Member of BannerPower Rotation System

Cemeteries in The Sims

Taphophilia in Virtual Reality

by Joel GAzis-SAx
Copyright 2000 by Joel GAzis-SAx

Starting Your Cemetery

Someone's got to die if you want a cemetery in a plot other than the one that comes with the game. When a Sim dies either through the carelessness or intention of the player, a photograph is taken for the family album and the body replaced with an urn (if indoors) or a tombstone (if outdoors). These objects may be moved around to form cemeteries.

Plenty of us have killed our Sims by accident, but there may be a few people out there who are in a hurry to set up their own graveyards. Sims are not inclined to murder, so driving them to enmity will not yield an urn. Nor can you control accidents, except to a limited degree. The author (who pleads that he would never do any of these things to a real human being and expects his readers to do the same) has found three techniques to be most useful in producing the corpses he needs for his sepulchral monuments::

  1. The Pool of Death. By far and away, the most reliable way to kill a Sim, sans the fuss of loud groans, screams, and whimpers from the Sim. The trick is to build the pool with a diving board but no ladder. Even the most muscular of Sims seem to lack the upper thorasic muscles required to pull themselves up the edges of the pool. They will swim about without complaint until their energy level drops to zero. Then they will quietly die. The tombstone appears on the edge of the pool. The Angel of Death does not appear to claim the soul.
  2. Fires. If you like to see your Sims scream and howl in pain, fires make for an exciting alternative. As the fire spreads, it will engulf any Sim foolish enough to stand her/his ground. Outdoor fires are usually caused by Sims with low cooking scores using BBQs next to flammable objects such as wooden tables or bushes. Indoor fires are caused by cooking ranges (used by incompetent cooks), by fireplaces which have been located near flammable items like carpets, wooden furniture, staircases, or Sims. Fires are, nevertheless, unpredictable. To ensure a Sim's death, you must remove all fire alarms from the immediate vicinity. (They don't work outdoors.) Sims do not think to call the fire department or attempt to extinguish the blaze on their own. They will stand by screaming until the flames reach them and consume them. The Angel of Death appears for their demise, chortling loudly.
  3. Starvation. Starvation sounds like it might be an easy way to kill off a Sim, but it is not. Sims will not telephone for a fireman, but they will call out for pizza if they get hungry. The surest way to murder a Sim is to entomb her/him so that he can't get out. The problem with this is that you will have to listen to her/his screams and groans while days pass before the Angel of Death sees fit to put the poor subroutine out of its misery.

Cemetery Management Problems

Once you have established your cemetery, you must face a few virtual realities:

  1. If you bulldoze a lot, you lose the cemetery. The way to avoid this is to dismantle the house in Build Mode, leaving the cemetery alone. The new residents can move in, building whatever they like around the quaint bit of history you have preserved for them.
  2. Fortunately, you can move tombstones and urns around where you need them, so they do not have to get in the way of new construction.
  3. New tenants may find themselves disturbed by "friends of the deceased" who come to mourn. They will ring the doorbell, be greeted by your Sims, and then promptly walk out back to cry over the grave. If you want to socialize with them, the best thing to do is serve a meal.
  4. Mourning reduces your fun score in a hurry. Even if your Sims never knew the dearly departed, they will go out to the plot to mourn after they move in. The way to preserve their initial good moods is to either distract them by sending them off to do other things or to build a doorless mausoleum to the tomb (Sims will not "use" objects that they cannot reach.)
  5. Cemeteries and urns inevitably produce ghosts. These appear after midnight to show themselves to the living. So far, the author has not found any means of containing them other than deleting their mortuary objects. On the other hand, they seem to have negligible effect on the humor of the living.
  6. If you wish to remove a tombstone or an urn, you can do so using the invisible hand object under Build Mode.
Send me your Sim Cemetery captures or family page links and I will post them here!

Purchase The Sims (
Purchase The Sims Livin' Large Expansion Pack (
Visit The Sims Website
Questions or Comments?
Return to the Taphophiles' Handbook
All Images Copyright 1997 by Electronic Arts and 2000 by Joel GAzis-SAx