature, PeaFrogSims is back with loads of fun new challenges for you, we’ve got our SimmerTV showcase, Lady Sweet Tart has a brand new CC creator for us to get to know, building tips with HipHipRenee, RethaSims has a new Gallery feature and Alaeryn as assembled all the possible Sims news you could imagine from Mobile to Sims4.
Deadline: 17th September: Castle Shell
Deadline 21st September: EA Spark'd Challenge
Deadline: 23rd September: Bed & Breakfast Shell
Deadline: 24th September: Underground Homes Challenge
A great way to make your Sim’s home feel more well-planned and cohesive is to choose a good looking color palette. What is a color palette? A color palette is a spectrum of colors that often occur naturally in nature. They are colors that enhance instead of clash. Not all shades of blue belong together, nor do all shades of red or pink belong together. Rather, balance saturated colors with more muted colors to best please the eye.
Observe the fine examples below from MiMi, Keri, Bek, and Mallory.
🟦 Mimi uses a very common, very calming palette of duck egg blue and white. She accents the duck egg blue with more saturated blues in the carpeting. The different hues do not compete with each other. The light blue shade acts as the color palette’s main hue and the darker blue shade acts only as an accent.
🟥 Bold color palettes like red create a warm atmosphere while making a statement. Keri saturates her home with a rich red color while accenting with yellows, muted reds, and whites.
⬜️ Bek uses a pastel palette of pinks and white, accented with neutals like gray or black. The result is ultra-feminine, spring-like, and classy.
⬛️ Finally, Mallory ramps up richness and class in her build with black, rich browns, and accented whites.
What’s your favorite color palette to use? Tell us in the comments!
Stay safe and happy Simming!