Depending on what movies you’re watching, high school can be the best or worst time of your life, no in-betweens. In real life, however, high school is just a place you go to before you’re sent into the world, an “adult” in the eyes of society. Maybe you miss those teen years, that precious time when you could dedicate yourself to discovering who you are.
The Sims 4: High School Years lets you experience the highs and lows of high school, either for the first time or as a nostalgic trip. Even if the last time you were in a high school as a bright-eyed student was more than a decade ago, some things never really change. You’ll find yourself laughing and cringing as your teens try to navigate life, and, maybe, you’ll even find yourself wistfully daydreaming of days long past.
10 Sending Risky Messages
Risky DMs don’t have to be romantic in nature – sometimes it’s scary to message people you just want to be friends with, or even people you just want to ask a basic question. Messaging a crush, though? Especially when you’re trying to imply that you have feelings for them? Terrifying if it goes wrong. Exhilarating if it goes right.
Your Sims can feel this now, too, through the new Social Bunny app on their phones. If you choose to, you can send some mildly flirtatious DMs to the object of your affections (with lots of pillow fight talk, for whatever reason.) And, even though this action has zero stakes for you in the real world, it can bring back memories of either awkwardly flirting or being awkwardly flirted with. Probably with a lot of emojis, or, if you’re old enough, nudges on obsolete instant messengers or just plain old pen and paper.
9 Obsessively Checking Social Bunny
The Sims didn’t need a social media website, really, yet Social Bunny exists to give you another place to stress about your online image. When you should be experiencing everything the pack offers, you may instead be checking Social Bunny.
Someone may have sent you a message, tagged you, or reacted to your post. Maybe it’s your BFF. Or your crush. The button on your Sim’s phone is always glowing with notifications, and you get a day-end message to see all the exciting things that happened online for your Sim to see. You know, just in case you forgot that social media is all-consuming.
8 Finding Your Style
With Trendi, a new app for your Sims to buy and sell customized clothing, it’s never been easier to try out new styles. This is crucial for finding your unique voice for teen Sims and teens in general. Self-expression and freedom have never been easier.
Since your Sims now have outfit preferences, you can also make this a core part of your teen Sim’s personality. And, maybe, you can make sure it is decidedly not the preference of their parents. You remember how it feels to have adults disapprove of your clothing choices, so give your teen Sims the same joys of tiny, even petty, rebellion.
7 Am I Doing This Right?
All teens are awkward in their own ways, even the “cool” ones. High School Years introduces the Socially Awkward trait, which encompasses the vibe of wanting to fit in while feeling like you’re a force for social destruction. Your Sim may feel compelled to ask their partner or friend if they’re doing things right, which is, maybe ironically, good communication skills at work.
When you’re a little socially awkward or anxious, it feels like you’re constantly failing some unseen test, so it’s nice to have someone telling you (and your Sim) that they’re doing just fine.
6 Getting Crushed (Emotionally)
Have you ever had a romantic crush before? The kind of crush that gets your knees shaking, your cheeks burning, and your mind emptying itself of all intelligible thought? Well, now your Sims can experience this terrible, wonderful feeling for themselves, with a feeling that somehow seems more vibrant than the rest, fitting for teenage puppy love.
You don’t have to let your teen Sim suffer with a crush if you don’t want to. They can move on if you let them. But why do that when watching the drama unfold is a core aspect of playing The Sims? Besides, you’ll get some pretty funny and uncomfortably honest moodlets, so it’s worth it.
5 Being Embarrassed About Puberty
Teen Sims never had it so rough. In previous games, sometimes they could develop acne or experience growing pains. However, High School Years takes it to a whole other level, because now they know exactly how annoying and uncomfortable the whole process can be.
Your Sim knows about puberty, and they are not happy about it. Often, they will gain an embarrassed moodlet from either body hair growth, bad skin, or just the stress of existence as a teen, and can you really blame them? It’s a tumultuous time, regardless of whether it’s simulated or not. No one likes to remember the first time they had to use acne cleanser. Welcome to your life forever, teen Sims.
4 The Biggest Night Of Your Teen Life (Allegedly)
How many teen romcoms have you seen where The Prom was the climax of everything? When you’re a teen, especially if you’re from a smaller town, it might be the most significant, fanciest event you’ve ever been to. High School Years captures that mood of a single night of grandiosity, even though it happens, like, every Saturday on the event calendar.
But really, where High School Years’ prom shines is the moments before and after the event itself – getting ready with your friends, hyping each other up as the prom inches closer, and then the after party, where the more memorable moments are made. Or you can skip it entirely, and opt to do something else with your closest companions. Either way, your Sims will have an unforgettable night spent with friends.
3 This Specific Dance
School dances are divisive, to say the least. Some people love them, some are there to take tickets, and some just don’t go at all. Where you fall on this spectrum is neither here nor there. The thing about school dances is you will see teens slow dance with ample room between them, swaying off beat to a gloomy ballad.
It’d be adorable if it didn’t bring back memories of being totally out of your element. Your whole body feels out of sync when you’re a teen, so dancing usually becomes awkward swaying. At least your Sims can now know the same bread.
2 Just…hanging out
An essential aspect of any teen’s life, including these simulated ones, it’s the ability to hang out with friends. High School Years gives you a lot of different ways to organize teen social situations, from joining an after-school activity like football or chess club to visiting the local bubble tea/thrift shop in search of a perfect ensemble.
Sure, in some earlier packs, you may have had the opportunity to start clubs or join after-school activities. Yet, they often felt more like a means to an end rather than something done for the joy of being in a group or just being around friends.
1 Everything Is So Dramatic
These teens have feelings, and they are not afraid to show them. High School Years takes some cues from the earlier Parenthood pack and magnifies them. Like, if their crush is in the general area, you may see your teen gain a tense moodlet that cancels out everything else.
These are all-consuming emotions, erasing even the most positive feelings for a time. But isn’t that exactly what being a teenager is like? Everything can be absolutely fine, yet one minor problem or perceived slight can completely take over your day and mood. We can’t pretend we haven’t been there.