How To Create Meaningful Sims Family Legacies

Legacy family gameplay has been one of our favorite challenges in The Sims since the introduction of aging mechanics in The Sims 2. There is just something about building a rich history of stories, struggles, and triumphs that span generations that has also make the legacy challenge the most popular in Sims history.

You’ve probably created a gazillion families, but which ones were memorable? There are two things they developed with gave their legacy purpose and significance. Want to create that magic from the jump? In today’s episode I share how to set up your legacy family gameplay for more depth.

Listen to this episode if:

  • You are bored with your Sims legacy families.
  • You want to build a strong legacy family history.
  • You want to do more with your legacy family than meet goals.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

With the introduction of aging and the passing of time, our gameplay felt like it has more meaning. Despite the inherently open-ended structure of the game, legacy gameplay gives you a sense of purpose and clear path. A successful lineage was a new and neverending goal for your Sims to work towards.

Some of the most memorable gameplay we have is with our Sims families. They feel important because of the time we’ve spent with them, but what actually changed in that time? In those many Sims sessions, I’m guessing your legacies developed their own family culture. Over the generations they collected family heritage, further strengthening their legacy.

Family culture is an expression of a family’s past in the present and always changing. It’s includes their beliefs, values, rituals, and traditions. On the other hand, family heritage encompasses tangible objects, buildings, stories, and wealth that are passed down from generation to generation, contributing to the family’s legacy. In what ways can we add culture and heritage to a legacy we just started or perhaps are in the middle of?

Cultivating Family Culture

Family Identity

Creating a clear essence for your legacy family involves giving its members something in common that distinguishes them from other families. This can be through shared traits, physical features, goals, or aspirations. Giving the family a unique identity, symbolized with s a family crest or specific outfit choices, further solidifies its distinctiveness.

Beliefs and Values

Embedding beliefs, values, and conservative traditions within a family cultivates a unique culture. Whether it’s through ideological stances, traditional clothing, or adherence to specific customs, these elements contribute to the family’s sense of identity and purpose.

Rituals and Traditions

Perhaps your Sims family follows certain rituals and traditions, such as family vacations, weekly visits to relatives, or annual celebrations like Harvestfest dinner. These all foster a sense of unity and continuity within the family, adding depth to its cultural fabric.

Building Family Heritage

Tangible Heirlooms

From artifacts and photographs to career rewards and cash monies, tangible objects serve as a physical representation of a family’s heritage. Maintaining a family museum, a traditional family home, or even a family graveyard preserves the family’s history and memories.


An integral part of family heritage, stories, and connections passed down through generations, including scandals, significant events, or alliances with other families, enrich the family’s legacy and provide a sense of continuity. Make sure to take note of these as they happen, or if you’re just starting out, take the opportunity to think up some juicy backstory. If you’re not sure where to start, read my blog post about creating unique backstory for your Sims.

Setting up our legacy families with a rich culture and heritage is a fun opportunity to play with story and a sense of purpose. By actively cultivating family culture, embracing unique identities, traditions, and values, and nurturing family heritage with tangible heirlooms and compelling stories while playing, you can create more immersive and memorable legacies. I hope these help you play legacies that go on forever.


[00:00:00] Gloria from Yellow Llama Co.: Welcome to Sentimental Simmer, a podcast made for emotionally attached simmers and storytellers with wild imaginations. I’m your host, Gloria, and I run Yellow Llama Co, a planner shop made to help simmers play with purpose. Every week, I talk all about things, sim life planning, storytelling, and memory keeping. I’ll also brainstorm new ways to obsess over our pixel people, whether they’d be in the Sims or another live sim game. And now let’s get into it. Welcome back to season 2 of the Sentimental Simmer podcast. This season is gonna continue to be packed with more inspiration tips on how to have more fun in your game. This time, we’re gonna be talking about how to navigate legacy family gameplay and make playing your families more fun and memorable.

Gloria [00:00:50]:

Today, I’m going to talk about how we can make our legacy family gameplay more meaningful and play them with more purpose. Legacy gameplay is probably by far the most popular way to play the Sims ever since the Sims 2 dropped in 2004. As Michael Aguero observes in his Excellent retrospective on YouTube about our favorite game, the narrative significantly changed once that ticking clock of aging came into play. This introduced the possibility to build generational wealth, not only with cash money, but also with the career rewards that were passed down from generation to the next. This gave future kids a one up in skill building and their career progress. Most importantly for us as the player, this gives our gameplay a feeling of purpose. Even though the Sims is a sandbox game, legacy gameplay gives you a sense of direction and a clear path for your Sims and gives you kind of, like, a goal to work towards.

Gloria [00:01:41]:

If I think back on the most fun I’ve ever had in the game, the really truly memorable moments, it’s always been within family gameplay. Their stories just tend to hold much more meaning and weight. The history I have with the families of these sims makes everything future generations do and experience just that much more impactful. And, you know, I just I get to play more than just 1 storyline. I look back with so much nostalgia on the stories I’ve played, and It makes me look even more forward to the ones that are to come. And like Michael noted, building a strong dynasty and fulfilling the goals of our sims is the closest you can get to winning the game even though it is an open sandbox and, you know, you’re free to do whatever you want even if such as bullying. But, indeed, the most accomplished I’ve ever really felt in this game, really the most fun I’ve had is when I reached generation 5. That’s when I felt, like, the most achieved as a simmer.

Gloria [00:02:31]:

I reached a generation 5 in the Parks family, which is the longest running family I’ve ever played, and that was in the Sims 3. They are dear to my heart, and I love them so much that I even recreated them in the Sims 4, but the attachment definitely wasn’t the same. Yeah. The family save file in the Sims 3 was unfortunately a bit laggy, so I haven’t really played them much since. I had them in this absolutely magnificent world, this custom world called Sinclair. It unfortunately, it’s so big. Like, it had multiple islands to it, and it had skyscrapers and everything. It was so great.

Gloria [00:03:01]:

It was so detailed. But, yeah, it was full of too many Sims and, eventually, I just really couldn’t play without a constant stutter. And, yeah, as you know, it’s not much fun after that. But, yeah, in general, as time passes and families grow, your legacies do develop a meaning on their own, but still I feel like at least in my case, I Thought I was replaying the same stories over and over again kind of whenever I’m starting a new safe zone in general. I lean towards certain storylines or play styles or certain trades, certain personality types, or I also end up getting stuck in, like, a grind when I’m playing generational gameplay that’s just all about, you know, hitting these milestones and these marks, you know, build a house, make money, have kids, get married, and then all over again, like, rinse and repeat. I was wondering, like, how can we instill even more meaning into Art Sins’ legacies without it just being the length that we’ve played them. Right? So that they don’t just have meaning because of history, but it’s more than that. Something that you could actually, from the jump, bring into your game, which will also make it more fun and more interesting, More engaging, and you’ll also end up maybe reaching more than just generation 1.

Gloria [00:04:04]:

Basically, the question is, like, instead of the classic grind to up and reach those, you know, milestones. How can we create stories in within these legacies to give them more meaning? And how also can we make Legacy stand out from another one? Like I said, I end up usually playing the same maybe wholesome family gameplay or crazy wild, you know, evil one, which is also fun. But, you know, this is usually one or the other. So how can I bring nuance to to this? And I think one key way you can create legacy families that have more meaning purpose is by cultivating family culture and building heritage that is unique to that family. And I wanna share ways on how you can do this. So first, let’s define family culture and heritage. So family culture is basically the manifestation of the past and the present, and it’s always changing. So it’s something dynamic, and it’s something that helps strengthen family bonds and makes your sims feel more connected with each other.

Gloria [00:05:05]:

Whereas family heritage is like an heirloom or maybe a museum or a building. The family home could be family heritage. It’s something that is inherited from a past legacy family from a past generation and ecstatic for the most part. Let’s start with family culture. What could make up family culture? So for 1, you have family identity, their beliefs and values, and their rituals and traditions. All these things together make up the culture of your family. So when it comes to family identity, how can you give your legacy Family, a clear essence, something that expresses what they stand for, who they are, and it makes them distinguishable from maybe any other legacy family you’ve been Wayne. So one thing, of course, you know, you can give each family member something in common that they share.

Gloria [00:05:49]:

You know, that could be traits that they share, you know you know, Similar personalities in that sense. They could have similar physical features. Maybe you have a family legacy all with raven black hair or they all have, like, blue eyes, blonde hair, so maybe a a Swedish family, or they have prominent facial facial features that distinguish them from other Sims’ aesthetically. They could also have similar goals and aspirations. One thing also that can give a family an identity is creating something that’s sim is symbolic for that legacy. So it could be a family crest, for example, that has Bits and bobs that express what’s important to that family and what they stand for. There are plenty of family crest generators that you can get online for free and use to add, you know, cool patterns and colors to the crest into the design, maybe certain animals and figures. So these are mostly Crest that you would see maybe in a more historical context, but it can be fun nonetheless, especially if you’re playing a royal or a historical legacy family.

Gloria [00:06:53]:

You can also create your very own with you know, there’s free software such as Canva or Photopea, which is like a Photoshop, but, app, but online browser based where you can just really do anything you want. You can take elements from the Sims, from your screenshots to put it in there. You can Maybe even draw something yourself on Procreate and create something that represents them and their identity. Something that can also immediately express the identity of The family members and their legacy is what do they wear? What are their outfit choices? For example, are there certain colors of the family or even just on a generational level, that you can find in this family, certain fabrics that they use. Maybe they wear traditional clothing that can definitely express their identity, and distinguish them from other townies in in your safe out, for example. You could also make your the identity of your family be connected to a certain a cult. Like, maybe it’s a family of vampires or werewolves, and this is a consistent, like, red Right? Moving throughout the family in each generation. They’re always vampires or or maybe they’re against supernatural beings, and they are, like, always fighting against them or something like that.

Gloria [00:08:05]:

So that could be part of their identity that they’re, like, super anti supernatural. And that could tie into the next point, beliefs and values. What is important to this family? It could be it’s important to them. Maybe they, for some reason, have a Chinking their armor against supernatural beings could be part of their backstory of this family. That’s one of their, beliefs is that, you know, Assume shouldn’t be a vampire or maybe they have the look at a more traditional way of thinking, on beliefs and values. Maybe they are very conservative, Like, they have conservative family roles and a conservative dress code for the men and the women in the family or, you know, they’re not allowed to use technology or maybe the, Sims aren’t allowed to date until they reach a certain age. Their beliefs and values could also be connected to the world where they are from. So maybe they if they’re from a certain, world, if they speak a certain language.

Gloria [00:08:58]:

I I know there’s a mod out there where you can let Sims speak actually a language. That’s very cool. Or you can have the Sims have a certain dance that they that every family member has to learn that is, you know, based off of a certain world where they’re from, where they, you know, cook certain food that is from, a certain world. You could also just come up with a completely unique culture, you know, that could show itself in the holidays and that they celebrate The events that they may be, celebrate on a regular basis. Perhaps elders are held in high regard in this family So, that could show itself in the way decisions are made. So the elders always have to be consulted for important decisions like marriage or career choices, and they always always are a part of the household. So you don’t just kick an elder out once they, you know, grow old and you don’t care about them anymore. They’re actually always gonna be part of the household until they pass.

Gloria [00:09:52]:

Perhaps the family believes that you’re only as strong as your community, so it’s important to them to feel connected to everyone in town and network and to hold good relationships. So and they expect their, children to do the same, and they want to also be supportive of people in the community. So maybe they’re involved in taking care of the community garden or space or, in some other way, they’re helping people. Perhaps family in itself is important to this legacy, And so they wanna be close knit. They wanna nurture relationships, not necessarily with the community, but with with each other and with relatives. So it’s important to them that they visit each other often that they keep strong relationships with, family members. So, you know, how with growing together, we have this new system where you can have, like, A dynamic relationship with Sims, and maybe it’s important to them that it’s always a positive relationship, that there is no conflict. Of course, that could get boring, but You could later introduce some conflict to bring that input in general.

Gloria [00:10:48]:

It’s important for this family to be close and and to spend time together. Certain rituals and traditions can also be important to solidify the, yeah, the culture of a family. So Certain rituals could be, for example, that they have a family vacation at the same place every summer, and maybe they have a holiday home, or there’s this rental they always rent out every year, you know, or if they go camping every year, maybe it’s important to them, you know, coming back to that close knit family, you know, in line with their values. They visit grandma every Sunday. You know? Maybe she’s not, you know, living in the house. You know, elders are maybe not that high on the pedestal in this family, but it’s important to keep tabs on her and make sure she’s okay. Maybe it’s a tradition every sim winter to decorate the Christmas tree and to, you know, maybe have Harvestfest dinner every year or, you know, other things that they can celebrate in terms of holidays that that’s important to them that they come together for that day, whether they celebrate in general. It could also be important for the Sims to celebrate the 1st day of school when a child, you know, grows up and has to go to school.

Gloria [00:11:53]:

In Germany, it’s actually a tradition to do this. And I’m from Germany, and so I actually grew up. I moved to Germany when I was a teenager, but I when I was there, I experienced this with, you know, my We caused them some stuff that this was important. And I actually think it’s quite sweet to, actually make that a special day, and you can, like, take a photo of your sim on that 1st day on when they’re going to school and make that important tradition in the family as well. It could also be important for the family to Have something homemade created together for, you know, on a holiday or a special occasion. For example, let’s say in winter, there’s this designated day Every year where they, cross stitch together or they garden together in spring or maybe they all it’s important for the family to paint something together or, yeah, just to create something homemade as a unit. Holidays also can be set in particular for this legacy family. For example, one could create a remembrance day to honor ancestors.

Gloria [00:12:56]:

Another tradition that you could introduce would be coming back to specific clothing that is worn. Maybe they wear specific clothing for weddings, For example, for important, occasions, and it’s always that type of garment or hat or jewelry that’s worn on that special occasion and that’s special to that family or, they cook a certain food that’s their family is known for. You could get a lot of mods that are great for this so that you can have, like, a specific dish that only that family creates or they’re all vegetarian and so that’s why, you know, they always start cooking vegetarian meals, or they cook a certain meal every Sunday, or they only cook foods or recipes that are from, their home world. Next, some ideas on how you can build a strong family heritage. So that again is are things. It could be buildings. It could We give actual objects, tangible objects that are inherited from past generations. So this could be from the founding generation up to Any generation really moving forward, but this is always from a generation that is already in the past.

Gloria [00:14:01]:

So on one hand, you can have, like, A tangible piece of heritage that could be artifacts and heirlooms, for example, photos, could be, you know, prom photos in the Sims 3, I always fondly looked back on those, you know, to see what the teen’s boy ex boyfriend was when they were younger and to see that they She has nothing else to do with them anymore now. It’s just so fun to look back on those memories or artwork that your since had created in the past or journals that they had written. You know, if you’re, playing with mods in The Sims 4, you can have the ink for yourself memory keeper journal. Or if, You know, ancestors had written any books. You could keep copies of those in the home or maybe in the family museum, any trophies or certificates that they’ve earned In that Parks family that I had played for the longest, I know in the 1st generation, the founding generation, the dad, he really loved travel, And he was also a firefighter, and in both of those areas, he excelled. And he has all of the trophies and all the rewards to prove that. And that’s also another thing. You know, career rewards, you can also be collected and, count also as as a heritage to the family.

Gloria [00:15:09]:

Also buildings. So you could build a family museum full of all of these artifacts and heirlooms that are collected over time. The family home in itself, I feel also belongs to the family heritage. It’s actually interesting. I think usually when you play the game, the family home always belongs to the family. So simmers usually play keeping the family in the name of somebody in the family, whether it’s the heir or maybe some sparrows that stay in that home. But what if the family home was there and you ended up moving in completely other Sims there and the other Sims, like, moved out?

Gloria [00:15:44]:

Like, imagine what kind of storytelling you could bring there. Like, Oh, they lost their family home, but maybe there’s, like, a hidden a hidden room or something like that with family Heirlooms are something that is still connected to the family initially belong to. That would be interesting. And, like, part of the storyline is to get that home back, but I digress. So a family home, a family museum, also a family graveyard could also be part of their heritage. It could be a graveyard made just for their family legacy or it could be a graveyard where it’s there’s a part sectioned off for graves from that family. It could also have a family business that is part of the heritage. So something that is also a moneymaker in itself, inherited from generation to generation, but maybe also memories have been made in this business.

Gloria [00:16:29]:

So it could be a a cafe that also has had an important impact on the community. You You know, it could also be a community space that is inherited. Those are also ways you can have something like a building that is inherited and part of the heritage of your legacy family. And, obviously, wealth is also you know, money is part of the heritage. If you have a dynasty that you’re building, You know, they’re all about being you know, making that money and passing that down to, next generations. It could be a fun story line to take that away or make future generations work for that wealth, but wealth is certainly something that we grow quickly in the Sims and pass on to future generations. Another part of the family heritage that your legacy family can develop are stories. These stories can be in the form of, you know, visual or written records that could be, you know, with journals again, journals here and really in the sense of that mod from Ravasheen.

Gloria [00:17:29]:

So it could be visual and written records, portraits and photographs of the actual Sims that were passed down. So not only maybe photos that were taken by the Sims, but also really represent their memories. It could be paintings of ancestors that tell a story. It could be, certain ideologies. For example, if you’re playing a royal legacy family, maybe the kings before had passed down laws and decrees that have to be followed by family members and maybe even people in the community. There’s that really fun royalty mod from Lazy Neff that actually lets you have a king and they can actually Pass certain laws, and so that could be part of the legacy family and their their story. Maybe, you know, certain things had happened that are just important to the history of your family. Also in general, like past events of that happened with sims in in that family.

Gloria [00:18:25]:

So scandals, maybe famous weddings, you know, unions between maybe 2 big important families in your save file or certain, you know, successes or achievements that the family’s proud of that is part of the story of your family and also part of their heritage. Also, maybe stories of connections that could be with other families or even worlds that, you know, you could tie into your storyline and in turn into the heritage of that family legacy. And So altogether, the family culture consisting of the identity of your family legacy, their beliefs and values, Rituals and traditions as well as their heritage, so tangible objects, you know, artifacts, heirlooms, as well as buildings, Cash money and also the stories that they’ve experienced and collected throughout the ages. All of that ties in to your family heritage and culture and making your legacies more meaningful. So I hope all the ideas I’ve shared help you really proactively develop a sense of culture and heritage for your legacy families that will make playing them feel more meaningful. And, you know, the families with an identity and a story behind them are, I think, the ones that will be the most memorable and make the most fun. And so I think those are the ones you’re gonna stick with as well. And the next Episode, we’re going to dive deeper in the values and ideology of a family in terms of their legacy family path and vision, and how we can build storylines from the get go to make a family feel more real and feel more cohesive.

Gloria [00:19:59]:

And so I think you can definitely look forward to that. But until then, Happy Simming!

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