Have I told you lately, reader, that I really, properly, stonkingly love how weird each and every single one of us are? Even if we manage to keep it on the quiet (which we may not: recently, my predilection for eating dry, buttered Weetabix for breakfast was shared at a company-wide meeting), we all have strange and specific depths. And when weird worlds collide, the weirdness refracts and becomes something else even more precious and strange. Like true crime and The Sims 4, for example.
Look, there are 7 billion of us at this point, which means the most specific interests are catered for somewhere. And since the pools of people who like true crime and people who like The Sims 4 are both massive, and probably overlap a lot, this was bound to happen at some point. This weekend, then, a YouTube series that combines “talking about horrific serial killers” with “beautiful speedbuilds of said murderers’ houses in The Sims 4” marched into my smokey office like a dame with a secret and legs all way up to her thighs, and instantly made me fall in love.
A couple of weeks back it was the anniversary of the 1892 Borden axe murders in Fall River, Massachusetts, which made infamous Lizzie ’40 Whacks’ Borden. Though she was tried and acquitted, Borden remained the chief suspect in the murder of her father and stepmother. There were only actually about 30 axe whacks delivered in total, although in fairness that is a lot of whacks. To celebrate this, YouTuber “hiphiprenee” reshared her video on Lizzie Borden, and I was like “huh, cool”, before I realised I was seeing it in my Sims-specific social feed. Then, I was more like “wait, whaaaaaat?”
hiphiprenee, it turns out, has an entire series like this called A Brief History, where you get to watch a speedbuild of, for example, the Borden home. As this happens, where usually you’d get your Simmer doing a soothing voiceover talking about the interior decorating choices they were making, or why they had trouble deciding which windows to use on this particular build, you get hiphiprenee describing the events leading up to the murders that took place there. Then, the events themselves (including, for example, information on the injuries suffered), and then events afterwards like the investigation and trial. Finding this series is the best thing that happened to me all weekend.
The Borden video is an older one, but a good example – because the house is still standing, and is in fact a B&B today, so there is a lot to base the build on. Other videos include the Amityville horror house, or H.H. Holmes and his infamous Chicago murder castle. Other videos require some creative license. The video on Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who disappeared at sea, is accompanied by a build of a seaside scuba shop.
I should say that renee has also sprinkled their channel with important historical figures who deserve attention for the good things they did, like Mary W. Jackson who NASA’s first Black female engineer. Furthermore, more recent entries have moved towards urban legends and horror stories, using some of the more mystical Sims expansion packs to good effect in doing so. I mainlined the entire series in an afternoon and actually learned a lot. But it was the murders that got me through the door, so I’m secretly hoping for something else grim to come up next.
I think a large reason why I love the series so much is that renee’s voiceover is so nice. Like, she talks about the angle a body fell at and I’m like “wow, I bet renee knows where you can get the best breakfast in her town”.
It is so weird, so soothing, so exactly on the knife edge of wholly inappropriate and yet totally appropriate because of how terrifying and weird the Sims fandom is anyway. This, reader, this is the kind of beautiful thing I live for. Bring me your strange, your specific, your huddled kinks yearning to be free! Bring me the Unabomber’s hut but with an adorable little vegetable garden full of polygonal lettuce.
Alice writes loads about The Sims 4 because she really likes it, so you can find loads of stuff about the latest DLC packs, fun custom content (including our list of the best custom content packs currently available on PC), and the latest Sims 4 news on updates and the inevitable glitches after updates.
We've also got a few guides for the Sims 4, including the all important list of current cheat codes, for when you need to hit that motherlode.