It’s not been that long since Sims Sessions came to an end. The limited-time event was the first of its kind in The Sims series, debuting in The Sims 4. While it was a great event that was generally well-received by fans of The Sims, some can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by certain aspects. If The Sims ever hosted another music festival in the game in the future, could they make the experience better?
WHAT IS SIMS SESSIONS?
For those unfamiliar with Sims Sessions, it was a live in-game music festival that took place from the 29th of June to the 7th of July earlier this year. During that period, every Sunday in-game between 12pm and 12am, your Sims could head down to Magnolia Blossom Park in Willow Creek to watch some artists perform on-stage at a temporary camp site.
This weekly event was meant to reflect music festivals in real life. The music line-up had three real-life artists, performing in their Sim forms in the game. The artists were Joy Oladokun, Glass Animals, and Bebe Rexha. Each of these artists performed one of their hit songs on stage to a crowd of Sims. Sims Sessions also included a food stand for hungry Sims, tents to rest in, and a merchandise stand where you could buy exclusive festival t-shirts.
(YouTube video by Valsimmer)
WHAT WAS THE GENERAL REACTION TO SIMS SESSIONS?
Now that the event has ended, it gives Sims players time to reflect on the experience. Sims Sessions received a mostly positive reaction, which is great given that it was The Sims’ first attempt at a live in-game music festival. The main praise was directed at the performers themselves. Players were impressed at the live in-game performances the artists gave in their Sim forms, singing (in Simlish) and playing the piano to the audience. People felt as if they had attended a real concert, which was just what we needed after music festivals in the real world had been cancelled this past year or so.
However, while the artists themselves didn’t fail to deliver an amazing performance, many people felt that the same couldn’t be said about the festival itself. Criticism was directed at how small and underwhelming the venue was. The festival site was tucked away in a corner of the park. The stage wasn’t very big, being a small wooden stage with a piano. Whilst the artists performed though, they were accompanied by stage effects such as a spotlight and bubbles.
It wasn’t just the stage that was an issue though. Players were disappointed by the food stand, which didn’t offer anything new or special (mostly cupcakes, but also pizza, parfait, hot dogs, and hamburgers). The merchandise stand was also felt to be a bit of a letdown. They did offer some cool unique t-shirts, but the rest of the stuff on offer was a bit random. You could buy camping equipment such as tents and chairs, music skill books, and a guitar. These were related to the music festival, but it would have been nicer to have some more unique stuff, such as posters or hats. There was also a stand where you could sell (or buy) random stuff such as crystals and snow globes.
The festival site also included tents that your Sims could use to nap in, but it seemed a little pointless as the festival ended at midnight. If you hung around after the festival had ended, everything would vanish, including the tents, so you wouldn’t be able to camp out overnight. If the event had gone onto the next day or so, the tents would have made more sense and had more purpose.
All-in-all, Sims Sessions wasn’t a disaster. It was generally well-received by Sims fans, but could it have been better? There’s always room for improvement, if EA decides to go ahead with such an event again in the future. So, if there is going to be another music festival in The Sims, what could they do better next time?
HAVE A BIGGER VENUE
First off, to have a great show, you need to have a great venue. As the first music festival hosted in The Sims 4, Sims Sessions took place at Magnolia Blossom Park in Willow Creek. Willow Creek is one of two neighborhoods that comes with the base game of The Sims 4. Magnolia Blossom Park is a big park in Willow Creek, where Sims can meet up and hang out. Sims Sessions could have taken place in Desert Bloom Park in Oasis Springs, the other base game neighborhood.
EA probably went with Magnolia Blossom Park because it was more suitable, with more space to place a festival. Perhaps since it was the first music festival and EA were testing the waters, they chose to keep the festival site relatively small, having it neatly tucked away in a corner of the park, with a smallish stage and the necessities of a music festival.
Could they have used a bigger venue though? Did Sims Sessions need to be so contained? Perhaps EA were being a little cautious for their first festival. Next time though, they could ramp it up a notch, making the next festival bigger and better.
They could start by having the festival take place at its own special site, rather than being added to another lot. This would allow them to really fill the space up, with more stands, more tents, and most importantly, a bigger stage. In The Sims 4: Get To Work expansion pack, your detective, doctor, and scientist Sims go to work at a place that isn’t accessible from the neighborhood map, so why not do the same for a big music festival?
The Sims isn’t unfamiliar with big stages. In The Sims 3: Showtime expansion pack, Sims could perform on big stages, whether it was in a park or at a concert hall. These stages were much bigger than the small wooden stage used for Sims Sessions. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with a smaller stage, as the main focus is on the artist performing, and sometimes, the artist can get swallowed up on a massive stage.
There are benefits to having a bigger stage though. The Sims Sessions stage seemed only to have room for the artist performing, as well as the grand piano they played. On a bigger stage, they could move about the stage more, interacting with the audience (more on this in a moment). They could also be joined by backing singers or dancers (or both). There could also be more instruments present on stage, inviting the idea of having bands perform, rather than a solo artist. Dave Bayley was representing his band Glass Animals, as he was lead singer, but wouldn’t it have been cool if the whole band had been there?
MORE INTERACTION BETWEEN THE ARTISTS AND FESTIVAL GOERS
Of course, the main focus of music festivals are the artists themselves. Sims Sessions hosted 3 special guest artists just for this event: Joy Oladokun, Glass Animals (represented by Dave Bayley), and the headline act, Bebe Rexha. Each artist is excellent, in and out of The Sims 4. They’ve got great songs in English, which translated fabulously into Simlish. They owned the stage every time they stepped on to perform, captivating not just the watching Sims, but the players. You really felt like you were watching them perform on stage at a real concert. Could the experience have been better though? Possibly.
While the artists didn’t fail to deliver on their performances, the game, unfortunately, didn’t deliver with the interactions with the artists. Basically, you couldn’t. All your Sims could do was watch their spellbinding performances, as well as wave and take photos. You couldn’t actually interact with the stars themselves though. You couldn’t go up to them and speak to them, or ask for their autograph or take a selfie with them. There was no backstage area where the artists hung out during the festival. They simply materialized out of thin air to walk on stage, performed, bowed to the audience, then walked off stage again.
Once they were off stage, they disappeared into nothingness. Neither Joy nor Dave nor Bebe appeared in your Sim’s neighborhoods. Their only purpose was to perform on stage.
It was a shame you couldn’t actually interact with any of the artists. It would have been great if your Sims could chat to them or ask for their autograph or take selfies with them. In The Sims 4: Get Famous expansion pack, the celebrity system was introduced, allowing you to have celebrities in your game. Even your own Sims could become celebrities. Sims can ask for a celebrity’s autograph and take selfies with them, so why couldn’t we do this in the game during Sims Sessions?
In real life, meeting a celebrity and getting to interact with them personally isn’t easy. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could get an in-game autograph or selfie with a famous artist, which you can keep and display in your Sim’s home? It would almost be like having the real thing, and it would make the whole experience a bit more magical.
HAVE MORE FACILITIES AND MERCHANDISE
While Sims Sessions did feature a food stand and merchandise stand, as well as tents, it could have had more. Once again, EA were probably testing the waters with their first live in-game festival, but now they know they can pull it off, they can really step it up next time.
Let’s start with food. Sims Sessions offered the classic festival grub such as hot dogs and burgers and pretzels, but what else could they do? Perhaps they could offer more variety of food. Along with the usual basic grub, they could offer gourmet food, for Sims looking for something a bit more upmarket. Or, why not have something more exotic on offer? The Sims 4: City Living expansion pack introduced international food stalls, such as Mexican and Indian.
Sims might want to sample something other than burgers and hot dogs. What about stands serving seafood or vegetarian options? They could also do stalls that sell ice cream or cotton candy, or coffee or milkshakes. Maybe this could be an opportunity to introduce something new to The Sims 4?
What about the merchandise stand? Sims Sessions sold five different t-shirts, costing around §15 – 25, depending on the t-shirt. You could get a Sims Sessions t-shirt, or a t-shirt with one of the 3 performers. These t-shirts were exclusive to Sims Sessions, and once your Sim bought them, they could access them in Create A Sim. The t-shirts were cool, but could they have offered more? Potentially.
At the same stand, you could also buy a range of music festival relevant items, such as music skill books and camping gear, but there was nothing new or unique like the t-shirts. What could they have had instead then? They had the Sims Sessions t-shirts, but why stop there? Why not hats, or hoodies? Special wrist bands or funky sunglasses? What about cool glow-in-the-dark objects or clothing for when it gets dark? What about posters? You could pin up Sims Sessions posters at your Sim’s home, as a souvenir. We’ve had free stuff being introduced in patches in the past, so why not include them with something like music festivals?
Finally, there’s tents. In between performances, your Sims probably want a place to hang out and relax. After a long day of watching shows, your Sims will want to crash out. No music festival experience would be complete without tents. Unfortunately, during Sims Sessions, you didn’t really get much of an opportunity to use tents. There was only a short interlude between the 3 performances, and at midnight, the event would end. You couldn’t camp out overnight at the park, because everything would disappear. Sims Sessions only took place one day every week in the game.
So, how could the tent issue be solved? Well, that goes onto the next main point…
MAKE THE EVENT LAST LONGER
This isn’t talking about how long the Sims Sessions event was available for. EA gave us plenty of time to experience Sims Sessions in the game, with just over a week. What this is referring to was how long the Sims Sessions festival lasted in the game itself. It would only take place every Sunday in the game, starting at midday and ending at midnight. Soon after midnight, everything at the site would disappear, stage and all, not reappearing until the following Sunday.
While this does reflect real life, as festivals obviously don’t go on forever, in The Sims 4, it doesn’t give you a lot of time. Once you’d finished watching the performances, you would have to wait until the following Sunday to experience it all again, which can feel like a long time. While experiencing the festival once or twice is enough for some people, what if you could experience more?
In The Sims 4: City Living and Snowy Escape expansion packs, the neighborhoods (the city of San MyShuno and Mt. Komorebi, respectively) play host to their own festivals. They don’t have music festivals, but they do have festivals that take place every week on certain days. For example, San MyShuno has a Spice Festival every Friday, and Mt. Komorebi has a Festival of Snow every Saturday. Having all these festivals on different days gives your Sims something to do throughout the week. Whilst all these festivals only last for a few hours, perhaps Sims Sessions or another future music festival could be the first to host a continuous week-long event.
Having a music festival taking place throughout the week rather than being restricted to just one day a week will give your Sims more to experience. The festival could host more artists, or the artists could perform more than one song. Each day could have something different going on. Perhaps each day could be dedicated to a type of music, such as pop or jazz or rock. Or, maybe each day could have a different artist perform, going through a medley of songs.
This would give your Sims more variety when watching the performances, and more to watch. Also, it would give your Sims a reason to use those tents. If the festival was taking place every day, instead of heading home, your Sims could spend the week at the festival showgrounds, camping overnight in tents.
ALLOW YOUR SIMS TO PERFORM TOO
While Sims Sessions had their main acts take to the stage to entertain the crowd, one cool feature they touched on was letting your own Sims go on stage and perform. After all the three artists had performed and left the stage, there was a period before the end of the festival where your Sim and NPC Sims could finally go up on stage themselves. They could even play the piano the three stars had performed on and earn some tips. Unfortunately, because Sims Sessions ended at midnight, this didn’t give your Sims a lot of time to take the stage. Perhaps future events could make this better?
If such big stars are allowed on stage to sing their hit songs, why can’t your own Sims? If they’ve got a great talent or a song to share, why not let them? Your Sims could join the star-filled line-up at the music festival. Maybe festival goers could buy t-shirts and posters with their picture on it? On stage, you could choose which song you’re going to perform, what costume you’re going to wear, and add any special effects or props to add to your Sim’s performance. In The Sims 3: Showtime, you could customize the stage with props and set up special effects and lights, as well as dress up for the performance. It’s been done before, so why not again?
Nobody’s saying that Sims Sessions was a waste of time and shouldn’t have happened. Nor is anyone suggesting that it was poor or even a disaster. Many people thought that Sims Sessions was a great experience, and for a first-time event, it actually went pretty well. However, if EA did decided to go ahead and do another in-game music festival like Sims Sessions, there’s a lot more they can do. There’s a lot of potential for such an event, and if they made it really big and spectacular, it would surely be one that everyone wouldn’t forget in a hurry and would be diving into their game to experience.