The Sims can get pretty dull. We play games to escape to more interesting places and do more interesting things. In The Sims though, you end up escaping to a suburban neighbourhood where you still have to do the dishes, shower, cook breakfast, etc etc. And while the expansion packs might add new novelties, they aren’t really improving the core game, just extending it.
It needs more randomness, more crazy, more opportunities to make emergent dramas play out. So, a list then, of ideas to inject some fun an interest into The Sims. And all these things can happen to random Sims outside of the players control, leaving more ways for the players game to be affected and made interesting. It might also be more viable to make the player only control 1 character, rather than a family – just so that they can be affected more by Sims close to them.
One night the local cemetery suddenly erupts, spilling zombies onto the streets. Residents have to stay indoors or risk being turned into zombies themselves. Any Sims on the Scientists career help research a cure. If a cure is found, any infected residents are cured and turned back to normal. Otherwise it’s a case of waiting for each zombie to be killed by a military presence – aided by Sims on the military career.
With the right traits a Sim can kill other sims. If they are caught they are sent to prison indefinitely, but they have talents in hiding bodies, telling lies, etc. As more people die, investigations get larger and the Sim might go for questioning. They might get financial gain by killing people for insurance, or mood increases for killing people they don’t like.
A Sim might hear or read of a rumour that piques their interest. They would then be able to investigate and uncover stories. This could range from the ridiculous (“the headteacher of the school is having an affair with a lesbian Alien ghost”) to the relatively mundane (“Mr Smith has lost his job but hasn’t told his wife”).
Somehow all the money in the Simland world dries up. The entire economy crumbles. Cash is meaningless. Sims have to trade goods with each other to get food, or grow their own. Everything costs items in a barter system. This wouldn’t last too long, but long enough that the player couldn’t get by without taking part.
A sim suddenly completely loses control. If it’s the player character they can’t issue commands while this is happening. The Sim might strip naked, insult their boss, get a divorce, kiss a passer by, vandalise a house, buy random crap, anything. And it wouldn’t just be one thing – it could be 10 full minutes of this Sim going completely off the handle.
A sim is secretly a super hero. They have to rescue people and solve crimes while keeping up appearances with their alter ego. If they are found out they have to deal with hordes of press and constant interruptions from criminals vying for vengeance.
A family of sims is holed up in a tiny space, waiting for radiation to go to safe levels. This might happen mid normal game. They have no outside interaction and limited food. Staying alive is all that matters but tensions might break relationships.
Those are mine anyway. They all seem to revolve around stuff happening and then having to deal with the consequences, which I think is what The Sims needs. You just have too much control and there is too much emphasis on day to day mundainity. Suggest away your own ideas below anyway – best entry wins the writer respect from their peers.