Game Reviews

Some Sims 3 Gameplay Questions Answered

Some people had some questions on how to do certain things in the Sims 3 game. Before you ask me any questions and before you run searches online, please, please, please read the little handbook that came with the SIMs 3 CD case. It’s the little handbook that had the installation code on the back of it so if you are playing the game now, then you have it. Use it – the information is there for a reason. Asking people questions that you already have the answers to is not nice. I am happy to answer questions that are not covered in that tiny manual and that seem hard to figure out the answers to. See below for a list of questions I have been asked and the answers. Also cheat codes.

EDIT: New Questions asked in the comments are answered at the end of the list. Any questions I don’t know the answers to, I will post at the start for people to answer in the comments. Ask your questions in the comments. I will endeavour to update this post once or twice a week.

  1. Help! I have a blue screen of death when I try to run the Sims 3!

    Ok, this shouldn’t happen. The most likely reason is that your graphics/video card has died under the strain. There are no blue coloured loading screens in Sims 3 as there were in Sims 2. So if you get a blue screen with Sims 3 – then it is probably the dreaded blue screen error/blue screen of death that signifies that your computer is dead – hard drive wise or screen wise. If this happens, call the manufacturer. You may need to replace graphics cards or hard drives or whatever else.

    For PC Operating Systems only:

    Sims 3 compatible graphic cards are listed here:

    NVIDIA GeForce series FX 5900, FX 5950, 6200, 6500, 6600, 6800, 7200, 7300, 7600, 7800, 7900, 7950, 8400, 8500, 8600, 8800, 9300, 9400, 9500, 9600, 9800, G100, GT 120, GT 130, GTS 150, GTS 250, GTX 260, GTX 280, GTX 285, GTX 295.
    ATI Radeon series 9500, 9600, 9800, X300, X600, X700, X800, X850, X1300, X1600, X1800, X1900, X1950, 2400, 2600, 2900, 3450, 3650, 3850, 3870, 4850, 4870.
    Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) GMA 3-Series, GMA 4-Series

    You will also need:
    Windows XP: 2.0 GHz P4 processor, 1 GB RAM, 6.1 GB of hard drive space + 1 GB for custom content/saved games & 128 MB video card that supports Pixel Shader 2.0
    Windows Vista: 2.4 GHz P4 processor, 1.5 GB RAM, 6.1 GB of hard drive space + 1 GB for custom content/saved games & 128 MB video card that supports Pixel Shader 2.0

  2. What locations can I take classes at? (or I can’t find this spot which means I haven’t really bothered looking!)

    Athletic  ….. Stadium
    Charisma …. City Hall
    Cooking …… Bistro/Diner
    Fishing ……. Grocery Store
    Gardening … Science Lab
    Guitar ……… Theatre
    Handiness … Military Base (slightly out of town – in Riverview – it’s next to the Business centre)
    Logic ………. Science Lab (slightly out of town – in Riverview, it’s opposite the Business centre)
    Painting …… School
    Writing ……. Business Centre/Journalism Office

    Hit M to view the entire town on the Map and look at the symbols and click on them to see what they are. It’s not rocket science to find out where everything is. If you bought the game legally, most of this is in the little handbook that came with it inside the CD case. Read it.

  3. Where can I follow my Sims to? (or why can’t I see into the Theater etc.?)

    You cannot follow them into these locations: Business Centre/Journalism Office, Stadium, Bookshop, Theatre, Grocery Store, Bistro/Diner, City Hall, Science Lab, Military Base, School, Police Station, Warehouse, Spa. I don’t know why, complain to EA.

    You can follow them into these locations: Beach, Park, Cemetery, Library, Gym.

    You can go into another Sims house if they invite you in. They will only invite you in if they know you well enough but this usually isn’t that hard.

  4. How do I get my Sims to date?

    Pick the Sim you want to use then click on the Sim you want them to date and choose interactions from under the  “Flirty …” or “Romantic …” option. Keep doing this till you get a result such as “Propose Going Steady” which means basically asking them to be your boyfriend/girlfriend. You can also get your Sim to call up someone and ask them to go somewhere with you but this is not technically called a date. If you are hanging out with another Sim in whom you are sufficiently interested then you can go on a tour of the movie theatre together and when you do this, click on the little circular pictures of your Sims while they are inside and you can get options to “Make out backstage”, “Woohoo backstage” and “Try for baby backstage” and so on. I am sure this works for certain other locations as well. You can start trying out romantic or flirty interactions on any Sim at any time though of course they get more romantic/flirty the higher your relationship with them is or if one or both of your Sims have the “Flirty”, “Charismatic” or similar traits.

  5. How do I build  musician skills?

    Play a musical object. If your Sim has virtuoso or artistic as one or both of their traits, they will learn these skills much faster. You can also buy song books from the bookshop though they require certain levels of skill. The other way is to get into the music career by applying online/looking through the paper/going to the movie theatre in town. Once you get into the music career, when you go to work, pick the option “Study music theory” as what you do while at work and this will build up your skill level in music. You will also get opportunities and these will reward you with cash/skill levels/objects such as song books. Sometimes you have to get your music skill up to a certain level to complete opportunities. You can also pay for a music class at the theatre. If you check the paper, you can go to the classes on the day that it is discounted.

    Note: Music skills are the easiest to build because generally the person has tons of fun while playing and therefore doesn’t get stressed. This is not the same for writing skills as sitting and typing at the computer improves your writing skills but stresses you out. So it’s easier to build music skills than writing skills so far.

  6. How do I build up my writing skills in Sims 3?

    Get a computer. Click on it and start typing. You can start writing a fiction/non fiction book (other genres become available as you get higher levels of skill) or you can just work on improving your writing skill. You can also go to the business/journalism centre in town and get a writing class. Check for when these are discounted in the paper. The other thing that helps is reading a lot of novels. When you get into the Journalism career, opportunities come knocking.

  7. What do I do with the stuff I collect in Sims 3?

    Space rocks: click on them in your inventory to analyse them. Your Sim will analyse them immediately.
    Gems: click on them in your inventory and your Sim will post them off to get cut for $10 to $20. They will come back worth $60+ depending on the gem.
    Iron: click on it in the inventory to send it to get smelted
    Seeds & Fruit: You can plant these. Click on them and choose to plant them. The cursor changes to a mound of earth and you get to choose where you want them planted and click. You have to water and tend these plants but it adds up to free food!!
    Food: Click open on the fridge and both the fridge inventory and your Sim’s inventory should open up. You can then drag and drop food between them.
    Fish: Mount them, cook them from the inventory or the fridge or put them in an aquarium.

  8. Where is the photo album?

    I know not. It does not seem to be here. There is only F1 for Live Mode, F2 for Buy Mode, F3 for Build Mode and no F4 for Story/Photo Album. You can take pictures but all snapshots seem to go to the Game Launcher. What use that is, I do not know. Complain to EA – I don’t know of any other method to use for storytelling IF you do not want to use video capture. And storytelling should be a huge part of the game. If anyone knows of any non video Sims 3 storytelling methods, please let us know.

  9. How can I pick the traits for the Sims when they age?

    You pick one trait per life stage from Baby to Adult. However, you have to have a happy pregnancy and keep the mother comfy. If you do, then you get to pick the trait. If you don’t, then the computer picks one for you based on the traits that the parents have. If you have a happy baby when they age, then you get to pick the trait for toddlers and so on till you have all five. It’s similar in idea to the Sims 2 Platinum Aspiration thingy.

  10. Do Sims get abducted in Sims 3?

    I do not know. There is a telescope that you can buy (thanks Matt!) but if we have yet to hear any reports of abductions while using it. I suspect not. I sure hope they do at some point even if it is in an expansion pack. It will probably turn up in the Sims 3 equivalent of the Sims 2 Night Life. Perhaps though it’s not included right now because you can change the skin colour of your Sims in Create A Sim to any colour you fancy?

  11. How does Sims 3 fit into the neighbourhood character storyline?

    I am glad you asked. Does everyone remember the Goths? In Sims 2 Bella had disappeared (she’s wondering around in StrangeTown by the way). Well Sims 3 happens before Sims 1 & 2 takes place. Bella is a child in Sims 3, one of the Goths family’s neighbours in Sunset Valley. Mortimer is a child as well.

    The Landgraabs are here with a feud with the Altos who are a sort of mob/mafia family / crime syndicate. The Landgraabs son will eventually grow up and be included in Sims 2’s Open For Business Expansion Pack.

    EDIT: If you download the free town at the Sims 3 Store – it’s called Riverview – you will get some of the most interesting Sims ever. The Newbies are in this town as is a character “Don Lothario” who woke up in a house in Riverview with no memory of anything. The last thing he remembers is being surrounded by women laughing and stepping onto a teleporter like machine. Clearly, this is Dan Lothario and the women might be the two Caliente sisters.

    My guess is that either Sunset Valley became Pleasantview or the Goths moved after Bella and Mortimer married. But the Goths founded Sunset Valley and the Landgraabs built it up but then the Altos moved in so there is now tension.

  12. How do I get around?

    There are five ways to get around the neighbourhood. You can call a cab – if you ever decide to go anywhere, just click on it and a cab will automatically turn up and take you there. You don’t pay for cabs.

    You can walk or run if the computer decides it’s within a decent distance. Click on any spot and select “Go here”. Then check the options in the top left hand corner of your screen and leave it either on “Automatic” or choose “Walk” or “Run”.

    You can buy a bike rack and a bike. Or a car and a driveway. You don’t have to click on these to get in/on them. When you need to go somewhere you will automatically use them.

    If you want to bike to work, go into the work panel and hit the go to work button about half an hour before the carpool turns up. Then you will leave for work and you can use this to walk or run to work as well.

    Whenever your Sim leaves the house, if you right click on their portrait you can follow them as they travel automatically.

  13. Are there any cheat codes?

    Yes. Ctrl+Shift+C brings up the cheat window. Entering “Kaching” will get you $1000 at a time. Entering “Motherlode” will get you $50,000. According to Moji from the comments, typing “testingcheatsenabled true” and then rightclicking on the mailbox or SIMs will allow you to make everyone happy, age your SIMs or mess with their traits. What I would like to find out is if there is anyway to change skill level via a cheat. Commenters post away! Typing help in the cheat window lists certain cheats but since Kaching was not on this list, I’d keep an eye out for others that do work that aren’t listed. The cheats listed deal with minor things like how to switch off thought bubbles above the Sims’ heads. Best cheat so far is typing “jokePlease” in the window and getting several jokes turning up in the window that you can cycle through.

  14. Can I stop my Sims from aging?

    Yes you can. Go into the options menu and you will see a set of three check boxes. The first enables aging. Uncheck it for aging to get turned off. Uncheck the second one (Story Progression) if you don’t want the rest of the neighbourhood to change while you play your character.

  15. Can I create a neighbourhood?

    You can copy the town Sunset Valley in the main menu and then go into it and ruthlessly edit it via the Edit Town option. Australian and New Zealanders who buy the game get $17 AUD/NZ in SimPoints that you can use online to download stuff for the game. This also includes a free town that you can download. However you have to register. Go to,, or to register. You will need the serial code that you used to install the game to register.

  16. What is Story Progression?

    Story Progession refers to the fact that the rest of the neighbourhood changes around you as you play your chosen character or family. If you go into the options menu and disable this option, then you play as you would in SIMS 2 where you can switch between families/households and nothing will change in the other households when you switch back to them. For example, I am playing two families where the kids grow up together. I want to control them and their interactions both so I switch Story Progression off and I can control one family then switch to the other family so people aren’t aging before another person in the other family does and so on. The only that changes really is the relationships so if the first family makes friends with the second family, then when I play the second family, nothing has changed for them except that they have made friends with the first family.

  17. Writing Career Help?
    1. You start by getting a job in Journalism by using the newspaper or the computer or going to the Business/Journalism building in town.
    2. You can opt out of a career and just start trying to become an author instead.
    3. You can do both work in the Journalism career and write books at home.
    4. To kickstart writing, use the computer to “Refine Writing Skill” or “Start Writing” a novel or go to the Business/Journalism and pay $400 to take a class in writing.
    5. As you improve your writing skill, new genres of novels that you can write will become available to you. For example, Mystery novels are available after you reach level 6.
    6. Once you become a Freelance Writer in the Journalism career, you will have to contribute stories and reviews – doing so is voluntary but it will be the best way to increase your job performance rating in order to get you promoted.
    7. To review things, go to movies at the Theatre and concerts/games at the Stadium. If you can review it then instead of getting the option to “Attend Game/Movie/Concert” you get “Review Game/Movie/Concert”. Once you have witnessed said event, you go home and use your computer to write either a positive or negative review on the event – you get to pick. As soon as you finish writing it, you automatically send it off and you get a response as to what happened because of your review.
    8. To interview someone, you will have to find a Sim that seems interesting to you. My advice is to pick someone who is well known within the town (one of the richer/more notorious characters) or someone really different and interesting. Once you have picked them, try to be friends with them before you interview them. You get an option to interview them under the “Friendly” set of interactions or the “Special” set of interactions. If they don’t feel comfy enough with you to be interviewed yet, you will get a negative reaction. Once you have interviewed them, you will get an option on the computer to write either a negative/positive story on them. How do you choose which option? Find out where they live, go to their house (preferably at night) and rummage through their trash can. Your Sim will rummage until they find some information on the Sim in question. If it is really good information, you will have only one option (negative/positive) on the computer in regards to how you spin the story. Once you write it, you will get a reaction. A negative story might be truthful but may cost you the friendship of the person you wrote it on.
    9. As you get promoted up through the career you will be required to develop your charisma skills as well. There are only ten levels to the career and the top one is Star News Anchor.
  18. Can I create circular driveways? (and other Build Mode questions)

    No, you cannot. You can however go into Build Mode and click on the terrain paints and paint something that looks like a circular driveway of sorts onto your lot, your car will not actually park on it or drive on it. Another fun thing to note is that no matter how far away from your street front you build your garage, your car will end up in it. So you can paint a driveway onto your lot and pretend your car has driven along it to the garage. Equally you could build a lot with no access between the street front and the garage and it will still end up in there. If you lose track of your car while out and about, check your inventory and click on it to go home or elsewhere.

  19. Where do I get baby food from? (and other baby related questions)

    You don’t have to get baby food from the fridge any longer. As an adult or teenage SIM click on the baby and you will get an option to “Feed”, “Feed on floor”, “Give bottle” etc. If there is a high chair, you can put the baby in the high chair and then feed it, if the kid is on the floor, you can pick “Feed on floor” and you will give it a bottle.

I hope that helps a little bit. Any other questions, let me know? Happy to help. Any fancy stuff you found in Sims 3, post a comment.

Cheers, Marisa.


  • destiny pecher

    can you go into the theatres and stuff with them?

    because its not letting me,
    if so…how do i do it?

  • Marisa

    Hi Destiny,

    Some locations you can follow your Sims into, some you cannot.

    Places you can go into with them include beaches, parks, the library and possibly the spa.

    Places you cannot follow the Sims into include: the movie theatre, the bookshop, the grocery store, the bistro, the science lab facility, the warehouse, the police station, the business centre (also the place where your newspaper is published).

    Once you get to know other Sims, they will invite you into their houses.

    Hope this helps. Marisa.

  • Moji

    Re Cheats:
    Ctrl+shift+c ‘testingcheatsenabled true’ then press shift and click on the mail box, you will have the option to ‘make all happy’ etc. If you shift click on household sims you have the option to age them or change their traits.


    • Marisa

      Hi Bree,
      Thanks for asking a Build Mode related question. The answer is in the last question on the post. the quick answer is no to a circular driveway that cars can be parked on but yes to a circular driveway if it just sits there and looks pretty. Sort of. You can paint your terrain to look like a driveway but you can’t use the driveway in a circular fashion as an object or something that cars use.

  • Annika

    I only read part of this so I am not sure if you worked out the photo album story telling thing. You upload the photos to the website using the uploads section of the launcher. Then you go to the movies and stories part of the website and create your story there. Please feel free to delete this if you already had an answer.

    • Marisa


      Thanks for your point. I mentioned it in my review of the game but not in this gameplay questions post. F4 in SIMs 2 was the short cut to open up the photo album mode. In SIMs 3 yes you can take pictures and video and upload both to the website and then create the story but I was more concerned about creating stories with picture within the game as you played (like in SIMs 2) and not having to upload it to the website. Sometimes I play and create stories with SIMs characters that I don’t necessarily want to share with the rest of the world. 🙂 Your point will go up on the next update of this post, so thanks for the reminder.

  • Kimber

    Hi Marisa,

    I was wondering if you could tell me if it is possible to still have children in Sims 3 with the aging turned off? I have tried a few times and have not been successful. My sims were pretty close to becoming elders before I realized I could stop the aging process, is this why? Thanks!


  • Kerrie

    Hey all,
    I was just wondering, I remember making baby food for my toddler with the food processor when I fist got the game. However I cannot seem to make it again? I have a food processor in the kitchen, and still no luck. I’ve took ‘leftovers’ out from the fridge and placed them next to the food processor and clicked onto the food processor and nothing comes up about making baby food. Also if I click the left over food it does not give the option to make baby food! HELP?! What am I doing wrong? Does the baby need to be in the high chair for the sim to be able to make baby food with the processor? Or does the food need to be freshly cooked and prepared? Thanks in advance.

  • maddie

    I was wondering if ther was a way to take your sim back to create a sim on sims 3? I made a sim just to play with and see all the cheats and stuff but then I started to like her and so now I want to change her back into a regular sims, her skin is green and I want it to be a regular color, and I want to update her nose, lips, eyes and all that and I also want to changer her lifetime wish. Do you know a way I can do that? Cheats will work also if you have one.

  • Anne

    Hi everyone,
    When I click on the highchair I can make baby food but I can’t without a food processor. So I bout one but then I couldn’t click on the highchair to make baby food anymore. I put the food processor in my family inventory, and that time I could click on the highchair to make baby food. Can anyone help? Thanks to all.

  • Derrick

    Sims3 (XBOX360): I have been trying to figure out why i cant perform concerts with my sim… He is a Rock star now and I could at first but i cant anymore. No matter what time of day i come there is a concert already going on (both the stadium and Theatre is saying the samething) – even at night after 11pm when the theatre and stadium should be closed… the message still says “concert already going on” it use to say “concerts can only be scheduled only between 3-11pm” when it was working properly. it’s been like 2 weeks now and it’s frustrating me… any suggestions? thanks

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