In addition to exciting holiday events, FreePlay Simmers will receive three free holiday gifts! Simmers can expect to receive Christmas wallpaper, a well, candy cane decor, a Santa’s Workshop-like throne, holly wall hangings, door decor, festive candles, and more! Simmers will also receive six free mystery box keys, and a Baby Yoda statuette!
Christmas in London Update
With reliably impeccable timing, the Sims FreePlay team rolled out their highly anticipated holiday update on November 29th. Filled with not only spectacular holiday-themed events but also free holiday gifts for their players, this FreePlay update is sure to charm and thrill FreePlayers everywhere.
If the holiday update weren’t enough, FreePlay developers are kicking off 2021 with “Magical Morocco,” an update that transports players to the stunning sands and geometric, bold beauty of northern African architecture. In this January update, Simmers will have the chance to earn the exotic luxury items found in this part of the world.
Let’s take a closer look at each one of these events.
Influence Island [Season 3]
The December update’s influence island event offers a variety of Christmas-themed items. Players will cajole, convince, and canoodle their way to network credits. These network credits will buy Christmas trees, holiday stockings, holiday gift stacks, festive doorway decor, and playful pajamas.
If the player successfully converts seven islanders to “clan mates” before the event ends, they win the grand prize pack, which includes full-sized Christmas trees, wooden entertainment centers draped with tinsel and holly, adorable train sets, an elegant female hairstyle, hanging wreaths, adult pajamas, and more! This event will go live December 1st.
Sim Chase: Household Blitz
It wouldn’t be a FreePlay update without a Sim Chase! During a Sim Chase, the player must complete an often grueling gamut of tasks under the pressure of a time-limit. If the player successfully completes their tasks, divided into several milestones, before the rival, they’ll win a variety of prize packs. “Household Blitz” offers work-from-home goodies like corner-shaped computer desks, laundry items, cute compartmentalized kitchen storage, rice cookers, kettles, ice cream makers, tablet devices, male and female outfits, and an array of Scandinavian decor. This event also launches December 1st.
A Christmas Carole Quest!
In a long, adorably intricate quest, player Sims will save Christmas and win amazing prizes at quest milestones. Live December 12th, this quest offers the luxury items Simmers would need to build a lovely London abode. These items include comfortable white couches, tea sets, tartan sofas, a coat hanger, a traditional fireplace, hand-carved lamps, cream corner bookshelves, a walnut tv unit, an antique Tudor camera, a ruby red phone booth, tinsel lights, bay windows, outdoor plants, a brown harp, a spiral staircase, and more!
Just a few of the prizes that players can win in the new Christmas Carole Quest.
Players who manage to complete the whole quest earn a beautiful London home template called Albion Square!
This jaw-dropping, snow-covered plot seems akin to Trafalgar Square, and it comes decorated with the Christmas event items and some other event items as well. The home template is actually a row of three, narrow townhomes, just like the ones one would find in London.
Influence Island: Moroccan Kitchen
On December 25th, Influence Island’s fourth season will trigger in game. This vibrant iteration of Influence Island offers a stunning array of Moroccan-inspired items such as fruit displays, incense, intricate woven rugs, gold and silver tea sets, traditional wall tapestries, wooden shelves, gold hand basins, and the grand prize that includes elaborate counters, colorful dresses, big floppy hats, and big statuesque doors.
Sim Chase Desert Duel (Rerun)
Kam Ham also returns December 25th for a Sim Chase rerun. This timed competition offers prizes that nicely compliment the desert Moroccan theme. Players will compete against a rival to reach “check points.” Each check point rewards the player with a pack of prizes. This particular rerun boasts sand-colored counters, wood fire stoves, grills, and desert outdoor plants, messy male hair, and a long female pony tail. Teens also get light linen shirts and stylish sandals.
Magical Morocco Live Event
The new year brings a fresh live event called “Magical Morocco!” This incredible new event gives players the chance to win the sights, sounds, and smells of northern Africa. From smoky incense to woven rugs, from keyhole-shaped arched doorways to modular seating, the FreePlay developers have delivered. Every item is polished, lovingly designed, with eye-popping details certain to please even the most discerning of FreePlayers. Simmers win these prize packs by endlessly crafting candles, pottery, jewelry, and glassware like their little lives depend on it.
In addition, if players manage to complete the entire event, they will win the Moroccan Marvel— a massive desert villa resplendent with stunning northern African decor and arranged around a huge, beautiful pool.
Photos of a few of the live event prizes courtesy of Joy’s Creative Finger.
In addition to brand new maternity pack event, players can look forward to a free update that rolls out modest hijabs for women.
A preview of the new hijabs from Luke the Plumbob.
Sim Chase: Spa Skirmish
Kam Ham strolls back into town with another timed competition January 12th. His prizes this time include the Moroccan-inspired items that will heavily complement this month’s live event: colorful, geometric tiles, hanging lamps, braided bobs, regal accent tables, and much more.
What are you looking forward to in this amazing update? Tell us in the comments below!
Happy holidays, and happy Simming!
Hooked: How The Sims Mobile and All Addictive Mobile Games Keep You Clicking (Even When You Stop Having Fun.)
Hooked: “Break the Ice”
Mobile games, almost as a rule, are predatory.
The developers behind the worst offenders are masters of human psychology, and they wield the powerful behavior chemicals of dopamine and serotonin to their advantage. How? Why? This series will serve as a little bit of an exposé, delving deeply into the systems behind the mobile games many players love and unveiling how these systems trick your brain into cash-hemorrhaging habits.
To begin, the Sim Gurus and Sims Mobile Game Changers are not the ones who make these rules.
Instead, these predatory practices are the norm throughout the mobile gaming industry as a whole. Some games are more guilty of these practices than others, but on the spectrum of mobile games, from Clash of Clans to Candy Crush, all mobile games implement some semblance of the practices outlined in this article.
The bottom line is that these practices yield exponential revenue from games that are technically “free-to-play.”
Sims Mobile is no exception.
This is how.
Building your Habit
Nir Eyal’s “Hooked” model
To make money from a certain player, mobile game developers must carefully design their games to lead people through a habit-forming model. Developers “hook” players through four tried-and-true stages.
Trigger: First, the mobile game must get your attention. For Sims Mobile, this often comes in the form of a push notification. This is the event that causes you to pick up your phone or tablet to open the game. However, a trigger can also be social. Perhaps you’re scrolling Twitter or Facebook, and you see someone enjoying a brand new Sims Mobile feature or pack. This may remind you of your game, and you’ll open the application to enjoy your cute pocket people. You dress your Sims, send them to work, form relationships with other Sims, and all of these activities bathe your brain in dopamine, the reward chemical. Soon, you come to associate Sims Mobile with the pleasure you get from opening the game and seeing your Sims, encouraging you to form a habit.
Action: Following the trigger, the player often acts. Again, this action is as simple as opening the game to check your Sims. Once more, you are on your way to forming a habit by responding to the “trigger.”
Variable Reward: Once in game, the player encounters a slew of shiny baubles in the form of rewards. These awards: log-in bonuses, daily spins, randomized loot boxes, are varied; that is, the rewards change each time. This variance creates intrigue. It is this variability that encourages players to return to the game over and over.
Investment: When you, as the player, invest your time, your money, your energy, your frustrations, and your pleasures into a game, this invests you in the game. This assures developers that you are unlikely to abandon the game. The more you play and the more money you spend, the more foolish you’ll feel if you walk away from the game for good. Therefore, when you encounter another trigger, you will respond to the trigger by opening the game, and the cycle continues.
A slide from the “Let’s go Whaling” presentation at GDC
Mobile free-to-play game developers milk funds from players in a variety of ways.
Because freemium games are free, many players who enjoy such games will never spend cash on the game. In order to recoup revenue, developers must wring as much money as they can from the players who are willing to pay. This results in exorbitant purchasable pack prices, but... not at first.
At first, developers must “hook” a player by converting them from a “free-to-play” player into a paying player.
Developers do this by offering a reasonably priced pack early on in the game. For many Sims Mobile players, this was the Beginner’s Pack. For just $4.99, players received a chunk of currency, limited-time furniture, and some cute clothing items.
By making this offer too good to pass up, developers can convince even the staunchest free-to-play player into shelling out real-world cash. Once the player buys such a good bargain, their brains now reconfigure the image of themselves in their minds. “Five dollars here and there isn’t bad,” a player might say to themselves. Of course, after this initial offer, the packs grow pricier.
After a while, the player forms a purchasing habit. Having spent once, it doesn’t feel like that big of a deal to spend again.
When a player has played the game for a while, they will become eager to make “progress.” They’ll want to reach the next level, max out careers and hobbies, and build the best home they can. At this stage, game developers offer “pay for progress packs.”
For example, in Sims Mobile, players can upgrade the Eco Workshop with recycle tokens. Players can grind for these tokens, investing their time completing llamazooms, or they can buy these tokens in a series of progressively more expensive packs.
You can spend time or money to progress. Developers want both, but they much prefer the latter.
Later in the game, once a player has effectively maxed progress, they fall into the “consumables” phase. Essentially, players who are here find enjoyment in collecting more virtual items. They can do so through events or, again, purchasing these items through limited time offers.
Another GDC slide from “Let’s Go Whaling.”
Developers purposely create limited-time offers to panic player brains into making in-game purchases. Scarcity frightens players; no one wants to miss out on the next cool thing. So instead of saving their pennies, players shell out cash for items they don’t need just because they know the item will soon disappear. This is why most Sims Mobile offers have a timer.
“You have six days and twenty hours to spend $11.99.”
An increasing number of Sims Mobile players are disgruntled because they now find themselves in the “consumables” phase. Hopelessly hooked onto the pocket people mobile game, these veterans find themselves bored with lack of progressive gameplay and the poor quality of offered virtual products.
Here is the rub: veteran players want consumables, but they also crave the progressive gameplay that hooked them in the first place.
Sims Mobile must balance quality gameplay with in-app purchases to keep players playing and, honestly, spending happily.
Will they? Only time will tell.
Creative Curb Appeal
While creating an impressive exterior for a build is hard enough, managing jaw-dropping, eye-popping curb appeal is even harder. What exactly is curb appeal? Curb appeal is the view of a home from “the curb.”
In the Sims Mobile, this exterior view is the first thing visiting Sims see when they visit a home. Curb appeal consists of landscaping and gating, and it can be difficult to get right. After exhausting creativity on the home, even the most innovative builders are often spent, and landscaping is treated as an afterthought.
Great landscaping, however, elevates a great build into an awe-inspiring one.
Consider the following examples from Marina, Min, and Serra Tsm!
Tips for Top-Tier Landscaping
🌱Build a drawbridge: Marina creates the illusion of a drawbridge by creating two large areas of blue space using colored outdoor tiles. She uses brown patio pavement to separate the two blue areas and then creates the illusion of depth by lining the patio pavement with marble side tables.
🌱The pencil thin trees are a wonderful addition to the yard: they have s small footprint and are compact and sophisticated.
🌱Hide “rough edges” with flowers and hedges
🌱Fill large empty spaces with generous trees.
🌱Make your palace into a castle: Build hefty walls around your build by creating long, razor thin rooms. Create the illusion of “towers” by playing with wall height. Check out Min’s stunning example below.
🌱Finally, heed Serra’s example by separating your yard into distinct areas. Use gates, hedges, or dividers to give your home a luxurious look.
What are your favorite curb appeal tricks? Tell us in the comments!
“Holiday Magic”: The Newest Sims Spark’d Challenge
Not long after the most recent Sims Spark’d Challenge — Creature Creation— a new Sims Spark’d Challenge has gone live to keep creative Simmers styling, building, and storytelling to new creative heights.
This newest Sims Spark’d Challenge, deemed “Holiday Magic,” encourages Simmers to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year through Create-a-Sim, Build Mode, and Storytelling.
As always, interested Simmers will choose one of the aforementioned categories and create something that fits a holiday theme. Entries are judged according to four criteria: creativity, craftsmanship, originality, and aesthetics.
Those selected as a Top Spark’d Creator are spotlighted on the official Sims Spark’d website at the end of the challenge. “Holiday Magic” will run from November 23rd- December 14th.
Of course, contestants must adhere to rules as they participate, and they are as follows:
Will you participate? Tell us in the comments below!
Sims Mobile Game Changers drop Gamer's Paradise
Sims Mobile Game Changers announced a host of new playable events and packs today. After Reddit user Binjey leaked videos and pictures of both upcoming Wumples and incoming Treasure Hunt prizes, Simmers began anticipating the next set of mobile events. Would Firemonkeys satiate Simmers with the Thanksgiving content many are craving? Would they skip to more festive holiday content like Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, or Diwali? These questions were decisively answered November 23rd.
New Event: Gamer's Paradise Treasure Hunt
The next Sims Mobile event will suit a Black Friday theme. Simmers will dig for Black Friday-like tech deals like a grand battlestation, a Virtual Reality station, and some hip gaming cave items like quirky, steel shelving and chic carpeting. Dropping November 28th, the long and short of this Treasure Hunt's prizes are as follows:
-Cave Crystal Wall Light
-On the walls Skateboards
-Paint Stroke Rug
-Angular Wireless Speaker
-Comfy and Cool Couch
-Ergonomic Desk Chair
-Football Fanatics Poster
-Skirting board LED
-Football Fanatics Poster
-Comfortably Chill Outfit
-Scaled up Dance Floor
-Asteroid Blaster Arcade Cabinet
-Almost Real VR Headset
-Two-Tone Dreads (for female Sims)
This guiding quest is what unlocks the final treasure hunt location and offers a special LED wall light upon completion,
This purchasable bonus pack gives Treasure Hunt players and extra boost during the event.
Simmers can expect two new Wumples in the coming weeks. On November 27th, Wumples #43 will trigger, and on December 7th, Wumples #44 will trigger. In return for completing extensive event to-do lists, Simmers will earn a collection of decorative fall items and clutter items, respectively. Details for the upcoming Wumples Wishlist are as follows:
WHAT: Wumples #43
WHEN: November 27th
-Flying Fish Carving
-Carefully Carved Leaves
-10 fashion gems
WHAT: Wumples #44
WHEN: December 7th
-By the Sink Tooth brushes
-Practical Bath Towels
-10 fashion gems
Lastly, as one might expect during the Black Friday season, Firemonkeys offers players a collection of reasonably priced in-app purchase packs for both new items and rare currency. The details of all the offered packs and their offer dates are as follows:
WHAT: Bronze Black Friday Pack
WHEN: November 25
PRICE: 4.99 USD
-Supremely stylish Speakers
-Long and Thin Wall Light
-Calm me Down Tea Brewer
WHAT: Silver Black Friday Pack
WHEN: November 25
PRICE: 7.99 USD
-Wooden Standing Lamp
-Movie Time Popcorn Machine
-Quietly Quilted Sofa
-Gone Running Track Suit (For men)
-Comfort Time Slippers
WHAT: Gold Black Friday Pack
WHEN: November 25th
PRICE: 19.99 USD
-Feature Pieces Wall Clock
-All in One Entertainment Unit
-Home Cinema Stereo Set
-Trash Can Of the Future
-Quietly Quilted Chair
-From Up High Dress
WHAT: Friday Night Cinema Pack
WHEN: November 25th
PRICE: "FREE" (After buying all three of the other packs.)
PRIZE: Huge Movie Screen
WHAT: On the Walls Pack
WHEN: November 28th
PRICE: 5.99 USD
-Bundled Up Fox Print
-Wooden Wall Planter
-Colors of Nature
-With Love Embroidery
-LED Fairy Lights
WHAT: Geek-out Collectibles
WHEN: December 5th
PRICE: 7.99 USD
-Hero Replicas Display
-Looking Sharp Display
-Peel Away Wall Art
-Lots O' Boxes Shelves
Many thanks to Mal Simmerdown, Salix Cat, and Nath TSM for compiling all this information for the community each month.
What are you looking forward to most in this upcoming update? Tell us in the comments!
Weird and Wonderful Winners
Sims Spark’d is a large scale competition in which every day Simmers can compete. After choosing a category — stylist (create-a-Sim), builder (build mode), or storytelling (often videos or comics, Simmers respond to a certain prompt within that caregory.
The latest Spark’d prompt from the Sims team was Halloween. Stylists created brand new creatures “never seen before” in the world of Sims, builders created stunning haunted houses, and storytellers wove terrifying tales.
The winners of this competition were announced November 23rd, 2020.
Check them out here:
As some of the western world braces for a cold, dark winter under the looming shadow of a Coronavirus third wave, many gamers are battening down the hatches once again to spend more time in the pixelated worlds they love most. Simmers are no exception. American players prepare themselves for their most isolated Thanksgiving holiday in recent history, and they turn to their games and gaming communities for both company and comfort. In response, developers are cranking out patches, purchasable packs, and playable events to keep Simmers satiated for the holidays. FreePlay wound through the last of its November events this week; Sims Mobile offered players pack deals and an event rerun; and Sims 4 served a plate of hot patches for its recent Snowy Escape mishaps.
The Sims FreePlay
After a new Maternity pack released on November 15th, Sims FreePlay players enjoyed SimChase 21 on November 17th. This event matches the player with a rival Sim, challenging the two to a race against time. If players manage to beat the rival at several grueling events, then they receive some cozy furniture and female hairstyles in return.
Urban Chic is an event which triggers in Sims FreePlay on November 20th, allowing Simmers the chance to win sleek, fashion-forward wear for their pixel people.
Sims FreePlay developers also announced their Share Your Care Competition winners this week. “Hundreds of Sims players shared the care in SimTown, helping to bring kindness & goodwill to those around them,” tweeted the official FreePlay account. “The winners of the Care Bears plush bears & the 2.5 Million Simoleons are:
Congratulations to all the winners, and enjoy not only the plush but also that cold, hard cash!
The Sims Mobile
Meanwhile, Sims Mobile players entertained a rerun of Treatsylvania Sweet Treats on November 12th. The rerun allowed players who missed out another crack at winning an upright coffin, a dark lady dress and hair style, and other gothic accoutrements. Players who attempted this event before began where they last left it. Players who completed the event did not see the event trigger at all.
The newest Wumples, which offers a tabletop helm, mounted ship sculpture, and ten fashion gems as prizes in return for 5-day to do list leapt in game November 17th. It was quickly followed by November 19th purchasable pack called the “floral fashion pack.” Boasting new male hair, a casual, flower printed jacket, skin-tight flower print leggings, sneakers, a loose-fitting outfit, and a handful of simoleons, this pack popped in game for $8.99 USD.
In other news, Sims Mobile developers rolled ut an in-game survey that asked players about their intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for playing Sims Mobile. The survey, now available, asked players such questions as, “What goals are you working toward right now in the game?” “Would you recommend this game to a friend?” “What is most important to you in the game?” Well-known mobile Simmers spoke up with brutal honesty, citing the game’s persistent glitches and unsatisfying, repetitive gameplay as the game’s biggest downfall.
Unofficially, renegade Reddit user Binjey leaked new photos of what appears to be the next Sims Mobile Treasure hunt and Wumples event. If the leak is correct, Simmers will soon dig, scrape, and investigate to earn gamer-themed prizes. The grand prize is a VR gaming station, a gamer’s battle station, and a female dreaded hairstyle.
Lastly, any self-quarantining Simmers may attend Sims Nation’s 3-day Simsgiving. The Facebook Group will host holiday movie watch parties, hold football team colors contests, enjoy recipe swaps, and far more.
Official Sims Nation Simsgiving Schedule
Leaked images of an upcoming Treasure Hunt’s prizes from Reddit user Binjey
Leaked in-game images of an upcoming Treasure Hunt’s prizes from Reddit user Benji.
Leaked images of an upcoming Treasure Hunt from Reddit user Binjey.
The Sims 4
The days following Snowy Escape’s release were perhaps predictably troubling. Eager PC and console players quickly tempered their excitement as their games repeatedly sputtered and crashed to a halt. Days later, the team released a patch for consoles and PCs. The patch corrected the crashing issue for some and imbued other games with endless loading screens. The patch was patched November 19th, and we can only wait to see if this patch was finally successful.
Until next time, stay safe, stay warm, mask up, and happy Simming!