It gives me no pleasure to report that I have logged 649 hours to date playing The Sims 4. It is, I think, an objectively bad video game, a boring, shallow imitation of my beloved Sims 3, which no longer runs on my computer. (Planned obsolescence; love that!) Nonetheless, nothing relaxes my neurotic prey-animalian brain quite like a few solid hours of Simming, especially if I can throw an audiobook on in the background. I have read a lot of books this way. Very fun to plow through Wolf Hall while attempting the 100 Baby Challenge with a Sim-ified Anne Boleyn.
Which brings me to my latest brilliant idea: The Secret History Challenge for The Sims 4.
Now, because gameplay in The Sims 4 leaves a lot to be desired, but we’re all addicted regardless, players have devised a lot of “challenges” to keep gameplay fun and rewarding. Among the most popular is the 100 Baby Challenge, the subject of a 49-part-and-counting Buzzfeed series. The idea is that you try to raise a hundred babies by a hundred different fathers, which sounds like fun until you’re contending with a household full of crying, shitting toddlers and you’re too preoccupied passing out in puddles of your own piss to take care of them. The Legacy Challenge is a classic, as is the vaguely eugenicist Breed Out the Weird Challenge. And then there are really intense, hyperspecific ones: the Disney Princess Challenge, the Game of Thrones Challenge, the Asylum Challenge.
So, in that vein, and in honour of the recent release of the Discover University expansion pack, I have devised The Secret History Challenge. To win, you and your classmates have to murder Bunny Corcoran while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. And look, I’ve even made the whole Hampden gang to get you started!
This household is available in the gallery under the name “The Secret History” and the username peytonology. I’m so sorry, but I could not for the life of me figure out how to hyperlink to the listing. If anyone wants to educate my dumb ass, I will update this post.
Part of the fun of The Sims 4 is that other people upload their creations to the gallery, which means I had a whole bunch of celebrity Sims to choose from while casting this challenge. The household thus includes the following Sims, re-styled by me:
- Camilla Macaulay: Saoirse Ronan by somewhsome
- Henry Winter: Adam Driver by Darth_Geno
- Richard Papen: Ben Platt by raphaela2710
- Francis Abernathy: Timothee Chalamet by FullTimeSim3r
- Bunny Corcoran: I was so, so stumped casting Bunny; I kept asking myself, “Who’s an asshole? Who’s the biggest asshole I can think of?” until, finally, I landed on Justin Bieber, by ramifunes9
As for Camilla’s twin brother, Charles, it was just a matter of plugging Camilla into the game’s “Play With Genetics” option, and generating her twin:
Here’s a slideshow of the whole gang, traits and all:
1. Enroll Richard, Camilla, Charles, Francis, Henry, and Bunny in the same university, and have them all maintain an A+ average.
In the Secret History household I’ve created, all six of them begin with the Academic aspiration, so they’ll earn aspiration points for going to class, doing homework, and other scholarly activities. No cheats are allowed, so you’ll have to take out some student loans to enroll them all. You can move them all into the same dorm, but that whole process is kind of a pain in the ass, so it’s fine to just have them live off-campus, too. Their majors are up to you; choose Language & Literature for maximum canon accuracy.
All six of them must maintain an A+ average, because Julian Morrow will settle for nothing less.
2. Have Henry, Camilla, Charles, Francis, and Bunny join the Secret Society
The Discover University expansion pack includes a Secret Society whose members must don robes and masks and make sacrifices in the woods. How fucked up is that? Have everyone but Richard join it, then host a party to celebrate, and murder one of the guests during said party.
3. Have every member of the household declare Bunny an Enemy
After completing the above steps, degrade everyone’s relationships with Bunny until every member of the household considers him a Sworn Enemy. And then…
4. Kill Bunny
Finally, kill Bunny! There are so many ways to accomplish this in The Sims; unfortunately, none of them involve pushing him into a ravine. You can, if you have the Outdoor Retreat game pack, harvest poisonous mushrooms and feed them to him, but you’ll want to make sure your cooking skill is up to par in order to avoid self-immolation, as with my poor Henry, above.
Among the acceptable ways to kill Bunny include:
- Lighting him on fire
- Drowning him
- Starving him
- Electrocuting him
- Feeding him to the Cow Plant
- Forcing him to sit in the Sauna until he dies of heat exhaustion
- Making him eat low-quality pufferfish sushi
- Poisoning him during a jungle expedition
- Having him bitten by fireflies or lightning bugs
- Sending him outside on a cold day to die of hypothermia
- Sending him outside on a hot day to die of heatstroke
- Sending him outside on a stormy day to be struck by lightning
- Having him sniff a flower arrangement that’s been scented with a Death Flower
- Letting him contract Rabid Rodent Fever after being bitten by a rat
- Making him so angry he dies
- Making him so embarrassed he dies
- Making him so laugh so hard he dies
Donna Tartt wishes she’d thought of these.
If you complete all of the above steps — congratulations, you’ve won the Secret History Challenge! But that’s not all…
Bonus: Have Richard ask Camilla to be his girlfriend; have her reject him.
It’s not The Secret History if Richard isn’t shooting his shot only to get shot down.
Additional Bonus: Make Francis and Richard WooHoo.
That’s the Sim euphemism for fucking, because this game is rated T for Teen. Francis and Richard can WooHoo in a bed, a hot tub, a backyard observatory, a rocket ship, a bush, a closet, a tent, a sauna, a coffin, a lighthouse, a pile of leaves, a vault, a waterfall, or a shower. The choice is yours, just as long as they get it in at least once during the murderfest.