Donald Trump is nothing if not unpredictable. Does he love Paul Ryan? Does he want the Speaker of the House to step down? Will the whole world be a barren wasteland by the time my future children are in 8th grade?
The Sims 3, on the other hand, is a formula. There is a way things go in the game, predetermined by equations and probabilities and others things too boring to talk about.
So I decided to create a Trump character in The Sims to see how he fared in a virtual environment. I had three big questions: if I made an exact replica of Trump in The Sims 3, how closely would he follow the real Trump’s path, and would it even be possible? Can The Sims 3 tell me what is going to happen next? And perhaps most importantly: can I play The Sims 3 at work and not get in trouble?
I’m happy and delighted to report that the answer on all fronts is a resounding “yes,” but as they say, the journey was the blah blah blah real prize.
1. Getting to know the ins and outs of Trump’s face
First of all, Donald Trump has a face that is not meant to be made in The Sims 3.
The character creator, in all it’s 2009 sophistication, simply cannot handle the Donald. I cannot stress how many times the game crashed before our President ever got to start his life because I spent too much time trying to perfect the unique and impossible variations in his skin tone.
Melania Trump, on the other hand, was born to be a Sim. A few adjustments to a pre-made face, the first red dress I could find, and she was ready to pose for a Trump family portrait.
2. What makes the Donald the Donald?
The most important part of making the Donald was picking his traits. Traits determine how your Sim interacts with other Sims in the town, and if I wanted to enable him to make decisions similar to ones the real Trump would, I had to pick accurately.
Unfortunately, Complicated Childhood Relationship with Father Resulting in Questionable Decision-Making Practices Spurred by Clinical Narcissism was not an option. I hoped that the combination of Ambitious, Childish, Hot-Headed, and Inappropriate would effectively add up to the same result.
Then I added in Evil just for fun. Possibly also for truth, depending on the results of this whole Russia thing, but I digress.
His lifetime goal was set to “Leader of the Free World,” his favorite food set to french fries, and his astrological sign truthfully set to Gemini which is something I didn’t know before this journey but wow, does it make sense.
3. Manufacturing Sim privilege
There are a lot of defaults in The Sims 3 that are painfully plebeian and would not shape the Donald Trump that is currently serving as our president. For one, Sims have a default balance of 20,000 Simoleons to start their life and career, while Trump was famously loaned $1 million by his father.
Luckily, The Sims 3 has it’s own no-questions-asked $1 million gift: it’s called a cheat code, and it goes by the name of “motherlode” typed in 20 times (50,000 Simoleons each).
Due to the mass of his wealth, Sim Trump was instantly given “Celebrity Status” which offered him perks like free food and everyone he encountered gesticulating to him.
With a real estate empire, established celebrity status, and directionless ego, everything was in place for Donald to be handed the presidency.
Sim Trump even wanted to do things the real Trump would never consider:
4. The road to the presidency is paved in, um, hard work?
At this point, the game threw a wrench in my plans for Trump: there was no option to just apply to become Leader of the Free World. No league of wealthy Sims to see Donald’s celebrity status and be like “sure, why not.” No foreign governments looking for an opportunity to infiltrate the highest office of government. Sad!
Per standard Sims protocol, Trump would have to serve as an intern and then work his way up. He’d have to complete 10 different levels of government before being elected. The Sims 3 could not even fathom a universe in which someone who’s handed level 10 of the business track just… gets to be Leader of the Free World.
For a moment, I wistfully remembered when that used to be true of our world too. When being even a junior senator with several terms under your belt meant intense scrutiny over your qualifications. When being a businessman didn’t make you qualified to run a country in the same way that being a career politician doesn’t make you qualified to run several Carrabba’s Italian Grills, at least not without reading the franchise owner’s manual first.
Then Sim Trump kissed a vampire and I snapped out of it and soldiered on.
Donald dutifully climbed the government ladder, moving up quickly using a combination of winning tactics like sucking up to his boss, schmoozing, and being a tiny bit corrupt.
I had to monitor him constantly to stop him from picking fights, insulting strangers, and accepting bribes. It was only his nature, but oh my god, it was exhausting.
I was beginning to feel like Ivanka: constantly vigilant, responsible for this creation whether I wanted to be or not. Unfortunately, I don’t have the family funds to purchase massages to rub out all that Donald stress, which I assume she gets three times a day. I poured my frustrations into a design for a new luxury diamond bangle.
After what ended up being weeks of gameplay later, it happened.
5. Our 45th Sim President, Donald Trump
Donald Trump, the Sim, got elected Leader of the Free World. By this point an “elder” Sim, I wish I was lying when I say that I had a very hard time getting him to do anything but watch TV in his bathrobe.
He achieved his singular goal, what he was literally programmed to desire, and once he got it, all he wanted to do was retire.
Six days later he died.
Grim, right? Like, come on.
So a computer-generated life dictated by a few specific inputs pretty closely predicted what’s been unfolding in front of us this entire time? Yikes.
And what happens next is that he dies?
The Sims 3 is not known for being a foreboding game, nor a reliable psychic, but nonetheless I leave this game with more questions than I started (mostly still about the dossier), and a few bets that I’m starting to feel grossly confident about.