As someone who grew up playing The Sims, I loved how this bizarre world had so many possibilities. It’s the ultimate storytelling tool, and there’s no denying it, I love horror — so why wouldn’t I try to kill these little digital fools as often as I could? I can’t be the only one. If you’re like me, well, things get morbid fast.
My friends and I used to share the different ways we’d kill these poor Sims out of sheer curiosity, trading stories like the classic move of removing a swimming pool ladder to watch a Sim slowly drown in the chlorinated water. Or maybe I’d enclose them in an empty room, speed up time, and watch them starve as their hunger pangs got unbearable. Or I’d have them cook some grilled cheese (why does this always result in a fire!?).
Anyway, I had my ways, and my Sims suffered for it. But that’s all part of the fun — and developers Electronic Arts and Maxis know it. Throughout the 20+ years of The Sims, the team has leaned into allowing players myriad methods of cruelty that are almost Looney Tunes-ish in their absurdity.
Here are the strangest ways Sims can meet their demise throughout the history of franchise.
Appearing first in Sims 2: University, this carnivorous plant can be placed on your home lot. If you keep it fed, everything is hopefully fine and good, but leave it without sustenance and it’ll terrifyingly turn on your Sims and eat them alive. This death has one of the cooler animations through the series, in which the cowplant unfurls its tongue — which has a piece of cake on it — to lure in unsuspecting Sims closer and make lunch of them. Be warned that visiting neighbors (or hired Sims like nannies or maids) can also be unexpectedly devoured.
But hey, you could also be pretty strategic here: Every time a Sim is eaten, you can milk the plant for a concoction that extends your Sim’s life. So maybe offer up some neighbors in exchange for a longer life.
9. Time Anomaly
In The Sims 3: Into The Future, the time anomaly death is induced by a condition called the time paradox sickness. A Sim will first fall ill after using the time portal (which launches them into a futuristic world) too much, and if they don’t admit themselves to the hospital in an allotted time, they’ll perish. It’s not the most exciting death, but the animation is amusing as the dying Sim falls to their knees and yells out before disappearing into thin air.
8. Vending Machine
All your Sim wanted was just a good fizzy drink or snack, and bam — they’re crushed by the massive weight of a food-filled metal container. This death is possible in The Sims 4: Snow Escape, and requires a bit of patience. First, you have to find a vending machine (there’s one in each of the three regions in Mt. Komorebi), and then repeatedly try to buy something from it.
Usually this goes fine, but eventually, one purchase will get stuck and you’ll have to shake the vending machine. Doing so will either knock the item loose or your Sim will grow more frustrated and climb atop, only to fall back down with the vending machine’s weight crushing them. But they won’t die from being pancaked just once. Do this multiple times, and eventually, the Grim Reaper will make his entrance.
A fun little note about this one: Ghosts of Sims who die by vending machine will float around with a soda can in hand. So hey, at least they got their snack in the afterlife, I guess!
This one is especially cruel, for a number of reasons. Do I have to explain why? Because it should be obvious. No one wants to die like this. In The Sims, if you WooHoo as an elderly Sim a little too much, you’ll become dangerously tired and end up dying right there in bed beside their partner from overexertion. But let me be clear: This only happens to the elderly who just don’t have the same kind of stamina as younger adult Sims. So be careful (or don’t — the process of all this can be pretty ridiculous, like in this video where a YouTuber made 100 elderly Sims WooHoo to death).
6. Murphy Bed
I love this death because it cleverly taps into the relatable fear of being squished by a pull-out bed. It’s one of the more creative deaths in The Sims, and its first iteration began in The Sims 2: Apartment Life (it reappeared in Sims 3: University Life and Sims 4: Tiny Living, too). A fun little detail is that in The Sims 3 version of this death, the ghost that died by murphy bed mishap will have little feathers flying around them for the rest of eternity.
Above all, though, the animations for this death are hilarious; especially in The Sims 4. Seeing your Sim battle it out with the bed as they attempt to pull it out of the wall is always cartoonishly entertaining. It’s really hard to really be upset when it happens. If you want to avoid this, though, just make sure you stay on top of your bed’s maintenance so it doesn’t break down.
5. Skydiving Simulator
This is one of the few entries on this list that brings us all the way back to the first Sims game. In a very Final Destination-like scenario, this death occurs when your Sim spends too much time within the expensive skydiving simulator. It looks like a big trampoline, but rather than just bouncing you up and down, air from below pushes you upwards. Unfortunately, sometimes it pushes you way too high, and this is how you can meet your untimely fate, in which your Sim dramatically loses control and is vacuumed up into the sky.
This is one of the most unhinged deaths possible within The Sims 3. You’ll need the University Life expansion, in which you can buy a megaphone used for student protests, proclaiming your love to someone, or uh, having a brush with death if your Sim isn’t the brightest. Ranting about death specifically will warrant a visit from the Grim Reaper, in which he kills and then promptly revives your Sim to teach them a stern lesson.
After this very clear warning, you can be stupid and piss off the Grim Reaper by ranting about him all over again. This time, though, you’ll die permanently. The comedic irony is what makes this death stand out, but the animation itself is pretty lackluster.
3. Emotional Deaths
My favorite deaths introduced in The Sims 4 revolve around emotions, which was this game entry’s biggest gimmick. Your Sims, for the first time, can feel a wide-range of feelings from sadness to anger. But those unfettered emotions can get out of hand. Being in an extreme emotional state for too long can leave them so overwhelmed that they will simply die. Not all emotions can lead to death though — right now, it’s limited to fear (being mortified), anger (being enraged), and embarrassment or playfulness (being hysterical).
Probably the most fun you can have is with overwhelming your Sim with embarrassment to the point of no return. Just a few of the mortifying interactions that can get you there: getting rejected repeatedly after romantic interactions, farting, peeing themselves, walking into other Sims WooHooing, wearing the Hat of Shame, and so on.
2. Urban Myth
The Sims 4 has done a really tremendous job of adding some unique new deaths, and the latest High School Years expansion pack is a prime example. With this DLC, you can have your Sims die by urban myth, which is one of the new teenage pranks added to the game (you can also kill others with a deadly stink bomb!). With a Mischief level of 7, you can click on another Sim and press “Summon Urban Myth.” Doing so repeatedly will torment your Sim of choice, to the point where they’ll grow more and more fearful. Eventually, once they realize the urban myth you’ve spun is real, they’ll collapse on the spot.
1. Guitar Duel
The Grim Reaper has been a staple in The Sims ever since the first game, and it’s easy to see why. He’s unpredictable, a little scary, and he broods mysteriously. Sometimes, he manages to brighten the mood in the darkest of moments. He always has some tricks up his sleeve, providing many ways in which Sims can cheat death (special shoutout to rock, paper, scissors as a way to plead for a Sim to be brought back to life).
Among the most ridiculous — and badass — is challenging the Grim Reaper to a guitar duel in The Sims 3. This can be done by purchasing the Door of Life and Death item from the Sims 3 store, which allows you to place a doorway on your lot that is used to summon the Grim Reaper directly. This comes with a degree of risk, though, as a monster living under the doormat can kill your Sim instantly.
If you manage to survive to the point of actually knocking on his door, and if you have a level or 4 higher in guitar, you can test your Sim and the Grim Reaper’s respective shredding skills. It’s by far one of the most entertaining interactions (and the Grim Reaper has a very cool flaming skeletal guitar), somewhat reminiscent of Tenacious D’s The Pick of Destiny. Winning this musical duel gives your Sim a “don’t fear the Grim Reaper” moodlet and a death flower (which can be used to cheat death later on). Losing, of course, costs your Sim their life.